Pages

Monday, 9 April 2012

Is seeking agent representation like auditioning for The Voice?

(The video originally included with this post is no longer on Youtube)


I empathise with the contestants on TV programme, The Voice U.K.

The singers auditioning are like unpublished writers looking for an agent.

The judges may be looking for a female, male or specific kind of voice to make up their team. On Saturday, Will.i.am said he didn't turn his chair around for a contestant because he already had someone on his team with a similar voice. An agent may be looking for a specific kind of book when reading a submission. (Could they please be looking for a 1990s love story set in Tuscany with journal excerpts from The Second World War?!)

If a singer is chosen they may need to work on tuning or breathing just like a writer may need to rewrite or edit a novel.

The singers who aren't chosen on The Voice are usually gracious when none of the chairs turn around, their eyes reflecting their disappointment as they force a smile. Some of them may be one step closer to success because they went on the show. A rejected writer could be one step closer to finding an agent who will fall in love with their manuscript.

As soon as I receive a rejection, I change the colour of the agency in my spreadsheet from black to red, input the date of receipt and move onto the next one. That way there's a chance an e-mail may drop into my inbox or my mobile may ring displaying a 'Private number' and someone might say 'we'd like to see the rest of your manuscript'. 'The Help' written by Kathryn Stockett was apparently rejected by 60 agents. I've had 3 rejections but I shall persevere!

Can you identify with contestants on The Voice or other singing contests? Or do you have any other comments?

31 comments:

  1. Just started following your blog, it looks great. Oh no I don't identify with The Voice or any shows like it, I hate the way they champion mediocrity and encourage the "I really really want this so I really really deserve it" mentality, which is complete nonsense, and I think writers are only too aware of that.
    There has to be talent. You won't make it as a writer if it's what you want, rather than what you can do. You have to have both the desire to succeed and the ability to succeed I think, and a lot of persistence and self-belief, which is so hard to sustain in the face of rejection. Above all else I think a writer has to strive for excellence in their own writing, and put that before the desire to be published. If any of that makes any sense! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Louise, thanks for your comment and for following my blog. I agree with what you're saying re a writer needs to have the talent to succeed. But I do think the situation of a singer on one of these shows is similar to a writer wanting to be published. And I do like watching The Voice on a Saturday night with my husband, a takeaway and a bottle of wine!

      Delete
  2. Hi Anita,
    I was just thinking actually as I watched The Voice on Saturday that it's an excellent example of perseverance and willingness to face the chance of being rejected -I found it quite motivating really.
    Best of luck with everything - I really like the sound of The Grandson. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elle, thanks for your lovely comment. I agree!

      Delete
  3. This is a great blog post and a very good comparison. I always admire the way the contestants take rejection on the Voice. I haven't actually finished writing a complete novel yet, but when I do and when it gets rejected, I hope I can be that gracious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stacey, thanks for your lovely comment. Good luck with your novel!

      Delete
  4. I could say ditto to everything that the first commenter (is that a word?) said. I agree with Louise. I'd add a third thing, though, in addition to the desire to succeed and talent, and that is luck.

    I've seen five minutes of The Voice - not really my thing - but I assume that there's an element of luck in being selected to be one of the contestants. The same comment about luck can be made of writers seeking an agent - it's a matter of luck if your novel happens to land on the desk of an agent/editor at the moment when they are looking for just that sort of thing.

    Great post, Anita.

    Liz X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, thanks for your comment. Re: luck, I think that was the case when Will.i.am said he already had someone on his team with a certain kind of voice-if he hadn't the contestant he was listening to would probably have been chosen. I'm enjoying the comments on this post-they're different from what I was expecting which is always interesting!X

      Delete
  5. We are really enjoying The Voice too. I do feel sorry for the contestants when no-one on the panel turns round. And then they'll turn around for somebody I don't think is as good. What a lot of courage it must take to put yourself on there and face rejection. At least when our writing is rejected, we can go and cry in a corner, not on national television.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joanne, thanks for your comment. Yes, being rejected on TV can't be a great feeling! But those contestants may be spotted by someone watching or end up on the X Factor, who knows?! Would like to follow you on Twitter, but not sure if you're on there?

