Just to be clear, I have a GREAT agent. And part of what makes her great is that she knows when to turn into a "No" machine.
I started thinking about this after I read about how all Hades broke loose when some YA authors responded with passion to what they saw as unfair reviews. (Link to the bru-ha-ha here.)
My agent, thankfully, saved me from myself multiple times when I felt tempted to defend my choices. Here's a sample of some of our conversations:
Me:This reviewer thinks it's wrong that I didn't have my main character fight against slavery. But NOBODY fought against slavery in the ancient world (except slaves themselves, like Spartacus). I have the research to prove it.
Agent:Doesn't matter. Don't respond.
Me:But I verified this with an expert! He's written several books on ancient slavery and is a professor at... Agent:Doesn't matter. You. Can't. Respond.
Me: But... Agent: NO!
Me: (Crosses arms and pouts) Later
Me:This one said she was only giving it two stars because she wanted to read a novel about Cleopatra instead of Cleopatra Selene. Shouldn't someone respectfully suggest that she read the description of the book before purchasing?
Agent: No. Let. It. Go.
Me: But it's so unfair! Agent: Yup. Doesn't matter. The answer is still, "No."
Agent:No, okay? N. O.
Me: (Crosses arms, pouts and taps foot)
Still Later Me:This reviewer said my book was well-written but only gave it one star because she's angry that I, as author, did not "judge" the "immorality" of the ancient world but only presented it as it was. In particular, she's outraged that my MC has no problem with her brother possibly having a same-sex affair. That's outrageous!
Agent:Agreed. Me: I absolutely should respond, shouldn't I?
Agent: No, you shouldn't. The review was a reflection of the reviewer and not of the book, which she complimented. Me: Still, I should...
Agent: No! Do you hear me? No!
Me: But... Agent: NO! Me: (Starts to cross arms but is overcome and curls into fetal position instead)
So, you see why I appreciate my agent so much. Thank goodness she is such a "No-it-All!"