How auditioning for The Voice is like finding an agent

21 Feb

This is definitely not me

I’ve recently started watching The Voice on TV and have noticed something (other than the fact that at their worst, these people out-sing me at my best): auditioning for The Voice is very much like querying agents.

1) They’re looking for that unique voice.

If you watch the show, you know that the four esteemed judges don’t see the contestants until after they sing. They listen. They decide. They either hit the button or don’t. If they hit the button, that means they found something in the person’s voice that appeals to them. And more often than not, you hear them say that the person’s voice is “unique” or “different.” Sometimes a little more different than I like, but there you go. If they don’t press the button, it doesn’t mean the person’s voice isn’t strong; it might just mean the voice sounds like every other singer.

Like the judges on The Voice, agents (or editors) may think a manuscript is strong, but it might be missing that unique voice that sets it aside from every other one they see.

This could possibly be me

2) It’s all a matter of personal preference.

Querying authors have all heard it: “This is such a subjective business.” “What appeals to one agent might not appeal to another.” “I know you’ll find the perfect agent for you.”

And it’s actually true.  Within one hour, I received a rejection on my query and five pages and then a request from another agent who read my query and ten pages. It made me laugh, but at the same time, it drove home the fact that my query “doesn’t suck;” my book “doesn’t suck.” It’s just a matter of finding the right agent at the right time. I’ve received enough requests now from agents who have already read pages from the manuscript to make me more confident in my work.

3) Agents get rejected, too.

As Adam Levine told a contestant who had not received any votes, “Hey, we’ve been there.” Most celebrities have been put through the ringer of rejection, and, similarly, agents have had their own share of rejections by publishers. So they know what it’s like. They don’t like it any more than authors do. Which is probably why some rejection letters are three times longer than they need to be in an attempt to soften the blow. They understand.

I’m looking forward to the day that the agent in the red Star-Trek-style chair presses the button to accept me as a client. And it’ll happen (sans cool red chair, I guess). For those of you playing in the same sandbox, my fingers are crossed that it’ll happen to you, too!

*disclaimer: poster does not have the voice to sing for The Voice, so she is writing this as a lazy observer sitting in her comfy chair at home 😉

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8 Responses to “How auditioning for The Voice is like finding an agent”

  1. patientdreamer February 21, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    Thankyou for your analogy ladies, a very informative post.

  2. edrevets February 21, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    It’s like putting the baby into a king cake, the entire cake has the baby, but only one person gets the slice.

    • followingthemuse March 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      Will remember that analogy. thanks

  3. Miranda Hardy February 21, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I have no doubt I will happen for you.

  4. Marlana February 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Well said, Vivi. 🙂 Taste is subjective and I think we all need to remind ourselves of that when we start querying. Best of luck to you!!

  5. ticklingthemuse February 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    Thank you, all. And I love the analogy about the king cake – appropriate comment for today! =)

    • followingthemuse March 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      Agree! Makes me want to have the cake and …. you know.

  6. deanjbaker March 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    good to see this

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