A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave...

There’s a new virus going around. No, it’s not a STD; it’s actually worse. I’m going to, for a lack of a better definition, call this thing BB, for Buddy-Buddy. This insidious virus is very selective about its host and only selects humans with limited brainpower, creating a symbiotic relationship with its host instead of feeding off of it so that it can infect the human subspecies called the Whining Wannabe (or WW). WW’s, by the way, are those who are not happy being what they are, and, although they come to the party ill-prepared, they always wanna be what they are not. Hosts infected with BB no longer see Whining Wannabes as human, though, but as book consumers. Herein lies the evil truth!

BB is usually cultured in the petri dishes we know as chat rooms, writer boards or watcher sites. The BB host can usually be identified because this type virus always uses his or her real name and is always a published author with a book or two to hawk or a career to foster.

The BB host ingratiates itself to the writers around them because it never criticizes anyone and is always optimistic about writing and wannabe writers, even though it knows in its genetic code that most will never get published. The typical BB host is always there to offer advice and to give a helping hand, as well as protect and advise writers against all the bad people in the publishing world. All Whining Wannabes love their Buddy-Buddies. Their advice is free, the mainstay of the freeloading WW. “This is wonderful!” thinks the Wannabe, “So-and-so is always there for me. My BB is so generous, kind and giving. My BB loves me! And my writing!”

But is advice free? Whining Wannabes will eventually learn (I doubt it, but where there’s life, there’s always hope) that nothing is free and nothing is what it seems to be. Most things, if they are of any value, are not free. Free stuff is usually sucker bait. The BB is a sneaky bug and its by-product is name-brand recognition. In the case of the published author, it’s his/her name you carry with you into the bookstore. Name-brand recognition is the greatest scam out there. It gives celebrity to the few and lets everyone else who might have a better product languish.

Like I said, BB is a sneaky bug, but oh-so-easy to catch. Why? Because after awhile, the BB host goes from just being helpful to being downright domineering. You will notice that anyone who challenges it will get snarked at—so uncharacteristic of the BB host! When discovered and confronted, it will always utter this phrase, “I use my real name because I have nothing to hide.” But Buddy-Buddy, you always have something to hide and that’s your real agenda. The fact that you set yourselves up as experts, when you are not, and immediately discredit anyone who disputes your supposed expertise, can only mean that you want to remain “out there” so that the writers you are supposed be helping will continue to buy your books or provide the word-of-mouth power that keeps you in the news (which translates to the type of celebrity that allows you to be able to write articles, be invited to conferences, etc.)

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.—Sir Sammy Kitzler (thanks, Sir Walter Scott, for lending me your words)

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