Why Do Agents Have to Love a Book to Take It On?

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Q. Why do agents need to "love" a book? Can't they simply recognize commercial viability without loving it, and take on a project on that basis alone?
- Anonymous

A: Absolutely. With nonfiction and commercial (genre) fiction, they can often size something up to be "easily salable" and take it on for the $. However, a lot of books don’t come off as instant bestsellers and therefore, the end payoff is unknown. And when they’re devoting months of time to a work where the end payoff is unknown, they must fall in love with it and really believe that this book needs to be published. They need to justify all that time and energy by "loving" the project.

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