As a whole, our geriatric black lab is so friendly she would lead a robber to the jewelry box. You could probably strap a harness on her and she’d pull the tv up the stairs and send you on your way with a parting lick.
Unless, of course, you wore a UPS uniform and arrived when we were home.
Then she would hate you. As soon as your truck rumbled down the street, she would stand, stiff-legged, at the end of the driveway with her hackles raised. Geriatric Lab, who never barks, would growl deep in her throat and bare what’s left of her teeth. You would then pass by the driveway without slowing down and take my much anticipated book with you.
If, on the other hand, you arrived when our little fam was gone, she’d welcome you with a wag. Garbage men leave empty-handed, but the recycling guys are adored. Apparently she hates when the trash dudes steal our rubbish, but knows the value of a green world. She also despises the friendly neighbor who jogs by daily and offers her doggie treats, but can’t wait for a visit from traveling salesmen.
She’s rather eccentric in what she likes and doesn’t. For example, if you were a pheasant, she’d snatch you out of the air as you tried to flee. Troublesome rabbits that eat my flowers, however, are as safe as a baby in the nursery. Tennis balls she’ll chase. Sticks, not a chance. She’ll even pick her pills out of her food and eat those, leaving her kibbles for another time.
There is no rhyme or reason to what floats her boat, and I thank God she’s not an agent.
Her profile would look something like this:
I love food, except when I can eat medicine. Thieves can take whatever they want, unless it’s the trash. Don’t suck up with treats if you jog by everyday. Random strangers are welcome to visit sans biscuits. I’m a ferocious predator and quite talented at nabbing pheasants on the fly, but turn my nose up at robins, rabbits and red-winged black birds. Fetch is okay as long you throw the right toy. Please recycle when possible unless you’re peddling a new set of encyclopedias.
No wonder the UPS man only delivers when Geriatric Lab is not outside.
And yet, there are agents exactly like her. Their sites invite us to indulge in their submission buffet policy. “We’ll look at anything.” Or, “If in doubt, send.” Or, “The only thing we look for is good story-telling.” We assume this means they are open to anything.
We happily bundle up our middle grade novel, The Fantastic Felines Outer Space Adventures. The one with endorsements from fourteen award-winning authors. The one we interviewed Neil Armstrong for.
Two days later, we get a rejection.
Duh, Newbie. I don’t rep middle grade, and sci-fi was so yesterday. Please, don’t waste my time submitting a book outside my area of expertise.
They might as well send a post script with their rejection.
P.S. My dog hates you.
Have you run across obscure preference lists on agent’s websites? How does this open door policy appeal to you? Have you submitted to agencies like this only to be rebuffed for indulging in their hospitality? Or, do you submit to agents with clear likes and dislikes to avoid wasting everybody’s time?
What do you look for when checking out an agent’s website or blog? How far do you research before submitting?
My dog wants to know.