A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why Children's Editors Suck but Don't Swallow…by Marley

Well, Marley may have been absent for a little while, but she’s back now in full bloom. Marley, love, take it from here….

Jesus fucking Christ, people! You really have no clue about children’s publishing, do you? I do. You know why? Because I am not in it, that’s why. But my kindred spirits in the realm of the Itty Bitties (i.e. itty bitty advances, itty bitty royalties, itty bitty prestige) have to vent to someone. That’s right—I am buddies with a couple of kids’ editors. Have been for a long time. And they tell me things. Naughty things. I went to university with a couple of them, and for some reason—perhaps they are mentally ill—when we decided to go our separate ways into the pub world, they went to Bunnyville and I went to where all the grown-ups go—agenting. HA! I knew some of you would snicker at that. Well, fuck you good and hard. I may be a mother-fucking agent, despised by the creative population in general, but at least I’m not a pathetic, lifeless, mommy-wannabe, daycare lovin’ children’s lit editor. Jesus, and the Christians think Satan is bad!

Look, I know that everyone thinks of these twats as the epitome of literary mommydom, even the guys. They publish books that supposedly guide our children, but have you seen any of these man-hungry wrecks lately (including the guys)? I am almost sisters with one of them, and she’s a fucking idiot. I love her, and I would raise her children if a picture book writer hunted her down and killed her with one of their drool-covered glitter pens, but she’s still an idiot. To make it plainer to the elfadeldos (no, I don’t know how to goddamn spell it) in Bunnyville, not only do you have to deal with editors who never quite made it out of the middle school mentality, you have to deal with editors stealing your spots on lists. Maybe you should think about this before sending your masterpiece off.

I don’t take kiddie lit, even though wannabes send me shit all the time, but I am “in.” For those of you who don’t know what that means, it is the opposite of where you are, which is “out.” Anyway, I know who these people are. When a writer bitches to me about not taking kid lit (which is like bitching to a Chevy salesman that he doesn’t sell Fords), I fire back at them with the ridiculousness of their hero’s quest to be the next Dr. Seuss. Why is it fruitless? Because the children’s editors are writing their own books and getting them published, so they DO NOT NEED YOU. You pathetic morons!

Have you been to a bookstore lately? Just look at the names on the shelves and you will find dozens of editors who work at Random House, Simian & Schuster (yes, that’s how I spell it since that fucking little bastard in lower management bragged that he touched my unmentionables—MY TITTIES!—when the closest he had been was across the hall), HarpyCollins (have you talked with these people lately? Three words: P-M-S), and Penguin Poundyourpudnam (draw your own conclusions). Yeah, I have issues with all of these houses, though I still sell books to some of them, but the fact is the kid’s editors are publishing their own shit and they don’t need yours. So stop idolizing the fluffy version of Attila the Hun, will you?

Oh, I know. In the adult world, we have Jason Pinter, who wrote a book for—snicker, snicker—MIRA. Ooooooh. And there’s others, too. Even bigger oooooohs. Yeah, so it happens in the adult world, too, that editors claim spots on lists that real writers could fill otherwise. But kiddie writers seem to idolize their editors, whereas in my world we just tolerate the slop they churn out, buy them drinks until they are sloppy-ass drunk, and then we set their shoes on fire. God, I love my job!

The adult editors won’t go to the police—they are too ashamed to explain how they ended up with second-degree burns on the soles of their feet. One guy did try to claim he was fire-walking, but the cops didn’t buy it. The kiddie editors, on the other hand, have never gotten past milkshakes and teddy-bear hug parties, and they will run to an authority figure the minute you seductively suck on their olives. Pussies.

My point is this: Quit sending me your children’s lit shit. I don’t take it. Never will. The editors are psycho and they don’t buy that many manuscripts anyway because they are all busy writing their own, which usually suck. Check the names and numbers and you will see. The editor that turns you down because she says your book just didn’t connect with her is basically saying you write better than her and won’t take on anything that might make better sales figures than her loser book about Abraham Lincoln’s mole getting a blowjob.

