Amanda (Chip’s assistant) steps in…

April 28, 2010 | Written by admin

Let's talk a bit about what I call The Christian Connection.

I've seen it one too many times: Some Christian writer with big-time aspirations discovers that Chip, one of the top agents in the business, is also a Christian. Ba-da-boom, the query is sent, the correlation made, and the aspiring author sits back patiently awaiting Chip's acceptance.

And then they're rejected.

They slump in their chair, defeated. Demoralized. Because it was meant to be.

And now they'll have to venture out into the cold, dark world of the eternally damned.

Give me a break. 

We all know finding the right agent is about more than your personal belief system. It's about how you interact, what your expectations are, what work you produce, and whether you feel any chemistry. Authors who rely on the Christian Connection generally miss this whole concept. And I'm really fine with that. I am. It's their loss.

What I'm not fine with is how the Christian Connection communicates a general fear of interacting with the unsaved.

I feel it in the twelve exclamation points that follow each reference to Christianity. I see it in the continual reminder that God's will must be at work, bringing two like-minded professionals together like this. And it bothers me. Aren't we to be salt and light?

But what if my agent swears?! Drinks?!! Cheats?!!! Or does all three while I'm meeting him at a club in Las Vegas?!!!!

Here's the bottom line. Chip likes representing other Christians. He really does. And there are times when the connection is there and there's no doubt that he should represent another Christ-follower. But  when it comes down to it, well … If Tony Dungy (former coach of the Indiana Colts) put each and every Christian football player he ever met on his team, do you think they would have won the championship? Do you think they would have even come close?

And what's more important, do you think his impact on football would have been half what it turned out to be?

Nope. Not a chance.

-Amanda (Assistant at MacGregor Literary)



Posted in Agents

  • http://shawnsmucker.com Shawn Smucker

    Nice. Going straight for the jugular. I like that.
    Even Jesus didn’t surround himself with a crowd of disciples who were religious folks – tax collectors, doctors, fisherman, yes, but I don’t know that there was a religious scholar among them.

  • http://hopeofglory.typepad.com Nicole

    Um, just a slight technicality, Amanda. It’s the Indianapolis Colts. (Yes, we know the state where that city is, but, hey, football fans are as exacting as literary agents. And their assistants.)

  • http://karenrobbins.blogspot.com Karen Robbins

    Agreed. It’s not an exclusive club it’s an inclusive faith.

  • http://www.themotherlode.wordpress.com Theresa Lode

    “And now they’ll have to venture out into the cold, dark world of the eternally damned.”
    Sniff, sniff….would someone please send me an icy diet coke?
    Just kidding….this was great Amanda!
    I sometimes have the opposite problem; I don’t WANT to do business with someone because they ARE Christians. I said a long time ago I’d rather do business with an ethical non believer than a small minded Christian. (Oops! Did that slip out?) ;)
    We so limit God and ourselves when we put God in our little religious boxes.
    I enjoyed your post!

  • http://www.nicoleunice.com Nicole Unice

    I was shocked when my pastor told me to form a ministry leadership team of people I liked. “People I like??” I thought, “how Christian is that??”
    Well, experience had taught him (and now me) that working with people I like means we are going to enjoy the hard work, we’ll be more productive, and we’ll weather conflict better.
    It goes against my Kum-bye-yah dreaming, but Kum-bye-yah doesn’t get the job done.

  • http://kayshostak.blogspot.com Kay Shostak

    Wonderful, Amanda. Looking forward to hearing more from you!

  • Gina Logue

    I haven’t read those queries like you have, Amanda, but I’ll throw out another perspective.
    I love Jesus and enjoy discussing Him and His Word. When I meet someone who also loves Him, I can’t tell you what a joy that is. To spend time with someone who shares the same passion as me is exciting.
    It isn’t that I fear interacting with the unsaved–as a matter of fact I am the only Christian in my family and I work for a secular company–but I don’t feel the deep connection because they reject someone I love.
    For professionals like Chip to boldly claim their faith, to me, is admirable. I would be excited for a possibility of working with a fellow believer, not that I would put that in a query letter. :-)
    Jesus hung out with the sinners, not because he didn’t like the religious people but because the sinners repented and the religious people did not.

