Posted by: Shar & Mare | April 11, 2012

Dating is Dating, Right?


Straight or gay, dating is datingSharon and I attend some writing conferences throughout the year. Some of those conferences have agent pitch sessions where you have a few minutes to “pitch” an agent. It is nerve wracking really. At one conference, Sharon and I pitched our book idea to an agent who was openly gay. When we told her of our idea, she asked who our target audience is. We responded “Everyone who is dating – men, woman, people all races and religions, gay, and straight. Everyone.” Then, she tilted her head and said, “this book can’t be all things to all people.” I don’t recall Sharon and me saying that. She seemed to get angry and said, “you can’t include straight and gay stories together – they are different audiences.” Sharon and I shook our head. I audibly gasped in a rather annoyed fashion. Sharon was much nicer. She said, “this is about the experience of dating … and gay and straight people date. They may have different experiences, but the premise and experiences and feelings are all similar.” The agent said, “you can’t compare them.” I sat up in my chair and leaned back and decided I was done with this exchange. Sharon persevered. She explained that we had gotten plenty of stories from gay, lesbian and transgendered people who shared touching stories whose universal story about looking for love or a soul mate prevailed regardless of where or who.

This agent shot back, “but It’s not.” Huh? Really? It’s not.

I have plenty of gay friends who share their stories and were stood up, thought they found the one, were disappointed when someone didn’t call and got taken advantage of. It is not gender specific.

So, I beg the question … dating is dating – right?

I lost all patience and even Sharon was visibly frustrated. Sharon seemed on a mission to make her understand. I interrupted and said, “look, dating is dating. Love is love. Rejection is rejection. It doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight or white or green or in the USA or India – we all have parallel experiences and there is no reason to separate them out and have a book just be about gay or straight stories.” The agent went on to argue with us and I looked at Sharon and said, “I think we’re done here.” I looked at the agent and said, “Thank you for your time.” And got up.

If I am wrong, by all means, please tell me. But, Dating is Dating, right?

Thanks
Mariann

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Responses

  1. Dating is dating, you’re right.

    I’m bi and, even though girls and guys are different, I still encounter similar “themes” in both types of encounters.

    I think you just met someone who has been a little hardened by life and “took what she hated in others and made it part of [herself]” to quote Linkin Park

    • Very apt quote and probably true. We’ve also found, in the publishing world, a tendency towards a very narrow view of what “sells” in a book. I’m not sure why this is so. It seems to Mariann and I that many agents are missing the broader view of certain topics, dating in particular. Everyone is so quick to pigeon-hole a topic into a narrow demographic that they miss the universality of life’s experiences.

      • Do publishing agents have specialties? A friend of mine who works for a publishing house does the same thing.

        They narrow everything down, but I can kind of understand it. Someone who likes a certain kind of romance novel doesn’t necessarily like another one….

        I don’t think they should write off more general books though. Yours has a lot of potential and they’re missing out!

  2. Agents generally do have genres of books that they specialize in. My guess is that LifeBytes is so very different from every other book about online dating that most agents don’t quite know how to classify it. Also, because it’s so different they’re hesitant to rep something that isn’t an “instant sale”. Someday, some agent will be brave and daring though and take on LifeBytes!

    Glad you think we have a lot of potential…we think so too 🙂

  3. Good luck finding the ballsy agent that’ll give you your chance! =]

    • Why thank you! We know one is out there somewhere! 🙂


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