A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Friday, July 29, 2005

Professionalism and the Art of Making Whoopee

What would you do if you paid a hooker $500 for a night of lustful passion, and it sucked? No, I didn’t say the hooker sucked, which would have probably been not so bad; the whole night sucked. In other words, you could have saved your money, rented a porn video and been just as happy watching Debbie do Dallas while you did the Widow Five-Finger. How would you feel when morning came, but you hadn’t—at least not so’s you noticed?

And how the hell does that relate to writing?

Here’s how: Lots of writers call themselves professionals and some even look like professionals. smell like ‘em too. But, when the time comes to produce or participate in the publishing process (asking questions about the contract, revising, working with an editor, understanding the business, etc.), they turn out to be real dogs. I am not talking about the 98% of you who can’t write; I am talking about those who actually have talent. Talent alone doesn't qualify you to writer, either.

What constitutes a professional in your field? Isn’t there some sort of standard? And don’t give me that bullshit about how writing is subjective—that IS bullshit. Writing is a job, and you need training, experience, and the personality for it, not just a dream to be adored. Look at the field of making wine. Looks easy, doesn’t it? Pick some grapes, squash ‘em down and let the yeast take over. Bottle it, let it set for a year, and taste it. Yuck! Vinegar! What did I do wrong?


Most of the people who write me don’t have a clue about how a novel is put together: What’s POV? What have I written? Why don’t you want this—my family loved it?!? Why won't you mentor me?

Don’t most other professions require a degree and experience? Or some kind of training? Why do you think that just because you finally made time in your busy life to write, that someone is 1) going to publish it and 2) going to pay money to read it?

What qualifies you to be a writer?


  • At 11:20 AM, Blogger Michelle said…

    What qualifies me to be a writer?

    Doesn't blowing your English Lit professor qualify? Whoops, I guess I wasn't supposed to say that.

    Probably because it wasn't true...although I might have if he'd ever given me a second look.

    I couldn't help posting on this one. I've sat here for the last hour reading your blog. Laughing, crying, taking notes (snort)but anyway...I think you SHOULD write a book and compile all of these letters into one big conglomoration of 'stuff' that one should not do. Or maybe should do, depending on the circumstances...

    Anway, just for clarification sake. "I never had any type of sexual relations with my Lit Prof."

    Enjoying your blog.


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