Monday, January 19, 2009


Daily Stats:
Words: oy
Caffeine: yes
Evil Calories: none that I will admit to
Reality TV: bad things on VH1

My writery friend Tamara sent me this - it's an interview Poets & Writers did with four young literary agents. It's very interesting...lots of insight. Plus, they seem to get a little tipsy as the interview goes on. But, in reading it, I kind of wanted to close my computer, throw it in the garbage and curl into a little ball on the laundry room floor. Specifically when they talk about their ideal client. A gifted writer who is really well connected. One even jokes that their ideal is
"the author who's so well connected that he's sleeping with a producer at ABC News...".

Ummm...yeah, okay, let's see...I know the staff at the Starbucks down the street, the guy that collects the shopping carts at my grocery store, a couple handfuls of people I used to work with in advertising, and many, many, many years back, I worked at a coffee cart in downtown Seattle and, on occasion, made drinks for a few key members of Pearl Jam. They knew me as "coffee lady". That, my friends, is my dizzying array of connections.

I know authors handle most of their own marketing and PR, often on their own dime. If I were being published, I would do everything to self-promote, just short of sinking myself into heaps of debt (little mounds of debt are okay, but not heaps. Heaps are scary). But it seems that having connections is just as important as having talent. And, to take it one step further, would an agent actually decide against rep'ing a writer who was talented but had little to no connections?


Elise Murphy said...

In my happy little world, I say an agent would take a talented writer on no matter what! And, um, let me just add, I don't even know the Starbucks folks too well, and I have pretty much, um, no connections with anyone anywhere. An agent, who is connected, should make those introductions for you. Come on, off the floor, now. It's going to be okay.

Big Plain V said...

That's bull pucky. These agent's are saying they only want to represent writers who'll take very little effort to promote.

That's like me saying I hope only healthy people come in for surgery. (Cuz it'd sure make my job easier.)

Amy Ellis said...

This is complete bollocks! If they're agents, they need to DO THEIR JOB and not wait for an author to show up to do it for them.

Plus, this is what happens when the publishing industry has gotten so invested in putting out so many cheap trade books instead of risking their necks on the good stuff.

Boo hiss, I say.

Eileen said...

Meh- I didn't know anybody. I think having connections is much more important if you are wanting to write non-fiction where a platform makes a huge difference. Otherwise I think it helps if you are willing to put yourself out there as needed.

Besides you know all of us. Never underestimate the power of the blog.

Elizabeth said...

"I kind of wanted to close my computer, throw it in the garbage and curl into a little ball on the laundry room floor."

room for two there?
we could spoon.

ok that made me laugh ( a little).

Tracey said...

Wow the mood around blogland is bleak these days ... Ok, I'm no where near having an agent, so my opinion is worthless, but it sounds to me like these "young agents" just want the credit for repping a sure thing, who might even get their face all over the network talk shows, without having to do any of the work themselves. Young and egotistical who think it should just be handed to them (kind of like the nauseating little boys on "Million Dollar Property Listing.")

Bryan B. said...

I read this too. I actually enjoyed it. Of course, if you say "ideal" - you're generally not talking about reality. And that's how I took their comments.

What I did take from that interview is you need to have your crap together, remember it's a business, and have your novel be the best it can be before you send it out.