One thing I’ve learned in my time as an agent is that there is only one thing that an author can truly control: the work. Editors leave, publishing houses merge, trends shift, and—in the middle of that hurricane—there’s always the work. No writer can control their reviews, how many copies bookstores order, what awards they might win. Even the best books do not always get the accolades they deserve.
But writers can control their manuscript. Is it doing what you want it to do? Is it something you can be proud of? There will always be that relationship with craft: challenging yourself to improve and deepen your writing practice and spending time with new ideas that excite you. It’s easy to compare yourself with others in publishing, but that’s a fool’s game; no success happens without the work.
—Michelle Brower, founding partner, Trellis Literary Management