I've heard this a lot out there on the Interwebz. "I just queried my dream agent." Or, "I don't want to query my dream agent yet." Or whatever whatever "dream agent."
And I'd like to submit something to you today. So bear with me. No doubt some of you will agree, and some of you won't. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, though, so don't hold back.
Let's go back to my time in the query trenches. Of course I researched and I had agents I thought would be a good match for me. I queried them. And there's nothing like the rush of a request, no matter who it's from.
When I researched Michelle Andelman, I didn't find much. She doesn't run a popular blog. Lynn C. Franklin doesn't have a website (besides PM). She's not giving out query advice on twitter.
I saw that she used to be at Andrea Brown and that she was looking for YA. I added her to my list. Now since I'm a tad on the OCD side (just a tad), I dug deeper. I found interviews she'd given. I may or may not have searched for a picture. I looked up titles she'd sold. I thought, "Yeah, we'd make a good match."
And then I sent her a generic query.
She requested my full, but so did a lot of people that week.
When she emailed me to ask about my other writing, I sat up straighter. I may or may not have searched again for any information about her. I may or may not have friended her on Facebook and Twitter.
When she accepted my requests for friendship, my heart beat a little faster. (That whole first date thing, you know. We were walking in the park.)
I may or may not have stalked her FB and twitter posts. I may or may not have randomly pulled up her picture just to get a feel for the human behind the emails. I cannot confirm nor deny these claims.
But I do know one thing.
Are you ready?
She was not my "dream agent" when I queried her.
She became my dream agent when I read the words, "I love CONTROL ISSUES."
So I submit to you today: Your dream agent is the one who LOVES YOUR BOOK.
Michelle is my absolute dream agent. Not because she listens to funky music (although that is a bonus). Not because the text in her emails is pink (but dude! Pink emails? Love that). Not because in one of our recent convo's I yelled, "Shut. Up!" and she laughed and told me to keep telling her that. (I'm actually a bit embarrassed that I told my agent to shut up, but you know. Seinfeld moment.)
No. None of those things are available on the web. Michelle is my dream agent because she LOVES MY BOOK.
And I didn't know that until 4 months into our relationship.
So I think it's a bit dangerous and damaging (to your psyche) to label agents as "dream" simply because they're out there on the Interwebz and you can see them more prominently. You don't know them. You don't know what their client list is like. You don't know what the editors they've lunched with recently have said. There is absolutely no way for you to know if you'll be a good team until you've had a lot of correspondence with them.
So I think we should drop the term "dream agent."
I do think you should research your brains out and try to find people you think would be a good match for you. But I don't think we should attach a label to people we don't--can't--really know.
What do you think about this? I'm sure you (used to) have a "dream agent." Do you think this is a healthy label to put on someone? Does it hurt more when they reject you? I'm interested to know your thoughts.