I checked out Patrick Rothfuss's blog for the first time today. Now come on, don't any of you tell me you haven't heard of him! He's only the most successful debut author of epic fantasy in recent history for his book The Name of the Wind.
I had never read anything about the author himself, so what hit me the most was how down-to-earth he seemed. Reading about him reminded me so much of myself in certain small ways, or at least in our down-to-earthness. I was also struck hard by him saying that his book had been rejected by every agent in the known universe. You see, that's the thing that eats at me about agents and publishers these days -- they write all these blog posts about how wrong we are to call them out about overlooking great books, yet how could anyone have passed up this one? It just didn't grab them? How come they all LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it now?
Okay, so it wasn't exactly the same when they saw it as opposed to the published version. That's the whole point to me -- why are they only looking for a completely perfect, finished version of a book rather than recognizing real writing talent when it is there? It took Patrick going to a conference before he was finally able to get someone to take notice, and - voila - he gets one of the biggest fantasy debuts in ages. I bet it took some real work from the agent and editors to polish it into what it became, but wasn't that worth it? I would say 'YES', obviously.
Sorry for the mini-rant, but I feel like I am in a similar situation to where Patrick was before he finally got discovered. I have spent more than twenty years building my world in my head. I spent more than three writing the first book. I know it needs some polishing to make it shine. I know I am getting better as a writer all the time. But, why wouldn't an agent see the talent that is there and want to help turn out another Patrick Rothfuss rather than allow some other agent to get me somewhere down the line? It's not like I have amateurish big-issues with my first book; it just needs a bit of rewriting in the early stages to make it more tense. I'm fully convinced that I can be a well-known fantasy author. I know I can do it eventually over many years of hard work, but I still think that an agent should be good enough to recognize talent early and want to snag the writer before another gets him or her.
I'm not suggesting that agents or publishers should want to deal with writers who need a ton of help. I just wish they would be more willing to nurture those who show real talent, have an interesting concept, and look like they could really have something awesome with just a bit of guidance.
And since I am in THAT kind of mood right now, I'll mention that I did query Rothfuss's agent, and he never responded at all. Okay, I'll be back to my usual cheerful self tomorrow (I think it's my sore throat and headache that did this to me today)!