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Finding an Agent: A Case Study

A writer (one TK Camas, aka Lady Polarity, sometimes featured on this site) once sought an “agent” when the following interaction occurred:

Part I

On top: TK reaches out to an “agent” referred to her by a friend
Under: the “agent” responds positively 4 mins later
TK replies to confirm receipt of information.

Then the waiting game is played.

Part II

Waiting. The website for the literary agency advises about 1-3 months in order for an “agent” to determine if a writer will be signed on. Is about 1 month enough time to wait? Who’s to say…

Then, after 26 days, TK decides to reach out again.

TK sends out additional writing as well as supplementary writing to some pieces she previously sent to show progress as well as new production.

She sends the following message:

Waiting in the void, what else is a writer to do?

The “agent” responds 11 minutes later.

Hmmm. Is this the response of an intelligent helper with all their affairs in order?

TK, probably rightly upset by now, but understanding how “critical” it is to make a strong, intelligent impression on an “agent”, responds thusly:

Is this an appropriate reaction?
Should TK have been more passive and accepting of the “agent’s” ineptitude?

The “agent”, thinking very long and very hard, came to the following well-though-out conclusion after 5 minutes of worthwhile consideration:

…for a healthy dose of “personal touch”.

For the record, this “agent” reportedly searched through her sprawling database to find the data that had been surreptitiously hidden about TK and her official query (that’s why the agent hadn’t read it yet, right?), then proceeded to study the application and read, from what these emails suggest, somewhere between 2,000-5,000 words, then thoughtfully considered whether or not TK was a sufficiently skilled and worthwhile time investment to produce and fund her entire career.

TK responded thusly:

Did TK go to far?
Or did the “agent” just shit on the wrong writer?
What happens if one pisses off TOO MANY writers…?

Did the “agent” respond? What do you think?

(sidenote: Of course the “agent” didn’t fucking respond. Would you, if you just got caught in such a ridiculous display of unprofessionalism?)


The moral of the story: “Agents”, who are not actually intellectual producers themselves, somehow have the superhuman capability to read 5,000+ words/minute and make profound judgments about the substance and value of complex literary ideas and thinkers with almost split-second, infallible snap decisions.


Part III

What is a writer to do when confronted with this un-winnable idiot-bottleneck into the major publishing industry?

Well, why don’t you go write about it…




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