Turning passion into profession.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Joys of Feedback

Hello everyone!

Sorry I have been a little MIA the past week since I started this thing. I realized that creating myself a 5-day a week blog schedule kinda freaked me out a little bit! I wasn't getting inspired to write, and that is something I definitely need to have with my wacky work hours. So I've decided to just go with the flow for awhile! Scary thought, I know. I plan on keeping up the blog a few days a week still, but I can't quite pinpoint exactly which days that will be, so I hope you will keep checking in with me!

On this lovely, humid Sunday, I have decided to talk about feedback. What is feedback? More importantly, how can you tell when the line between feedback and personal opinion has been crossed?

I came upon this topic after getting what could possibly be the strangest comment from an agent I have ever received. Firstly, let me explain the circumstances.

A blog that I follow (I will not be naming any specific names as to stay professional about the whole thing) was holding a special event where you could post your synopsis for your book as a comment and an agent from a new publishing house would give you her feedback, and if you were lucky, request a manuscript. Now, I went in not expecting a request because you were allowed to post about a WIP, which is what I did since I haven't put that one out there as much as my current work. I informed in my post that it was not finished yet, as did many others, and looked forward to getting some constructive criticism that I could work with. Now, I need to sidebar again and just quickly explain the premise of my WIP. It is about a widow who lost her husband years ago, and as their 10th anniversary approaches, the loss gets more and more painful. Her family decides to trick her into vacationing at a retreat for people who have experienced great loss. During her time there she develops feelings for her grief counselor, who also happens to own the retreat. That is the gist of it anyways.

So back the to the story, I log on eagerly the other day when I got the notice that someone had commented on my entry, and to my surprise, this is what the feedback was:

"Medical professionals cannot be involved with their patients. It is not ethical. We do not publish things that are unethical."

Now, that isn't word for word, but that is basically what it said. No comments on my synopsis. No feedback on what they liked or didn't like about my pitch. No suggestions on how to improve for next time. Just that my book is unethical. Seriously? SERIOUSLY!? I literally just stared at the computer screen, mouth agape, for a good five minutes. A fly could have flown in and had a nice nap on my tongue and I would not have noticed. I just could not get over that comment. Of all the topics of all the books ever written in the world, mine is unethical? A 500-year old vampire falling in love with a 17-year old is cool. Murder and rape and torture is cool. Women falling for their professors or zombies or warlocks or whatever else is totally cool, but my book is so unethical that you can't even comment on anything else!?

Am I over-reacting over this? I still left a thank you comment for her, being as professional and awesome as I am, but really? I honestly woke up in the middle of the night thinking, 'did that really happen?'. Have you ever had an experience like this? What is your opinion on the situation? What is the weirdest comment you've ever gotten from an agent?

Sound off in the comments, I really want to hear your thoughts on this one!


  1. Don't take this agent's opinion as a representative of all agents' opinions. Agents represent only books they are interested in. They choose their favorite books among the ones they are interested in, but they don't usually deviate beyond that. If you notice. There are agents for romance, sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, so on and so forth, but not all agents represent everything.

    For instance, I've always wanted to submit a novel to Harlequin books. The problem is, they usually demand that the male love interest be a very moral and good looking and often wealthy man. I sometimes like to write male characters that are ugly or disfigured, abusive or poor. So I don't usually write the kind of books they are looking for. Is there anything wrong with those male love interests? No. Is there if I want to submit to Harlequin? Yes.

    If I had to worry about my characters being ethical, honestly, then my current WIP would be in trouble. I can't even post here the kinds of unethical things that happen in it because it's too racy.

    I doubt other agents will care that much, so try to put it out of your mind. If that was the only negative comment she could think of for your synopsis, then you're doing good actually.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I completely agree with everything you said. I think if I had of sat on it a few days I would've been alright, but I was just so heated in the moment that I had to get my thoughts out somewhere.


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