Monday, May 2, 2011

It's all subjective.

I knew this, but it didn't really sink in until this weekend. We always here that when it comes to hooking an agent you are really looking for the right person. The one that "gets" your book and makes a strong enough connection with it that they want to help you on your journey to publication.

When I sent out those first twenty queries, I searched for agents that said they like science fiction and fantasy. But you know what? There are all kinds of styles within those two genres. When querying within that umbrella, you have to find the agent that likes your style. And that's hard because it's so subjective.

sub·jec·tive
adjective
1. existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought (opposed to objective).
2. pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.
3. placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.

This finally became real this weekend. I put the top 15 short stories (from the High School Contest I helped judge) in order from my favorite to least favorite. First of all, that was REALLY hard! All the stories were really good and I felt bad putting anyone last. But it had to be done. 

Anyway, I put them in order and sent my list to the other two judges. The next day one of the other judges sent her list. My top two choices were her bottom two choices. 


Now, you have to understand our only judging criteria was pick what we liked. We didn't look at plot, characterization, setting, or anything else. Granted those affected the overall feel of the story, but we didn't break down the parts and pick the best writing. We were told to put them in order of the stories we liked the best. I picked the ones I kept thinking about. 

Subjective. 

I loved what the other judge said when she compared our lists. 
"I suspect you're watching Law and Order while I'm watching Arrested Development."

And she was right! I've never met her but she could pick that out based on how I ordered the stories. I think she must be brilliant. 

Anyway, the whole point is this:
Rejection should never send you into a depression because it's all subjective. It simply means you haven't found the right agent yet

One caveat--The above is true if you've done everything in your power to present agents with a polished MS. One that has gone through several rounds of critique and editing.  

So, how has this concept become real in your life? Does it still bother you?