I just wanted to write this quick entry to say that I will be actively adding onto this blog again. It has been a few weeks since I last posted something. In one of those blog entries, I talk about how a not-so-nice editor made me feel pretty shitty. I thought I would easily dust my shoulders off and see his statements as words from a man who just hasn’t had any ass in awhile, all the while writing and creating masterpieces to shove into his face. Unfortunately, his words affected me more than I realized, and I haven’t felt good about writing for a bit. I am trying to get over that…I have been submitting pieces to websites and trying to get writing gigs here and there so I can practice my writing, and I have also written a children’s story for my nephew about the beautiful birds of Australia. In my heart of hearts, I really know that this is what I want, and I can’t let any bitter editor deter me. So, I will be adding more information to this blog, including the various stepping stones I have gone through and will be going through, both positive and negative. But that will be for tomorrow…I am tired from a combination of jetlag and too many nights of pretending I am 21 again. Until soon…
So, back to this supposed literary agency that wants to represent me. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? A little over a week ago, I googled (yes, I used it as a verb…that is what writers are allowed to do, make up words, turn personal nouns into verbs, and since I fancy myself a writer now, I will do so if I please J) “literary agents in New York.” I had only sent my manuscript for my book about the trials (pun is so totally intended…mainly because I’m not that funny, and when I have an opportunity to be, no matter how silly and lame, and I take it) and tribulations of law school to one literary agency, an agency a former law professor had told me about. He had taught a woman, I believe, and now she was a literary agency. But beyond that, I haven’t sent my stuff to other agents. I have sent it to a few publishing companies, but I wasn’t having luck with that, and after doing more research and speaking with people in the industry, I figured that my stuff just isn’t ready to send out yet. So, when I googled “literary agency in New York,” I actually wasn’t trying to find an agency to send my books to. I was trying to find a place I could get a job as an admin assistant or something similar. It has popped into my head that I should work at a place where I would be surrounded by writing constantly, and in the meantime, get a better understanding of the process of a writer/agent relationship. It has crossed my mind that if this whole writing thing doesn’t work, I will probably delve into the world of representation. I have that whole legal background, that I don’t remember a damn thing I learned. Still, being a literary agent, a personal agent, any kind of agent for someone has struck me as kind of cool. But that would be Plan C or Plan D (I don’t know how many plans I have, but I seem to have quite a few…oh, to be young, double degreed, and fucking confused). OK, getting to the point…the following website popped up: http://www.newyorkliteraryagency.com/. I perused the page, thought it looked fine, then actually saw a link that talked about submissions. I clicked on that, found that the process for submitting a blurb about my work to them would be easy, and so I did it. The end. A few days later, I get this long ass email from the “Acquisitions Director” saying they are interested and want to see more of my work. Woo hoo! So, my dumbass sends them a chapter or two, and a few days ago, they say they want to represent me. Yeah, something just didn’t feel right, especially when I got to the part where they were like “In order for this relationship to begin, you need to get your work critique, and it will cost $70-$90…oh, you don’t have anyone you know who can do that? Wow, we just happen to have people we can refer you to!” I have never heard of this critique thing before, and it really may be part of the industry and getting your book published. But it just felt wrong. I mean, if an agent wants to represent you, don’t they help you out with that for free?
So, with all these bad feelings I was getting, I turned to my trusty friend and sometimes verb, Google. Here is where I will show my dumbness. Please don’t hold it against me. I think I was craving some positive feedback, I really didn’t care from where at that point. So, when it came from this agency, I jumped at it. Now, if you go to this website, you will find the similar information of NY Agency, but under a different name: http://www.wlwritersagency.com/. Now try this website…what do you get? Different name, similar content: http://writersbookpublishingagency.com/.
I’m sure you get my point. I would bet they have a few other websites under different names. Well, what is the harm in this, you may ask? There may be an umbrella agency and they have different agencies underneath, right? Yeah, well, I thought that too, but I could never find one agency and a name of all the agencies that was under it. Each website, though they look legit, never actually gives you concrete information. There is no telephone number…um sketch. They never give an address of where they are located. Sketchier. They give one name, Sherry Fine. I delved deeper, using one of the many names of this agency, and came up with this website: http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/twentyworst.html. The website says to beware of agencies that do the following:
2. Paid editing or publishing referrals–including placing clients with vanity publishers, promoting their own paid editing services to clients (a conflict of interest), sending clients/potential clients to an outside editing service that pays kickbacks for referrals. Several of these agencies are no more than fronts for editing services.
And oh, nifty little site gives a list of agencies to beware of? Which one is on there? Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will see Writers Literary Agency along with ten other names it goes by.
So yeah…not feeling this agency at all. Sucks, because the only agency that seemed to show any interest in my work seems to be super sketch. I am not saying they aren’t legit. But the facts are 1) They can’t decide on who the hell they are…this umbrella concept, they aren’t using it at all…they are just being schizo; 2) You can’t contact them…even when they said that they will represent me, they sent me a damn form email…really? Am I that important to you? 3) Where are they located? This is how they explain that issue:
We maintain executive suites in New York and we work with partners in Los Angeles for our screenplay and book-to-film division. We are mainly virtual and work from home to keep our costs down. Our team is in CA, CT, FL, and many other states (and countries too actually).