And to my sister editors who keep trying to lure me over to the dark side—you will never take me alive. I don’t want to have anything to do with passing notes at recess, ‘kay? And by the way, I have the most amazing assortment of glitter pens…

Fuck you,


  • At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't believe that I am agreeing with this. I never thought it would happen. But I was at a bookstore two weeks ago and sawa book by an editor who just truned me down. I was stunned. It was a major house. The book didn't appear to sell well. That is not fair. I am a good writer and I don't have a chance if all thesse editors are writing instead.

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger AnimeJune said…

    Bless your salty soul, Marley! Glad to have you bitching at us again. I missed it so.

    I'm taking a Survey of Children's Lit course at University to prepare me for Library and Information Studies grad work, so I at least get a chance to read the occasional GREAT stuff that comes out of kid lit.

  • At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There are a lot of editors writing. And some agents, too. I think I don't mind the agents as much as the editors. Agents generate their own paychecks, and if they write on their "work" time, they have less time to work and make money. It's their business, and their choice.

    Editors, however, work for companies who are looking for books to publish. Days are busy, and nights and weekends are when they do their "work" reading and catch up. If they choose to write their own stuff instead, it's definitely taking time away from their "real" jobs.

    Not to mention the phrase "conflict of interest."

    There are plenty of people who want to be editors who aren't marking time until their personal writing careers take off.

  • At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am an AW groupie and only come here to gloat over how stupid this blog is. I couldn't wait to prove Marley wrong. But I was wrong. I must have typed in a dozen editors' names on Amazon, and of that list, eight came back with books published. As far as I'm concerned, you are all a bunch of selfish liars, AW and Sammy and all the other "professionals" included. I am tired of all of your rhetoric.

  • At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ha. That post was insane. My dive into children's lit goes as far as peeking over my kid's shoulder and asking what she's reading. Usually something from the school library. Damn right, because I'm not buying more kid's books. I have a bunch that looked good and then plop, nothing. Then I'm out $14.95 with a partially read book.

    For the life of me I don't understand why authors insist on sending queries to agents that don't do the genre. As if they're going to change their mind or something. Isn't it best just to query the ones that handle your genre? In the words of Carlos Mencia, "Dee, dee, dee."

  • At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why can't we have children's authors like Roald Dahl anymore?

  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm still laughing. But seriously, are children's books the only genre where editors compete against writers? Or are there other genres in which a writer's painfully extracted synopsis' cause an editor's creative juices to flow?

  • At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well... you can get children's editors drunk... but you won't like their dark sides.
    In my experience, they say things like, '****ing writers clogging up the christmas party! My life would be so much easier without ****ing writers'. Or something along those exact lines.
    And they don't even care when you point out that you are a '****ing writer' but have been published far less than them which makes them a 'much bigger ****ing writer'.

    I think they get published more often because they're on the spot when the call goes out for something to fill the gap, they know exactly what the company wants to publish, and they chat over coffee with the editor every day. Opportunistic bloody... lucky B's!

  • At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That *sniff* was beautiful! *sniff*

    (From a frustrated kiddie-lit writer.)

  • At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Interesting that many doubted Marley on this one and then found it checked out as true. I would also point out that Sammy's prediction of the EE/Snark cabal resulting in a book has also turned out to be true. EE is currently gathering permissions from his submitters to use in a book. How does he know so much? Perhaps 'Sammy' is really Grandmother Snark?

  • At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm anxiously awaiting Sammy's post concerning Evil Editor.

  • At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm anxiously awaiting to see what Sammy has to say about Evil Editor.

    Now if this clown publishes a book on his blog, does that mean he'll have to reveal his identity?

    In this internet age of excessive information can anybody really remain anonymous?

  • At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That evil editor clown is a total for-profit enterprise. He's got t-shirts and mugs for sale now.


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