Kelly Swails, who is one of my blog readers that I've actually gotten the chance to meet in person, showed me the following anonymous comment she had gotten on her blog (regarding the fact that I put up statistics showing how many things I accept or reject.)
I read your post over at Jenny Rappaport's blog. You've fallen into her trap. Can't you see that she relishes rejecting writers? It's a literary agent's power trip. Don't commend her for publishing those statistics. Look at the authors she publishes at Amazon's rankings. How well do they do?
We'll never know how well the one's she's rejected would have done. Literary agents serve their own tastes, not the reading public's. They love the headiness of total control over a writer's destiny. See her for what she is. Her haughtiness in the process of rejection should chill you as it should every writer.
Isn't it priceless? My haughtiness? Do I sit there and cackle as I work my rejection magic with form letters and my trusty envelope-closing glue stick? Obviously, I'm a combination of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty and the wicked queen from Snow White. I'm honored to be in such good Disney super-villians company. =)
But let's be serious here, and correct a few misconceptions on my dear anonymous troll's part.
- Amazon rankings mean bupkus. Nothing. Yes, you can sit there and analyze them and say that they're the end-all-and-be-all of how your book is doing... but in reality, they are just one small measure of a book's sales. And add into that the fact that no one quite knows what algorithm is used to calculate the sales ranking, and you're looking at a specious source of information at best. The only thing that matters in this business are the cold, hard sales figures you get on the royalty statements from the publishers.
- I'd like to point out that I have a WIDE variety of authors as clients. Some of them have come from e-publishing, where there is a smaller audience for their books (although it's growing fast, and I encourage it to do so!). Some of them haven't published any books in the last five years or so. Some of them have worked exclusively with small presses, before becoming my client. Some of them haven't had their first book published yet. And others have been published by the bigger publishers, and are starting to do quite decently in their chosen genre. So don't knock what I do as an agent, based on the Amazon rankings of my clients, since as we've established above, they mean crap. And don't knock my clients either. They're all good writers, and I've taken them on because I like them as people, and I think I can sell their books.
- I serve my own tastes? Where do you get that misconception from, my dear troll? I serve the tastes of the publishing marketplace, which is a business, let me remind you, and is intimately in touch with what the "reading public" wants. They publish the books that they think will sell to the largest amount of people. I pick the books that I like to read and that I think the editors at the publishing houses will buy for those purposes. Nothing more, nothing less.