NOTES FROM ONE CRAZY LIFE OF JUGGLING WHACKADOO FAMILY STUFF WHILE WRITING, EDITING, CRAFTING, WRITING POETRY, DABBLING IN ART, AND REVISING. OH, AND PUBLISHING ROSE & THORN JOURNAL. FOOLISHNESS AND MAYHEM IS SURE TO ENSUE.
WE'LL SHARE SOME LAUGHS AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT, THEN DISH UP SOMETHING YUMMY FROM THE KITCHEN.
LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULLER!
GUMBO WRITER (ANGIE LEDBETTER)
Back story: I was having coffee and yapping with a dear writer friend recently about the "joys" of manuscript revisions, the process of finding an agent and the whole path to publishing thing. After that conversation, all I can think is although we are alike in many ways, we definitely are not of one mind on the subject of literary agents.
Here's the actual convo (as well as I can recall it):
Her: "I'm just tired of the whole agent thing. From what I can see, and what other people tell me, agents are all about the money."
Me: "I don't know who you're talking to, unless it's some disgruntled writer who doesn't know *hit from shinola."
"The whole industry is just sucky now, and the bottom line is always the almighty dollar, Angie. If you can't practically guarantee you can sell a bazillion copies of your book, you'll never get a top tier agent. All they see is dollar signs...not the actual writer or potential of the manuscript."
"I do agree publishing is like any other business and no business I know of intentionally sets out to take wild or bad risks that'll put them in the red, but I do not believe every agent is blinded by dollar signs in their eyeballs to the point they can't/won't recognize good literature and whatever ingredients make up a good book!"
"You're just naive, then, or you're not wanting to see. Don't you read industry publications, writers' blogs and those agent-outing sites?"
"Yeah, I read a lot, but I'm not gonna steep myself in negativity, and I don't discount that what you're taking for gospel is a lot of sour grapes from writers who've been turned down."
"Hmph. Believe what you wanna, Pollyanna. I'm just telling you, agents aren't human like me and you. It's like idealistic politicians who go off to Washington. After a while, they forget why they ran for office to begin with and start grabbing for the star status and benes."
"Dayum, girl, that's cynical. And you've just lumped every agent into a nasty heap. Want some more coffee...or have you had too much today already?"
"Yeah, fill 'er up. And, no, I'm not a cynic; I'm a realist. I'll put it like this -- I''ll bet you a Cajun surf 'n turf [Rib eye with crawfish topping] that there's not a single nice, "real" credentialed agent left. One who really cares about his/her authors and doesn't just see a manuscript as a money-making 'product.'"
"Now, girlllll, how in the hairy hell am I supposed to prove that to you? Your 'facts' are stoo-pid anyway because there are literally tons of books that don't end up making back an agent's percentage. And I've met really nice agents at conferences, have dined and had drinks with them and I promise you, they are real. I can give you tons of agent blog links so you can see for yourself they've got hearts..."
"Nah, anybody can have a blog persona. Don't mean squat. Just more trolling for money making possibilities."
"Okay, what would work for you? And, by the way, you do realize that this negative mindset of yours may be a self-protection method you employ because you really don't have faith in the merit of your manuscript. Right?" *laugh*
"Say what ya want, wise a$$, but I know I'm right. How's this?...you get one agent to make a comment on your little blog and I'll reconsider my opinions as to agents' humanity. How's that?"
"Like big agents have time to come check out Gumbo Writer's little corner of the Blogosphere and open themselves up to nuts like you by commenting? Would you do that if you were an agent, Ms. KnowItAll?"
"Sure would. Now, all's I'm saying is two more things on this subject: surf 'n turf.......and........double dawg dare ya! Ha!"
Here I am this morning, swilling my coffee and fuming over that frustrating chat. Not because I think she's right (I don't!), but because I have no way to prove to her that her head's up...a tree. Besides the matter of who's right and who's wrong, I have never once in my life backed away from a "double dog."
So, writerly pals, is my friend right and I'm the crazy delusional one? Please help a sistuh out by leaving a comment, or recap of your own experience with agent(s) and/or by voting in the poll. I'll leave it up until next Wednesday.
Oh, and if your sister-in-law or first grade teacher or manicurist's uncle happens to be an agent...could ya beg 'em to stop by and leave a comment. "ANGIE'S RIGHT! I HAVE A HEART! SIGNED, Lit Agent" or something will do just fine. LOL
I mean..............double dawg + surf 'n turf.......I gotta go for it!
PS. If you missed the contest winners' work with professional edits Monday because you were out celebrating Memorial Day, hop back to the post and feast your eyes. :)