A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

So Ya' Wanna Be an Agent, Huh?

There’s a new trend, or maybe it’s an old trend and I’ve just found out about it. I had a conversation the other day with a writer I rejected sometime in the past (I didn’t remember her—small tits and stringy hair—but she said I had). During this conversation she asked me if I needed an assistant and when I answered in the negative, she informed me that she was going to form a literary agency but thought it would be best that she worked for someone in the biz first. My response was that I didn’t think that would be a good idea, to which she replied, “What’s wrong, afraid of the competition?”

Needless to say, I ended the conversation at this point. I find it very easy to end conversations with flat-chested, obnoxious women...or even big-chested obnoxious women, for that matter.

The point is that writers somehow believe they are uniquely qualified to be agents. I’m guessing here, but it’s probably because they somehow feel their fellow writer’s pain. Is that it or am I missing the point here? If I am, please steer me in the right direction. We have open discussion here, not like other blogs that I won’t mention.

Yes, having empathy with writers is an important aspect of being an agent. I won’t deny that. But what about editor contacts? As Agent 007 has pointed out on her blog, editors prefer to work with agents they have worked with before, those who they know (many times personally) and trust. So, as a writer, do you have these contacts? Probably not, because if you did you could get your own stuff published, right, or is this the real reason you want to be an agent in the first place?

There is a huge area that writers who want to be agents always lightly pass over. It’s that part actually, the contract part, that agents first came into existence to deal with. But writers, at least the newbie types, think big advance and forget about—THE CONTRACT.

Scares the shit out of you the first time you see one of these monsters. Have you ever tried to decipher the dense legalese? These things are written by lawyers for other lawyers to understand. They have sneaky little things about them that if you don’t know what you are doing, you’ll end up buying the local Wal-Mart. How do you, as a writer, plan to understand the ins and outs of something that lawyers train for years to write? How do you negotiate terms favorable to your client without blowing the entire deal? And, even worse, each contract is different. Some are standard, but most are written by in-house lawyers who put their own twists and turns in the content so that satisfies that particular house’s special needs (and maintains job security). After awhile, when you have worked a vast number of contracts, a pattern emerges and they all begin to look alike, just like blondes with big blue eyes and massive hooters (you've seen one, you've seen 'em all). But what’s going to happen to all those clients (your supposed friends and fellow writers) who have put their trust in you in the meantime? You screw them, that’s what, maybe even to the extent of ruining their writing careers. But anyone can do it, right? It’s so easy. And yes, dipshits, there is a test for agents. It’s called knowing what the fuck you’re doing—that’s the test. And if you fail, you'll be the one that all those writers bitch about on writer boards, watch group sites and at conferences. You won't get to play in any reindeer games, except when Bubba (you know, Loretta the Christian fiction writer's third kissin' cousin twice removed--but only with a crowbar--with the nervous twitch and dislike for anything legal) wants to come hunting for your head.


  • At 12:08 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Preach on, Sammy!

  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger crusher said…

    You're a tool

  • At 12:25 PM, Blogger PiratesofUrbana said…

    you are an asshole...
    with a small dick

  • At 12:40 PM, Blogger crusher said…

    you're not even really an agent are you? I'll bet you work at the library.

  • At 12:42 PM, Blogger PiratesofUrbana said…

    not even- you are a crackhead working the late shift at the local IHOP

  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger Chappy said…

    I came out of retirement just to tell you that you are the biggest fuckstick on the net. Dude, step back and read your crap - what an ass.
    Are you grumpy and self-important because you have no friends, or do you have no friends because you're grumpy and feel self-important?
    Did you have to take spiritual Viagra to inflate your flacid ego?
    I get the feeling your soul is dog shit and you know it.
    I'm going to have Crusher, Killer, Chuck, and Gilly beat your nitwit ass into the pavement.
    BTW: In real life I'm a tenured Ph.D. in the humanities - wanna publish me?

  • At 12:50 PM, Blogger Dante said…

    aaaahhhhh!!! I'll do no such thing!!!

  • At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    the only pussy you can get is your sister- and that is only b/c you make her play with your stinky balls.
    you shit-pussy mother-fucker
    you do her too

  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger Chuck Dawson said…

    Hey man, Chappy, you're right, man!
    if you ask me, the only difference between this SammyK guy and a bag of dog shit is a bag of dog shit's a little better company!
    hey man, where do you really work?
    IHOP? Library? The Island of Misfit, Self-Indulgant Toys? Crusher's right, man. you are a tool.
    swiss army what?

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger Bernita said…

    "Finest kind"

  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger Amy M. said…

    I work at a library. Woo hoo.

  • At 12:49 PM, Blogger Pantherchick said…

    This is nothing but a cleverly disguised marketing tool to drum up interest and business for Sammy. After all, he's the one who said in the previous post to never trust anyone who works for free. From that we can figure out that either he's hoping to profit from this blog or don't place your trust in him!

  • At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you are gross

  • At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Literary agents are usually unattractive women in their 20s who have never written anything, never will write anything, and think that they have "power" over writers, a lot of whom actually have brains and talent. If you look at the bios of most agents, they have no qualifications to judge literature. Agents should be required to have at least a Master's degree in literature or creative writing...otherwise they judge novels on what "grabs" them, which is usually something written at the 4th grade level. If you read most literary agents' blogs, you will find that they do not know the difference between "then" and "than" or "your" and "you're". Their blogs also warn writers not to bad-mouth them...I guess because they are afraid of people hearing the truth, which is that most literary agents are not very intelligent, are inappropriately arrogant, and enjoy standing between writers and publishing houses because it's a power trip. This industry really should be regulated, because it's a major joke. Oh, and if literary agents are so BUSY that they can't respond to queries, partials, and manuscripts in a timely manner, then how do they have the time to BLOG? Give me a break. And I know that all literary agents who find criticism of them on the internet will claim that it is written by a disgruntled, unpublished author. Well, I am a published author but I have plenty of friends who are incredibly talented writers who have to deal with rejection from these literary agent morons on a daily basis and it just breaks my heart. Summary: Literary agents are idiots.


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