A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sammy's Back and Ready to Blog

Sammy’s back! After a nice long weekend of not doing anything except banging my girlfriend (and she even enjoyed it, too!), not reading anything, and consuming lots of good food and wine, I am in fine form. Aah, it is good to be me!

Waiting for applause to stop.

I can see that while I was gone, somebodies have been busy little commenting beavers, oh yes they have. But what is even better is that I returned to a mailbox full of goodies from editors, other agents, and other folks in publishing who have things they want to say but can’t dare say them around colleagues or chatty writers who like to post the contents of every reject on their websites or writer discussion boards. I had been getting a few here and there, but now the flood gates are open. These poor souls need a place to vent their frustrations and fast. And that’s what this blog is for, so here are some of the shorter ones to get us started. Yippee!

From an editor:
The day the business started to decline was the day the marketing people were told they were in charge. We used to be able to say, here’s a good book, figure out how to market it. That’s your job. But now we get this bullshit about how marketing doesn’t think this or that book will go. I just want to say to these people, what the hell is that? Don’t they teach you how to market at marketing school? Or do they just teach you how to memorize five strategies for effectively selling a product and if a book doesn’t fall into a category you recognize you shake your head and pretend that it couldn’t possibly be the bestseller the house is looking for (because, after all, isn’t the house’s best interests your main concern? Right)? I just want to tell these pinheads, look, your job is to market the bleeping book and if you can’t figure out how to sell it, you are fired, end of story. As it is, all you do is wander out long enough to pick books with recognizable names that make your job easy and then slink back to your offices where you daydream about bonking the copy girl, who, by the way, is bonking the associate publisher. Sorry to spoil your day.”

From a publisher:
I’ve looked at all the posts here and blogs elsewhere. The insider posts seem true for their level in the industry. But what the hell does an editor really know about publishing? Or an agent, for that matter? Give me a break. Sure they can tell you how they rejected so and so or how they took such and such book through the process in their particular house, but what do they know about distribution, wholesaling, or marketing? Writers, to be really good at this profession, you need to know everything about the publishing process. Once you know that, you’ll realize that you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to ever make any money in this business.”

From another editor:
I wish writers wouldn’t send me self-published books. I can’t do anything with them unless they have sold a buttload before it reaches me. Most of the ones I get are truly pathetic anyway, and it makes me really sad that so many people feel that they have to get published to be special or to feel fulfilled. It’s really sad.”

From an agent:
I get really weary opening my mail to find out that people who want me to represent them have not done any research to find out what I take, what my guidelines are, what I have sold in the past…zip. I am very, very tired of people trying to “hook” me with some hokey “grabber” without giving basic information about their book, like a word count or the genre. I think they think that if they WOW me, I can sell their 300,000-word diatribe against the Reagan Administration. First of all, Bill Woodward has already probably done that and second of all, I can’t sell anything that runs that length. I would rather know this up front than after requesting a partial, so I quit requesting anything, no matter how good it sounds, if I don’t see a genre and a word count. Some people like to put these items at the end of their query, but if they aren’t at the top, where they should be, then I reject it out of course Important info about your book is your hook, dumbass!”

Not as animated as me, are they, boys and girls? Oh, it gets better, though, and I will post some of the longer ones later. As these newbies get more seasoned at opening up to Sammy Blogmeister, I am certain I will have some shit that will burn holes in the web. I can’t wait!

Welcome back to me!


  • At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you suck

  • At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bravo to the editor who correctly describes the problem of not only the publishing business but the film, TV and music business as well -- the marketeers have taken over. The marketeers claim to "know" the market but that's a lot of nonsense.

    From the agent who wants the genre and word count at the beginning of the query letter, there's a whole lot of agents offering advice who don't give that instruction. So what's a writer to do, dragged over the storm tossed seas of what one agent wants and another doesn't.

  • At 7:05 PM, Blogger louisgonzo12392155 said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you have a small penis
    and smelly balls

  • At 5:12 AM, Blogger Miss Snark said…

    Bob Woodward. Not Bill

  • At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    More, please. In case all the "you suck" and "your balls smell" posts might be discouraging you.


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