A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Great Debate That Really Isn't

Okay, so I post about something that is actually IMPORTANT in publishing, and all I get are e-mails asking me about the Snark/Anne Stuart thing. As if I care. As if anyone in the real publishing world cares.

You want my take on it? Here it is: Finally, someone (Jennifer “I can’t stop writing chick-lit though it’s dead” Crusie) in publishing who uses her real name and who has clout with the wannabe crowd has basically said what I have said all along. Snark is full of shit. She makes statements that make it obvious that she doesn’t really understand publishing and how it works. I don’t care if she’s in it or not, she doesn’t “get” it. The biggest clue is that she hangs with the watchpuppies and most agents could care less about watchpuppies and their drivel because it is just not part of the overall entertainment picture. You get scammed? Fuck you, wannabe. That’s just one more piece of goddamn slush that I don’t have to deal with. That’s what most insiders think. Big fucking deal. No one but a wannabe publishing power freak offers free advice to wannabes based on the idea that getting into publishing only requires desire and meeting certain standards created by the SFWA, like they matter any more than anybody else in the fucked up kingdom known as the Realm of Publishing.

As I see it, people across Cyberville are finally cluing in to the fact that Snark is mouthpiecing the core values propagated by the watchpuppies and their related industry outsiders. Other publishing people, LIKE ME, couldn’t give a shit less what anybody thinks except talented writers and the publishers who seek to exploit them. I have seen lots of comments, finally, from editors and other agents who are basically saying that Snark is on a very wrong tangent. She always has been, but nobody important said anything because SNARK JUST DOESN”T MATTER. Except to the minions she has created through her Dr. Phil Does Publishing persona. When she dipped into an area she really doesn't know anything about, she fell flat on her pretty little snout.

But the reason she matters to me is that she is one of many people who continue to encourage people to write for publication who should be writing for a hobby. So do the watchpuppies. So do the solicitous agents and editors feeding off of wannabes. These people are sucking the life from my industry, as I have mentioned many times, and my advice is for writers to go figure the fuck out what they think they are doing. Like any wannabe, their presence changes the dynamic of the entity to which they pledge their allegiance. And sometimes it is not for the best, dragging down those who buy into their bullshit. For example, I give you…

George W. Bush—President Wannabe
Judy Regan—Celebrity Publishing Wannabe
O.J. Simpson—Serial Killer Wannabe
Snark—Agent Wannabe
Dick Cheney—Human Wannabe
Arnold Schwarznegger—Android Wannabe
Michael Richards—Comedian Wannabe
Angelina Jolie—Activist Wannabe
Brad Pitt—I’m Fucking an Activist Wannabe
Paris Hilton—Celebutant Wannabe
Karen Hughes—Anybody Important Wannabe
Bill Frist—Doctor Wannabe (Seriously, after that whole Terri Schiavo thing, would you let him touch you?)
SammyK—Isabella’s Sex Slave Wannabe
George Clooney—Marriagable Material to Get Nook Wannabe

And I am not the only one who thinks these things. Here is part of an e-mail from a writer using the name The Casual Observer, who is probably a whacko freakazoid, but what the hell…

Who is the real Miss Snark? Is she or is she not a real agent? Who cares? Personally, I believe she is Jenna of Absolute Write fame. I think this because when AW was in trouble, Snark was right there defending those speaking out against the injustice of such a thing. How dare they do this and that!. Most of us, those of us with a brain anyway, where hoping it would stay shut down. Just so much more crap that no one cared about anyway—no one except Jenna and friends.

I have also noticed that each time anything watchdogerish is in the forefront that Miss Snark is right there, defending all those who might get scammed. In my opinion, the only folks concerned about getting scammed are wannabes, as you have testified to many times.

The bottom line is that I don’t agree that Miss Snark is Janet Reid. A real agent would care less about watchdogs. So whoever this person is they have to somehow be connected to Jenna, AW or the SFWA. My thinking right now is that Snark is either Jenna or Victoria Strauss. Why? Because of their very close ties to AW and SFWA. This is my guess. Anyone want to refute it?

