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Writing's Like Dating: The Courtship

I found this old post and thought it was appropriate with the upcoming ACFW conference. As you're prepping for those nerve wrecking appointments, keep in mind that it's not so much about that individual sale as it is about building relationships. I hope this helps calm some of your nerves and encourages you not to settle for anything less than God's best for your writing career.
 
If there's one thing everyone likes about the writing process, it's the courtship phase. You know the stage. It's all chocolate candy and flowers until someone throws around the word "rejection." :)

In all seriousness, though, something that stirred me at the ACFW conference was the complete lack of reverence on a few authors' parts when communicating with very respectable folks. Now, this wasn't a prevalent issue throughout, don't misunderstand, but one or two in a crowd is more than enough. Think about this with a little perspective. Editors and agents are the equivalent to managers, vice presidents, and presidents in businesses (and some of them literally function in both realms). Would you walk up to the president of your company and say, "Hi, I know you don't really know me, but you should go out of your way to listen to my idea, and if you don't like it, that's your loss"?

So what's the appropriate way to woo an editor or agent, and what if--lucky duck--you find yourself to be the object of the wooing?

Well, you've got to think of it a lot like a relationship.

At the 2011 conference, Allen Arnold, VP of Thomas Nelson, said entering into a contract with an author is a lot like entering into a marriage. Because if they have doubts about you in the beginning, those doubts are not going to get better over time. :) It's so true, isn't it?

So what can we learn from this?

Don't be a bridezilla.
No, but really, you need to be pleasant to be around. Don't be pushy, but on the other hand, don't be afraid to talk about your work.

Take time to find the right fit.
Just as you wouldn't marry the first guy you dated (mercy, can you imagine?), you probably won't sign with the first editor or agent who expresses interest. That's okay. What's important is that you're following God's plan in all of this. And I assure you, He knows what He's doing.

In the meantime, do your research. "Date" your options. See who's a good fit. And stay true to yourself. Find strength in your writing voice so that when you do finally make that perfect match, you'll have something of substance to offer.


Have you found yourself courting an agent or editor, or, even better, being courted? What have you learned? Anyone have any funny dating stories to share?

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