I didn't take on two novels this week for very different reasons.
The first was for a novel that is simply out of my league. I'll read it when it gets published. I'll be in the author's fan club for life (I hope!) But I won't be his agent. He needs an agent who has better editorial acumen than I. A lot of agents spring from the primordial ooze of editorial; not I.
My pass to him closed with this: I have to recognize my own limitations and step aside. You'll thank me for this. Maybe not right this second, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
The second was for a writer who's going to be very very good. He writes very clean crisp prose. He just doesn't have the right book yet. The novel he queried me for is one I've read a dozen times. It's possible to get those published these days but only if you're in the midst of a multiple book contract. He's not. He's writing his debut. He needs something fresh and new. I have no doubt he'll find it.
What I'm wondering now is how this will all turn out. It will be interesting to come back in a year and see what's transpired. Was I right to say no to the Amazing Novel? Was I wrong to let Talented Unknown get away?
The only way to know will be to see the results. Unlike poker there are no published odds. There's only experience and instinct. I've been wrong a lot. But I've been right enough.
What choices have you made that needed a year to know whether you were right?