      Delete
  6. I haven't seen The Voice - just the trailers - but it looks to me as though the contestants have been shortlisted for a job. Isn't sending your manuscript out to agents at least one step before that - i.e: being one of a much bigger pool of applicants who will be lucky to get even a cursory look? Perhaps being rejected on the show itself is more like an agent asking to read the rest of your manuscript and still saying 'no'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue, thanks for your comment. Or is the full manuscript rejection stage when the live shows start and contestants are voted off...?! I'm enjoying these comments-it's great when they're different from what I was expecting!

      Delete
  7. I really liked this piece. You're right - we writers can learn from the contestants on 'The Voice' and be encouraged. The contestants on 'The Voice' so far have all been very good, so I would agree with Scribble Spud that it may be more comparable to getting as far as an agent asking to see more of your manuscript and still rejecting you. As a viewer I don't think their voices are any less just because a judge didn't turn around. Sometimes it's for a reason as simple as the judges already have 'a singer like that' in their team - which can also be the case with publishers and agents. Some times the judges just don't like that particular style, even though as a viewer I may disagree. What is impressive is the graciousness of the rejected singers, particularly the one you featured, and their perseverance. I don't want that singer to give up just because of one TV programme, so I must apply that to my own career. Thanks for that inspiring thought - I can count watching "The Voice' as motivational viewing for my writing now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne, thanks so much for your interesting comment. I hadn't thought about style which could be compared to a writer's 'voice'. I really liked the singer featured on the youtube link in my post-I'm not sure if it's because I'm fond of the song though-as it brings back memories of dancing in a nightclub in Cambridge with my friends in the 1990s!

      Delete
  8. This is a great analogy, Anita. We're enjoying The Voice at the moment because of the focus being on the voice and singing rather than the person. Have to say I've agreed with some of the refusals so far. Anyway, we're talking about writing, and I'm sure there's a big element of luck in finding the right publisher/agent who happens to be looking for our type of book. Never giving up is the only way to achieve any dream - so keep sending it out, Anita!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosemary, thanks for your encouraging comment. My husband and I tried watching one song on The Voice without looking at the TV to see what it was like for the judges-it was so different from being able to see the contestant.

      Delete
  9. Great blog post and interesting comments. I agree with Joanne - at least when we're rejected (3 times for me so far too) the letter arrives in the privacy of our own homes and not on tv. I don't think I could ever be that brave. The contestants must have guts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for your lovely comment. Best of luck with your novel!

      Delete
  10. Great post, Anita. Oddly enough I was thinking along similar lines on Saturday evening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rebecca, thanks for your comment-it is a similar situation isn't it!

      Delete
  11. What a great post, Anita. Good luck with your novel, hang on in there - the right person will turn around one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deborah, thanks so much! (that would be nice)

      Delete
  12. I really enjoy watching The Voice as well. I completely agree, some of the contestants were really, really good (my judgement can't be that bad!), yet still no one turned around for them (as you said, for a whole host of reasons). I have to agree with Sue, though, heaven knows how many rounds of auditions these folk went through to get to this stage. Submitting a manuscript is possibly more like being one of the tens of thousands of people queueing behind the railings at a Britain's Got Talent audition. Only worse :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Joanna, thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I can imagine the contestants went through many auditions before the TV show. Britain's Got Talent-there's another show I have to watch on a Saturday night! (thank G for Sky+).

      Delete
  13. I also enjoy watching The Voice and sometimes it's painful when the singer doesn't show their range and the judges are obviously waiting for them to do so and then don't turn around. My daughter has a friend who auditioned for the show but didn't manage to get on to it.

    I think this post is a good analogy of the search for an agent and I know that I've submitted and not managed to show my range, hence the continued search. (That and my manuscript probably wasn't as ready as I thought it must be).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debs, thanks for your comment. I hadn't thought about range-that's a great comparison. Best of luck with your submissions!

      Delete
  14. Rejection is hard to deal with no matter what guise it comes in! Good luck with the book and continue to enjoy THE VOICE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Pat and for following my blog.

      Delete
  15. I've not seen the Voice but I would say that you don't have to have an agent to be published. Short stories in women's magazines are a great way to get your name out there. Many publishers such as Mills and Boon don't require an agent so, you can go it alone....

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh God, that show always make me cringe for the contestants who have to sign to judges' backs when none turn around! Great analogy.

    And like Cara says, you don't need an agent to be published.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Cara and Talli, thanks so much for your comments. It's great that there are so many options.

    ReplyDelete