Friday, July 15, 2005

The inside scoop

Here's a blog I'll be reading on a regular basis. It's called Agent 007, authored anonymously by a literary agent who worked many years "on the other side," i.e., as an editor.

In Agent 007's first posts, the blogger describes The Secret Lives of Editors, including a rejection letter "decoder":
The proposal is solid.” = I was completely bored.

“I don’t see this breaking out of the pack.” = The author is a complete unknown, so no matter how great the book is, we can sell more copies of Carrot Top’s next book. [Note to Self: Call Carrot Top’s manager.]

“Not right for my list at this time.” = I don’t have time to read this because a) I am about to go on vacation, b) I just got back from vacation, c) I just acquired three books and can’t take yet another agent yelling at me about a contract and signing payment, d) I had bad sushi for lunch.
and a description of the pain an agent feels after an editor's rejection:
From an editor's or publisher's viewpoint, being a successful agent has little to do with talent, and everything to do with having good taste. To an agent, a rejection is akin to someone saying, “You have no taste.” It’s like showing up for the prom thinking you’ve got the perfect dress only to have everyone cringe and say, “What were you thinking?”
It's a job I could never do, and I am ecstatically grateful to my own agent for fighting the battles I'm far too wimpy to wage.


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