Agents, how many times this week have you written these words, “Sorry, I just didn’t fall in love with it” ? How many blog posts have you titled Five Things That Make Me Fall in Love with a Manuscript. Or, Sex Moves Your Lit Agent Can’t Resist?
What is this, Cosmo magazine? Literary eharmony? You ask for a partial, then a full, OK, now we’re intimate, then you dump me. Why? Because you’re not in love?
Oh, pu-lease! You all say you want to “fall in love” with a manuscript. But what you really want is to sign the next blockbuster. Sure, I get it. And I want Maxwell Perkins OK?
Look, can we be honest? Why are we talking “love” when everybody knows the writer is the prostitute, the agent is the pimp, and the publisher is the desperate, dumpy guy on vacation looking to get laid? Or maybe that’s the reader… Anyway, if you want to “fall in love” so bad, why don’t you write your own Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller?
These days, writers have a choice. Independent publishing is growing and traditional publishing is struggling, let’s face it. Me, I’m looking for life-long commitment, which is a funny thing for a hooker, ain’t it? Back in the day, you didn’t need a middle man, you sent your manuscript directly to the acquisitions editor. Where are the nurturers and the mentors, the wise editors who stood by their green but promising writers through the awkward mid-list years? These days it’s all bottom line and bean counters. And agents, hungry for love.
Here’s a little of my history — pretend to be interested. After a short-lived, three way affair with my ex agent and my second editor (unnamed but from one of the giant New York based publishing houses) I fell lower and lower, hanging out at the dive bars, flinging myself at a series of horny, failed agents, resulting in sordid, one night stands. The next day they’d text me, “Sorry babe, there just wasn’t any magic.”
Finally a portly gentleman editor from a legitimate small press did fall in madly in love with my manuscript. He wanted to publish a series! Oh, it was happily ever after I thought, but then he up and died. Yes, died! Alas, I was a literary widow, single again.
Agents, you don’t fool me. You’re all gold-diggers. You talk about love but what you really want is money. And where’s the ring, huh? Oh, you’ll never commit. It’s a book-by-book world we live in.
You say you wanna fall in love with my manuscript? Here’s some unsolicited advice:
1. You never call. You could at least text once in a while.
2. Little terms of endearment are appreciated, as are flowers, chocolate, and a bottle of Moet Chandon when you close the deal.
3. Be professional. Never insult me with snarky tweets making fun of the stupid query letters you received today. It’s your JOB to read query letters.
4. Always remember that writers create the product. Which is a book. Without us, you’re back at your former lame-ass job, whatever that was.
5. Can you appreciate a little satire? If not, I’m afraid I just can’t fall in love with you. That’s OK. Like Mama always said, there’s plenty more fish in the sea.