Dudes, can I get an address like any other normal company? Oh, I can’t? Is that because you guys may not have any legit offices? Is that possibility? 4) Who do they represent? Oh, they don’t tell us because they are protecting their identities, like they are fucking superheroes; 5) Just go to this site and see what some other people have said about it…this Sherry Fine chic sounds like she is some alter ego for some dude named Robert Fletcher. Weird. http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008839.html
Too many warning signs. So if you come across WL Writers Agency or Writers Book Publishing Agency or Christian Literary Agency (really? That just feels so wrong) or New York Literary Agency, or hell, I could go on, just be wary.
I am writing this because this week has been a shitty week in my writing world. I guess one might compare it to a really bad bout of morning sickness during pregnancy. I will try to use this analogy, even though I have never been pregnant. It just seems, at this moment in time, fitting.
A little less than a year ago, I decided to start writing about my horrible time at law school. Please take a moment to read the following, because it describes what happened soon after I began writing more eloquently than I can at this moment in time:
It (my book) started out as a cathartic means of dealing with my utter regret of having attended such a soul-sucking institution. However it soon evolved into more. Not only does it chronicle the life of a law school outcast, but it is an open and honest account of how difficult and outrageous law school can really be.
This excerpt is from one of my earlier attempts at a book proposal a few months ago. I got it into my head, after having written a good chunk about my time at law school, that my book should be published because others needed to know what law school was really like. Suddenly, I thought, hey, I am going to become a writer! In my delusional state, I convinced myself that this would be easy. My mom has read my book and she loves it! So, of course, that means that I’m fit to be a published author already. Of course it does. Ego is a bitch, let me tell you.
I have been told throughout my life that I was a good writer. Good writer does not equate to awesome published author, no matter how much I prayed and dreamed it would. It suddenly occurred to me that I might need to get some help, some practice, dare I say, even take some classes. If this is something I truly want to pursue, I am finally coming to realize, I will have to treat it like any other craft…practice makes perfect. I can’t just assume that because my teachers and my mom have told me that I’m a good writer that I am automatically a nifty short story teller or non-fiction novelist. Please…it took me three damn years to be schooled in the subject of law, and I have to think of writing in the same way…as a subject that I need to take time with in order to learn more about. Raw talent helps, but it just isn’t enough.
In this blog, I am hoping to keep a type of journal of the process I have been through and the things I will be going through. Hopefully, it will help out other aspiring authors. Hopefully soon, I will also be able to provide links to my own published works!
Oh, back to the pregnancy issue before I wrap up. A week ago, I had a former law school colleague read through my book. He now works at a book agency. He got back to me and told me my work was good, that it needed some work, but that it had great potential. I was flying high. The next day, a literary agent got back to me and told me they were interested in seeing more of my work. I was flying even higher. These were the signs that I had been waiting for, the moments that told me hey, you can do this!
This week, I received the following from an editor at a publishing company to which I sent a chapter of my book:
I must say to begin, that I am sure your life and experience is very interesting to you. As an editor I must honestly say that you have managed to tell your tale, if it is such at all, and not the ramblings taken directly from a day to day diary, in a manner beyond boring. The only things you have left out are your bedtimes and how long you brush your teeth.
If this is intended to be, or in your opinion is a book, may I remilnd [sic.] you that what we are talking about here is publishing and literary works.
My best advice? Try writing a text book. Or better yet, a series of essays for a law journal.
Hope this has been helpful.
OK. I added the Bitch-Ass part in. But that is what I wanted to call him.
So. Heart crushed. Can’t breath. Life sucks.
Blow number two. That literary agency that had shown interest in my work? Yeah, got an email from them this morning telling me that they wanted to represent me. Why am I not happy? Because it appears it is a bogus literary agency. I am going to write a whole post on that specific topic later on, because I feel like it is important that aspiring authors don’t get sucked into this little dreamworld agencies like this hand to you, only to have them pop it later on because they are charging you for things they shouldn’t be or don’t have one damn author published under their agency. Until I write that post, be wary of WL Writers Agency or Writer’s Book Publishing Agency or whatever the hell they are calling themselves today. They might sound official, have a fancy little website, but dig deeper, and you will see a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
So, on that note, I have felt sick this whole week. Weak and sick and upset and constantly questioning myself. Can I really become a writer, a writer that is reputable, that has works published, shit, that gets paid for writing? I am going to keep on trucking and see what happens. And while I’m at it, I invite any other aspiring authors along for the ride. Pregnancy, I have heard, can be a bitch, but I have seen my beautiful nephew Marcus come from it, and I know, in the end, something worthwhile will come from these adventures in writing, something amazing.