  • http://swedishpankakes.blogspot.com Amanda the Assistant

    Nicole – Ah, yes! Thanks for pointing that out. Don’t know how I missed that. Maybe because my true knowledge of football is stuck in the mid 90′s?
    Sally -
    I agree wholeheartedly with your statement:
    “I’d have no problem with an agent who drinks. An agent who falls down drunk and makes an ass of himself at every conference? I’d have a problem with that fellow.”
    I was mostly speaking to the author who’d run at the sight of alcohol, let alone at the agent’s crazy actions.
    And for me, it really comes back to the scary truth that many Christians have a tendency to think they won’t get along with unbelievers because of the sin factor. When in reality, we’re just as sinful. We just do a better job of hiding it.
    - Amanda the Assistant

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02155444394421908346 Robin Archibald

    I agree with Teresa: I’m leery of doing business with proclaimed Christians and would “rather do business with an ethical non believer than a small-minded Christian.”
    I used to work in a Christian bookstore, and though all the employees professed Christian beliefs, our relationships could still be ROCKY.
    As Nicole and Gina point out, I’d love to work with people I just plain like AND with whom I have a deeper connection through our mutual love for Christ.
    Great post, Amanda!

  • Lauren Sylvan

    Wow, I was thinking just the opposite. I want to reach people who have not experienced the joy I have. And that means writing to them, but in order to do it effectively, it means associating with them, having friends who are not yet believers, and finding an agent–probably not a believer him/herself yet, but a competent professional–with contacts mainly in the mainstream press. Not to denigrate Christian publishing, but to recognize that it is a very specific ‘club’ that for the most part, is consumed by members only. It’s a good thing to build up club members so that they can reach the world. But when your aim is to do that, you need a boat that is sailing the open waters, not circling the safe known sea.

  • http://readinnwritin.blogspot.com PatriciaW

    Refreshing!

  • http://www.sally-apokedak.com/whispers_of_dawn/ sally apokedak

    I have such a complex.
    Not only can I not find an agent to represent me or a publisher to publish me, but now even my blog post comments are being rejected. heh heh
    What?!
    Did I exceed the word count limit? :)
    you say:
    “I was mostly speaking to the author who’d run at the sight of alcohol, let alone at the agent’s crazy actions.”
    I agree completely when you imply that too many Christians are legalistic and want to live in a Christian bubble (but only with other real Christians who think just like they do), and when you suggest that they ought to branch out a little and follow Jesus who preached to the unwashed masses.

  • http://godtoldmetosaythat.blogspot.com/ AimeeLS

    Agreed – though I do think there’s a danger, of taking the bits and pieces of what Christ did that suit our mindset and ignoring what He and the Bible teach overall. Things like:
    That God opposes the world, and anything the world considers wise, God considers foolish. (I Cor 3:18-19)
    We should not ‘partner’ ourselves with non-Christians or be a part of their doings. (II Cor 6:14-17)
    Christ’s ministry was to save. All of us. We are all sinners. We are all flawed. When it comes to non-believers we are no better, we just know better.
    We should, however, be aware that we are temples of Christ and examples of God’s love. We’re responsible to HIM before anyone, or anything else. Which, at times, means going against the grain and choosing things the world would consider to be judgmental or righteous, even if they are not.
    Sermon done. Thanks for the very thought provoking post Amanda! More please!

  • http://www.publishedauthors.net/robsargeant Rob Sargeant

    Nicole,
    Here are some good places for writers to interact online with others trying to get published:
    http://www.webook.com
    http://www.agentquery.com
    Cheerio,
    Rob Sargeant

  • http://www.eternitycafe.blogspot.com Susan

    Amanda,
    Thanks for your insight. Well said. I think this post raises an issue that is bigger than publishing.
    My husband is a chiropractor. Often Christians come to us expecting free treatment simply because we and they are Christians. We don’t charge clergy, and we do extend abundant grace for anyone in financial hardship (Christian or not). Unfortunately some think of Christianity as a club with financial benefits and come with unrealistic expectations.