I was recently lurking around Twitter when I saw your retweet about your home skillet Brooks Sherman here: Pens for Paws
I had every intention of placing a last-minute 9:59pm bid and winning the whole shebang.
At the last second, I couldn’t click “publish,” and here’s the question that stopped me: am I ruining my chances with an agent by paying (even for a good cause) for them to critique my work? What if he’s my “dream agent,” but hates my first chapter + query after I pay to have him critique both?
The bloated final bid belched in at a staggering $324. Would an agent secretly frown upon the person who paid this amount of money for a query + one-chapter critique should the same person query them later? Or am I taking a really positive, fun, amazing auction and being crazy over-thinking it? Thanks for your time.
Of course you're over thinking this. You're a writer. I've seen writers parse out the hidden meaning of replies to a query received after midnight versus before midnight.
However, since telling you not to worry is pretty much a non-starter, how about I tell you why you don't have to worry.
For starters, if I like your work I don't care how I find it: query letter stolen from slithery Barbara Poelle under the guise of tidying her desk, Chum Bucket, written missive sent to my office (sans glitter and any other cutsie items), a short story published in a magazine, a drunken brawl at ThrillerFest, or a contest.
If I like your work, I want to read it.
If I don't like your work, it doesn't matter how it found its way to me, I still don't like it.
In other words: the medium is not the message here, all due respect to Marshall McLuhan
And if I'm your dream agent (and you know I hate that very idea right??) I won't even know about it till much later if ever.
And if you think $325 is a lot to pay for a critique, boy have I got a rude surprise for you. I know several agents who commanded four figures on a ms critique, and of course promptly gave four crits instead of one so as to raise more money for the cause.
I'm actually rather fond of the people who fork over money for my amazingly cogent and pithy opinions. They're supporting a cause I care about and flattering my already quite robust ego. Win/Win.
So, don't work yourself into a frenzy here. Don't spend money you don't have thinking it's a good way to get special attention; it's not. But also don't think you've closed off an avenue by bidding for a crit
instead of just straight querying.
Gnaw yourself into a frenzy about the rhythm of your sentences, and whether writing in the second person is really a good idea. You know you can.
PS Yea, I had to look up home skillet. I'm not as with it as I like to think I am.