I get this shit all the time. I also get stuff like this:

I think you’re a male chauvinist pig. I don’t think you have sex with anyone but yourself. I wouldn’t have sex with you if you were the last man on the planet.

And this…

Why don’t you have a pet like Miss Snark? Your blog would be so much better if you had a dog or something. Miss Snark has a Chihuahua and can prove it. (What?)

So, now that I have put my opinion to rest on this most recent pathetic excuse for a scandal, can we get back to whether News Corporation should have cancelled the O.J. book and interview? Think 1st amendment, people. Would we have burned those books if they had been published? Is censorship an issue real writers should worry about? Nah, they’re too busy reading Snark.

Not.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

If You Knew Judy Like I Knew Judy (or The Greatest Wannabe of All)

…at least in publishing. Ooh, I’ve heard about the Snark/Crusie thing, and I will get to that, but what I am going to post about is so much FUNNER! And so much more important because it proves I’m an agent and you all aren’t. It proves that publishing is not the coochy-coo land all those solicitous, mind-fucking bastards out there sucking off wannabes say that it is. It is my world, my realm, and the lawyers in the O.J. Simpson case, who couldn’t prove his guilt or innocence even when the evidence was handed to them, have proved that I have been right all along about the state of publishing. I just didn’t realize it would come at the lovely hands of one of our very own go-to-it gals—Judy R. at HarperC.

I know Snark’s fans are too wannabe to understand the profundity of this little scandal in the ranks up here where the air is rarified, but us REAL agents are giddy. Kind of like watching someone get caught with her underwear stuck in her pretty little crack. By the way, the theme from “The High and The Mighty” is playing on my Zune right now (snapping fingers to the beat). Eat your heart out, K.N.

Pop quiz question:

All along, Sammy has been:
a. right
b. right
c. right
d. all of the above

Now, you self-righteous nay-sayers; you nefarious ineffective do-gooders; you underachieving, over-reaching, ladder-climbing leeches, who has been right all along? Let’s say it together now:

Sammy was right.

And Sammy still is. Oh, the absolute joy of being able to point out via public example the epitome of all that I have spoken. But why wallow in my glory alone when I can please my darling wannabes—see, a non-writer like me even knows that you have to please someone besides yourself—by giving a quasi-scoop on the most recent poop in publishing?

Oooh, you just can’t wait, can you?

Well, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed, because I am not going to let you in on any secrets I haven’t already alluded to before (Go Annie, You Rock; Note to Oprah and Nan: Go Fuck Yourselves). Anyone who knows Ju-Ju is not surprised at all about this O.J. Simpson book fiasco. Why do you think she convinced the powers that be that she could conquer H-Wood for them, then took her heels and designer clothes and tottered off to the anti-Big Apple? It wasn’t because she wanted to give voice to struggling writers or bring great literature to the world. It is because—and you should know this refrain by now:

She is a wannabe and knows nothing about the industry and she shouldn’t be in it.

Judy, as lovely as she can be, is the ultimate wannabe. And no, she is not one of my exes. I can imagine how she got her start: The corporate robots at HC said one day, “We want to be nothing but a sleazy entertainment entity, beholden to consumers who feed off of the celebrity culture because they have no lives of their own and have not yet decided to write a book themselves. We need someone who loves to feed parasitically off of the attention given to celebrities in Glittertown—movie stars, politicos, sleazy and obnoxious lawyers, etc.—to lead the way. Also, someone who likes having a year-round tan.”

And probably Ju-Ju Bear waved her arm wildly in the air, like those answer-rich nerdy kids in high school I used to teach how to get dates (mainly I told them to quit answering all the fucking questions and stick a sock in their pants—amazingly, it worked). Actually, if I know Judy, she most likely told them the way it was going to be, and the next thing you know Ju-Ju is driving her wagon train West and publishing books by people who are not writers by trade, but cash-cows by circumstance. For our most recent example, the people who are most irate about the O.J. “confession” book are the lawyers who lost the case and are now mentally comparing their advances to his, and probably considering killing a spouse to get a bigger book deal next time. Really, most of the people who are outraged are people who have, at some point, been a part of the case and had a book published already…some of them by Judy. Really. Really, really. There’s some irony for you.

