I’ve run into a bit of a dilemma.
One of the people I’ve have shared my novel with locally is convinced “I’m ready for publication” (her words). A good feeling, right?
When she sent me her feedback on my novel, she said she’d be happy to speak with her writing friends to get me some agent recommendations and referrals.
That was kind of her, but I wanted more information on who these people were before she did anything. So I simply thanked her for the feedback and waited until our next meeting a few days later so we could discuss it in person. That’s when I found out she had already started talking me up to her friends.
And I was upset. I didn’t know who these people were, what they wrote, who they were agented by. Since this woman doesn’t write commercial fiction, I question her evaluation of my work in the first place, and wondered if her contacts would even be relevant to me.
Her help, while generous of her to offer, rubbed me the wrong way. We went from her offering to contact people on my behalf to her doing so without bothering to secure my permission.
I explained to her my reservations, and naturally she was offended. Said that she was only trying help. Didn’t I know that networking is how things were done these days?
Ugg. Yes, I’m not an idiot.
But for me the problem was etiquette. She should have asked. I should have the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered as to whom she wanted to approach. It is my work, so ultimately, I should have a say in what she does on my behalf. Right?
However, she was so certain that because her intentions were good, that she was doing me a favor, I shouldn’t have a problem.
But I do. I’m really close to querying this novel again. I feel I am at a delicate place, and any step forward with this project needs to be deliberate and well thought out.
Because I’m half this woman’s age, because she’s been agented twice before (most recently the early 1990’s even though no publications resulted from these arrangements) she feels she’s qualified to dictate to me what I should do. I joined the writing group she was in for feedback – not a self-elected mentor. I also think part of my aggravation stems from her motherly “I know better” attitude. Drives me crazy since some of her info is way out of date for today’s marketplace.
She wants to help, and I’m grateful for it. But she also jumped the gun (since I’m still collecting feedback and making edits) and went over my head. She thinks my objections have to do with me being “afraid of success” when really my concerns stem from a breach in etiquette, trust, and respect of me and my work.
Etiquette versus (admittedly good) Intentions.
Who is right? Am I blowing this out of proportion?