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When, in the space of a week, one agent tells you, “love the concept, but the writing didn’t grab me” and another agent tells you “love the writing, but the concept didn’t grab me”, this could easily turn into a rather depressing line of thought. After all, how can you win that game? How do you know which actually might need improvement? How can you feel confident in either, hearing that both have somehow failed? And when everything is so subjective, sometimes it can just feel like you’ll never know the mystical secret that will get you noticed in the right way.

Being essentially optimistic, however — early attempts at being sophisticatedly cynical never did quite take for me — I choose to look at it differently.

What it means is that both the writing and the concept have something that people do love. I just have to find the right person who takes to them both. After all, there are plenty of books I wouldn’t enjoy reading, even though they’re perfectly good from an objective standpoint, either because it’s not my preferred style or not my preferred kind of story — so I can hardly fault an agent for feeling the same. And I wouldn’t want someone who only felt lukewarm about my project. I want someone who loves it, all of it, like I love it. So I choose to see subjectivity as my friend.