A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

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.

11 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home