A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Kiwi Pigfucker Tells All

I can think of nothing more vile than agents who are not only solicitous, but who ply their trade on writer forums that charge a fee.

Am I dreaming?

Some guy e-mails me about this forum, so I check it out. Sure enough, there are agents on there dispensing advice. The problem is that it is members only, and the membership comes at a price. Where are the watch groups screaming “scam”? Where are the writers screaming for justice? Nowhere. They are all on a brainwashed vacation. How is it okay for a writer forum run by some unknown twit to charge a fee, but agents who actually provide a service can’t? How is it okay for a self-proclaimed watchdog to donate money to a writer forum and not be questioned?

It is official—the world has gone mad.

I wouldn’t be so outraged except that the agents on the forum I checked out are supposed to be legitimate agents—hell, I KNOW some of them are legit—yet they give voice in an arena that profits from the ignorance of writers. And yet I get hate mail because I charge an exorbitant reading fee, mainly to keep the lowlifes from querying me. Where in the hell are the editors and agents who really know how the publishing world works? Why isn’t someone saying anything besides me? Why are there now all these agent and editor blogs using their real names and answering writer questions (for goddamn free) when they know the truth about our industry?

I will tell you why: If writers really knew how the publishing world worked, they would not pay for memberships to writer organizations, magazines, or online services who claim to have the “keys to getting published.” Nor would they listen to agents who, for God knows what reason, offer free advice to millions of writers, one of which will get published in the next decade. Ninety-nine percent of this writer-centered crap is bullshit; there are no “keys to getting published” any more than there are keys to curing cancer or world peace. Getting published is a complex series of events that involves strategic preparation and a great deal of luck. And let’s not forget that tiny little thing that puts you over the top—talent (although no one has ever called my “talent” tiny!), There are things you can do to prepare yourself for success in the publishing field, and there are things you can do to up the odds of getting published, but anyone who charges you money for what I am about to give you for free--just to shut up the wannabes--is full of shit. Here is exactly what you need to know to get published…

1) Learn how to write in your area
2) If you are talented, you should keep trying.

Other than that, there aren’t any “keys to publishing.” The books and magazines are a waste of fucking money that will tell you things writers should already know. For instance, you only need ONE example of how to write a query letter (it’s a fucking business letter—the standard for which is now taught in high school, probably elementary school). Also, what is a novel? Don’t know the answer? THEN DON”T TRY TO WRITE ONE! Writer magazines have published the same 12 articles over and over for the past 50 years…and no one seems to get it. Wake the fuck up! Don’t just read the articles and books with titles that have “how to get published” in them.

And for God’s sake, quit getting excited over little things that mean dick. I keep getting e-mails from dimwits chastising me and blathering about how close they are to getting published because they are getting personal letters from editors and agents. Or because they have an agent who just sold Milo Pigfucker’s celebrity tell-all, which was written by his chihuahua Kiwi, and their book is bound to sell, too. I have said this before, and I will say it again: There is no “almost” in publishing. You are either published or not published. Have a signed contract in your hand from Random House? Great, now you can get excited. And enjoy that twenty seconds of excitement, because before the ink is even dry, you will be working your ass off doing revisions.

Welcome to the real publishing world.

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