In an interview with Larry King, that very subject came up. When a caller asked the panel (which included the lawyer who represented the Goldmans in the civil trial and an LAPD detective who are both so important that I can’t remember their names, Gloria Allred, Chris Darden, and Rosie Greer) why Judy shouldn’t make money off a book about O.J., by the actual person himself, but they can (with the exception of Rosie Greer, who was there to lend some Samminess to their watchpuppy fanaticism), they only being peripheral to the case and not actually O.J. himself, their excuses ranged from he’s a murderer—even though found innocent in a court of law—and so they have the right to write about it to get their “truth” to as many God-fearing Americans who have $26 to spare as possible—to Chris Darden’s spectacularly ridiculous comment indicating that he deserved it to make up for going to law school and working hard all his life. So, do readers have to somehow compensate all lawyers who failed spectacularly to get a conviction in a supposedly “open and shut” case? Hmmm? I don’t know how they didn’t manage to get Marcia Cross on the panel—maybe she’s too busy with her TV show that resulted from the trial.

And speaking of rationalizing our behavior, Judy, again, wins the award for her statements defending publishing the book. Why couldn’t she have just said, “I want to make money off of celebrities” like I figured she would? Instead, she asserts she did it to vindicate both families and let people know the truth. Pssst, um, Ju-Ju Bear, even a 4th grader can see through that bullshit. In addition, she noted that Hitler’s Mein Kampf is still in print, with publishers making dough off of it, and this is true. But those publishers didn’t call up Hitler and pay him lots of money while he was alive and do an interview with him, although I am sure they would do so today in a heartbeat.

The most moronic thing about the interview is that the lawyer guy who represents Nicole Brown Simpson’s estate and therefore helped the families sue in a civil trial did so supposedly in the interest of the children, who have been living with their father until they went off to school somewhere. So all this was done to get money for O.J. and Nicole’s children, who O.J. has been supporting and giving money to all along. Methinks me smells some rat shit.

Look, I don’t know if the guy offed anyone, and I don’t really care. Oh, well as much as I care about anybody tried for killing his wife and her friend—there are cases like this all over the US every day. But people only cared about the Simpson trial because it had that celebrity angle, being televised on a nauseatingly regular basis, and it offered opportunities for total nobodies—wannabes in the making—to become celebrities. It’s the same reason people go on stupid reality TV shows and eat bug shit. On a side note, I have yet to see a reality TV show where a handsome literary agent has to, in order to win a Porsche, bang a beautiful woman on a keyboard. How is that fair?

The point of this rant is that Ju-Ju, one of the most famous of the group of publishing “gurus” who wouldn’t know an actual book if it bit her on her pretty little ass, is the ultimate wannabe, feeding off the notoriety of others and truly believing that she somehow deserves it. We in publishing all knew this, so no one here is surprised. We just let these types do whatever it is they do and then work deals to our clients’ advantage. Hell yeah, we do. Why not? It’s like taking candy from a baby, and fine-looking baby at that. Their books are like mental blowjobs, and their effects last about as long, leaving the reader wanting more and being willing to pay for it over and over again. You’re better off to buy the solar battery-powered Jolie-Lips 2000 for $49.95 from Sex Toys, Inc.

The bottom line is this is what publishing has become, plain and simple. It’s about money, not literary quality, and it’s certainly not the world the solicitous know-it-alls perpetuate. As I have mentioned before, I know how to work within that world to get good stuff past the morons, the parasites, the dipshits, the corporate flunkies, the senior editor's mistress, the mailroom snot- turned- marketing genius, and, yes, even lovely celebrity-obsessed wannabes. Good agents understand this. Or should I say that real publishing industry professionals understand this?

But you would know that, if you knew Judy like I know Judy.

Oh, what a gal!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

I am tired.

Very tired.

