A fantastic blog post from Ramona Richards reminded me why I, as a literary agent, don’t offer critiques on rejected proposals.
Believe me, as someone who used to write books, I understand the disappointment of the unhelpful rejection letter. So much that I blogged about it (click to read it).
I appreciate writers who are looking to learn more about craft, style, and what will make their books marketable. My heart aches in compassion when I receive a follow-up letter from a writer asking for help after my assistant sends a bland rejection letter. I really do want to help, but like a critique partner who means well, I might do you more harm than good. I really, really do not want to join a chorus of critique partners who, if they disagreed with one another, made you conflicted about what to do to improve your work. And I realize that any letter leaving my office might carry even more weight, in your mind. Unless I have a genuine feeling that we can work together after a few tweaks of your story, I don’t want to offer an opinion, only to have the agent you eventually do sign with, disagree.
You are a creative and ultimately, what you write is the story you should write. What this means is a willingness to learn and take advice, but also to maintain your voice. During the submission process, listen to advice that seems good, but don’t change everything about your work just to please one agent or editor who’s passed on your work. Better, keep trying with YOUR best effort and see which editors and agents value your talent. Work with that team to present your greatest work to the reading public.
Have too many critiques ever caused you to lose your voice?
Do you work with a critique group? Why or why not?
Where is the best place to find a critique group?