Monday 25 June 2018

Online Dating vs Submitting to Agents by Jo Franklin

The last twelve months have meant a massive change in my personal life. It's been quite a year but ultimately a fantastic one. Now that I am single again, I decided to have a go at online dating with varying results and I now have enough material to write a three series sitcom, devise a stand up routine and to keep my girlfriends entertained for a year. But the one thing that stands out for me is that looking for love online is very much like looking for a literary agent (or a publisher for those who submit directly).

The Pitch

For a start you spend ages on your pitch or dating profile not really knowing who you are talking to. I met a few agents at networking events but most of my submissions were to total strangers. Some of the strangers in the world of dating are stranger than others, but like the literary agents out there, many of them are just looking for something special.

The Wait

Having sent off a submission to an agent there is an agonizing wait for a response. It's not unusual to hear nothing for three months and often the torture can go on for longer.
It's the same with dating. My early forays resulted in no interest. No one liked me! I thought I was going to have to resign myself to being permanently single which exactly echoed my feelings as an unpublished author. Total torture.

Financial Scammers

There are a lot of crooks lurking in the anonymous world of internet dating. I consider myself pretty savvy but I'm sure that I crossed paths with a few. It's pretty abhorrent that thieves target potentially vulnerable people looking for romance but even worse for me was the realisation that the sites themselves are not all that they seem. There are hundreds of fake profiles and automatically generated 'likes' so finding a genuine prospect among the artificial ones is tricky and time consuming.
Of course there are a few dodgy agents and publishers too. Vanity publishers masquerading as genuine. Agents purporting to be professional but behaving like amateurs. Thankfully I have avoided these but I know people who have been caught out.


The moment when an agent asks to see your full manuscript is a fantastic one. It's also terrifying. What do they think? Will they like it? Is this going to be the start of my dream coming true?
A mutual like on a dating website is just the same, although maybe less extreme. Eek! Someone likes me. Do I like them?


A mutual like on a dating site can cause your heart to skip a beat, but next thing you know you are unliked or blocked. Yikes! Am I really that awful? It really shook me the first time it happened but then I realised that some people use blocking as a way of letting someone know they had changed their mind.
Rejection from agents can be similarly cutting. 'Sorry not interested' is hurtful in any forum.
But we all need to remember that REJECTION IS NOT FEEDBACK. I need to print that off and stick it on my computer.


It took me a while to find my agent Anne Clark but now we've been together for over five years. I've had eight books published in seven countries. I'm a published author!

And my success with online dating? Let's just say it's a work in progress.

Jo Franklin


Pippa Goodhart said...

Hoping that the human dating soon catches up with the triumphs of publication dating!

Anne Booth said...

This was a lovely post and I so agree about the parallels. I think that should give you lots of hope - you got a brilliant agent and now you have fans and readers in seven countries, but whilst you were waiting for the right one you had no idea when she would appear! Some lucky and lovely person is out there and neither of you know each other...yet - but you will and they will be EXTREMELY lucky!