Why Publishing Pros Must Love Your Work

Photo credit: savvysmilinginlove on Flickr
Over the years, I’ve seen some statements made online about the necessity (or not) of agents and editors loving your manuscript. These statements, which I’ve seen repeated multiple times in various words go a little something like this: 
Agents/editors don’t need to love your work to represent/buy it. They just need to think it can sell. 
This confused me when I first saw it years ago, then made me frowny as I got to know the industry better, and now just makes me a teensie bit annoyed, because you guys? It’s not true. It’s not even a little bit true.

The publishing industry, as it turns out, is not comprised of soulless, money-grubbing robots. Agents and editors (and assistants and copy editors and everyone else involved in the business) are people who genuinely love books and genuinely want to see manuscripts (and authors) they love succeed.

That, right there, is the core of it.

Now, that’s not to say that the potential to sell a manuscript isn’t important—it absolutely is, and writers get rejections along the lines of I really loved this, but I don’t think I can sell it all the time.

But the reverse is equally important, because it doesn’t matter how much selling potential your manuscript has, an agent or editor who doesn’t love your manuscript isn’t the right agent or editor for you. (And vice versa—a manuscript an agent or editor isn’t passionate about isn’t the right manuscript for them).

Think about it: publishing a book traditionally is not a one-man project. It involves writers and agents and editors and copyeditors and assistants and publicists and cover designers and layout designers and probably other people I’m not thinking of at the moment and you know what they all have in common? They all want to make your book awesome. And for agents and editors especially, who are most involved in championing you and your book and making your novel as amazing as possible, trying to do all of that work for a manuscript they didn’t love would not only be difficult, but it’d probably be a tad bit painful.

You don’t want an agent or editor who doesn’t love your work, because they won’t be able to do the best job possible for it (and for you). You want industry pros by your side who love your book as much as you do, because they’re the ones who will be able to help you bring your book to its fullest potential.

And when that happens? It’s pretty incredible for everyone involved.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that it’s important for publishing pros to love your work? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
"An agent or editor who doesn’t love your manuscript isn’t the right agent or editor for you." (Click to tweet)  
Is it necessary for agents and editors to love your work? @Ava_Jae weighs in her thoughts. (Click to tweet)


Fida Islaih said...

I agree they should love your work to be able to sell it. If they don't there won't be an genuine or passionate response.

Ava Jae said...


Heather said...

I know that I've been helping beta read a book over the last few months, and I really love the story itself which makes me eager to help make it better... On the other hand, other beta readers who have been enlisted for the project have sort of dropped off, just because they didn't care. It's a different realm, sort of, than the exact scenario in the post, BUT I do know that I would hate for my book to become a book-we're-just-getting-through-so-we-don't-have-to-deal-with-it-anymore kind of product. That would suck.

Darth Lolita said...

Yeah, publishing is difficult enough. I can't imagine anyone putting in the effort for something they're in different about.

Ava Jae said...

I agree—it would totally suck. Books require passion and excitement to get through edits and help not only promote it correctly, but make it the best it can be.

Ava Jae said...

Exactly that.

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