I am a publishing industry professional who has put a lot of time and effort into doing my job well enough that I can take pride in my work. And yet, as I look around the internet, I can’t help but wonder if I am completely crazy or what. Other so-called industry professionals are blogging their little hearts out, providing information to wannabes as if it is going to get them somewhere besides Looneyville. I just sit here and wonder if I am delusional. I look around. There’s the contract on my desk from a major, so that’s real. Or did I print it out on my computer? What are those scribbles on it—signatures? Am I hallucinating? Maybe. But the call I got from the Oscar-winning director’s assistant yesterday--that seemed so real! The option offer seemed a little too high--could I have been drunk? Maybe I’m in a coma somewhere and don’t know it. The things I read on the internet just don’t add up, so it must be me. Have I finally lost what little mind I had left before the wannabes started sucking on my brain?

FUCK NO! YOU OTHER PEOPLE ARE LIARS!

There, I’m back again. I’ll be goddamned if some moronic warm and fuzzy solicitous twits will pretend to be in MY industry and get by with it. Who do you people think you are? The reason writers bitch and moan that they can’t get any answers is that they don’t get any answers. Here’s an experiment, my dear little wannabes: Think of any question you have about publishing. Any question at all. Got one in your wittle bitty head? Good. Now Step Two—and don’t worry, there are only two steps so you don’t get confused. Say the question aloud, then read the statement below. Aloud, of course.

For example, you might ask yourself why the agent you submitted to rejected your work. And the answer is…

You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

This is a stock answer that applies to almost all publishing situations. It is one of the only statements you will hear in publishing that makes any sense at all because it is true. Here’s another example:

I am new to publishing, where should I begin my quest for publication?

Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

And here are more examples:

That agent is an asshole and doesn’t know what he is doing.
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

Miss Snark is so informative!
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

Watchdog groups love me and want to help me get published.
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

Editors are mean and like to turn people down after leading them on for months at a time.
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

I’ve written the great American novel and I will be famous.
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

You are a mean, horrible agent for discouraging me!
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

Should I use Courier or Times New Roman font when submitting?
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

What’s wrong with being a wannabe? Everyone has to start somewhere!
Answer: You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

Now, there is irony floating around here. I know that the wannabes who read this will immediately rally and take up arms and say that just because they are new doesn’t mean they aren’t talented and that the industry should take a chance on them and that everyone has to start somewhere and if we would only give them a chance…

But, hmmm, how can that be? If an agent is new to the industry, everyone lands on him or her for being too new and inexperienced. He/she is told how to do his job by people who don’t have the foggiest idea about being an agent or any kind of publishing professional (and, no, being a writer doesn’t make you a publishing professional; it makes you the labor force). You all say the same thing: We new writers don’t want a new agent. We want someone experienced who has the best contacts and can get us the best deal to make us rich and famous and get us on the talk shows. And you are al worth it, too, aren't you? And all the loudmouth literary talking heads nod and agree and, even though they qualify their statements with a comment about working hard and learning to be professional, they poo-poo any agent except ones like me—the big boys—who are not going to give your work a second look. Why should we? What have you ever done to prove that you deserve a shot at the big time? I’ve lurked on the boards. I’ve seen some of the awful, cruel things people say about agents when they think no one is looking. I’m looking. And my first thought is that if you don’t want a new agent, why do you think an experienced agent would want a new writer? Isn’t that a double standard? What? I am supposed to use my experience for the lousy 15% of shit you can draw in? Newbies don’t rate high pay, baby. They rate dick is what they rate. Maybe you think your book is the most outstanding piece of literature since the form was created, but considering that half the population won't agree with you on principle, how is a publishing house supposed to invest in your crap with any hope of return?

So two shay and go fuck yourselves.

This is just one example of the thousands of frustrations and the stupid ideas that are reinforced by the glop out there written by wannabes who think they are at my level. I wish the fucking internet would explode and then maybe there wouldn’t be any wannabes or watchdogs or fucking blogging agents. God, I hate them. For those of you who are shaking all over, so happy that you think you have caught me in a mistake (as if), I am not a blogging agent. I am an agent who has a blog. I do not write every fucking day, every fucking hour. I spend most of my time selling books and porking my “girlfriends” (okay, fiancés, wives, other people’s wives--whatever). I vent and I rant, but I don’t blog and I don’t solicit or kiss ass. I don’t offer any advice, either, but I do tell you the truth. And that is (can you guess?)…

You are a wannabe and know nothing about the industry and you shouldn’t be in it.

Tooshay.