A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Few Things I Don't Want to Hear in 2006

Since everyone is coming up with shit for 2006, I thought I would join the club. Here are some phrases that I hope I never hear from wannabe writers in 2006 (although I will):

If you just read the whole manuscript…
Translation: I don’t know what the fuck I am doing, but if you read the whole thing and like it, I won’t have to ever learn my craft. I can’t tell you how many writers have rebuked me with this statement when I tell them, after three chapters, that their work is not ready for publication. As if reading the whole crappy book will somehow make up for the fact that they can’t use technique to bring the reader to satisfaction. Puleez…

Anything except “Thank you” from writers I have taken the time to give comments to in my rejections of their work.
This sounds arrogant, I know, but goddammit, I feel like I am giving you sound advice on how to improve your ms, and then I get some bonehead who challenges what I have said. For example, I told one writer that 260,000 words is too fucking long for me to take it on, and besides, his work is over-written to beat hell (most manuscripts over 100,000 words are), and he tells me that I haven’t been keeping reading the NYC best-seller list because Harry Potter is doing fine, or some such bullshit. What? I don’t give a good goddamn what is on the NYC list, his work was overwritten. When an agent—or anyone who has been in the business for 30-40 years—gives you advice, the least you can do is ignore it and not write back that you don’t agree. Say “Thank you” and move on, but don’t argue with me. I may be wrong, but I am usually right on the money. Fucker.

I was just setting up the story/character.
This is an excuse, plain and simple. It translates to: I want to wax poetic and have readers adore me for it. I want to use flowery language and have everyone gush about how wonderful my writing is. Sammy says: Get to the fucking story. Quick. Don’t describe the scene or the character ad nauseum. For God sakes, think of your reader, you selfish prick! Quit making them plow through your crap to get to what actually stimulates them.

The pregnancy test was positive.
This is self-explanatory.

Agents suck. I hate agents.
Would you believe I get writers who tell me this, then ask me to read their work? Yep, it happens all the time. I could do without this, but writers must think that this is some kind of weird psychological turn on, because I keep hearing it. Blah.

More later folks, as I am toasted this evening due to the efforts of a lovely lady who likes to cook naked and has a soft spot for guys who like books. And lots of soft spots in general.

Heh heh.


  • At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can you get your meth-addled head around the simple fact that you are not god's gift to writers? Ah, life seems so simple and resplendent now - the publishing parties, the midnight coke fests, the hazy, drunken weekends at your pappy's house in the Hamptons where you, no doubt, wax poetic about those dumb-fuck hicks from Alabama who keep sending you manuscripts that are not about how great life is being a New Yawker. Are you pretentious? Definitely. Arrogant? Of course. But, you have every right to be as you are, perhaps, the greatest living agent. You’re a hot, young man about town with the power and ruthlessness to shoot down every bum-fuck, dork, and fly over stater there ever was. What? Your novel isn’t about being young, anguished, and addicted to women and house paint while living in SOHO and writing poems about dog hair? You wrote an epic about your grandfather’s illegal flight from Central Mexico into Arizona? Who wants to read that? That will not resonate with the rich, hip, liberals that I associate with. Sorry, learn your craft! buh duh buh duh....

  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Julia said…

    Here are some phrases that I hope I never hear from wannabe writers in 2006 (although I will):

    The pregnancy test was positive.
    This is self-explanatory.

    You know you're going to hear this one from a wannabe writer?

    I've heard of agents screwing writers, but I didn't think they meant literally!

  • At 2:36 AM, Blogger Julia said…

    Oh wait! I think I understand the pregnancy line.

    You don't want to hear from wannabe writers that they are pregnant, but you would be OK if others in your life are pregnant.

    You just don't want wannabe writers to reproduce!


Post a Comment

<< Home