Monday 26 September 2011

Do literary agents have to be so rude?

A series of children’s books finished, 2 months of editing completed, the time has come to submit a few manuscripts to an agent or two. I picked up one from the Writers & Artists Yearbook whom seemed ideal for the novel I was wishing to get published. They had a good list of authors and plenty of experience. I studied their website and looked at a lot of their published work.
Please phone before you submit any work, so we can discuss it, said her website. Best time between 9-10am or late afternoon.
I phoned at 9.30, Monday morning. Deep breath....ring, ring...
A disinterested voice answered.
Author: Can I speak to ***?
Agent: Speaking!
Author: Your website says you are looking for authors from a certain area, I live in that area and have written a few good stories.
Agent: What is your book about?
Author: It’s a series about animals….
Agent: (interrupting) There is a downturn in the global is hard to sell this kind of story.  And don’t bother to send it to us if you have sent it to lots of other agents. Everyone does that, sends it to London agents first and when they get rejected they send it to us. We have a huge pile.
Author: It would fit in with your series of books about ab-xyz.
Agent: We can’t sell them in UK, only Scandinavia.
Author: What? Well how about this boy’s adventure story, it is set in a town near you, in your required area.
Agent: I am not sure, you would need to ask my daughter.
Author: Oh, is she there?
Agent: No.
Author: Oh, well the book is about a boy growing up in World War 2 and is getting great reviews.
Agent: We don’t want anything old, we are a modern agency..
Author: (shocked) Pardon?
Agent: Can I give you some advice, never phone agents before 10am, we work long hours and don’t get to work before ten.
Author (shocked again): That is the time it says on your website….?  
Agent: And don’t bother phoning this week as we (the poor agents) are off to Frankfurt book fair, everyone will be.
Author: Can I email you a submission of this book or not.
Agent: Well, you may have to wait 4 months for a reply…but don’t send it if you have sent it to any other agents…
Author: I don’t think I want someone as rude as you as an agent thank you…

I have to pose a question. Why is the publishing industry in trouble?

1 comment:

  1. Yes indeed. I have just waited 4 months for a reply from two agencies who both wanted to read the full manuscript of a novel when I sent them the first chapters. I sent a brief, polite email saying I'd be grateful to hear either way: no response. How rude is that?

    I found your blog when I googled 'rude literary agents'.

    Good luck with your work!