Best Literary Agents for FictionThe best women for fiction
Just think that one evening you have a vision where you find yourself in a huge bookshop with shelving on bookshelves, each of which is in the same simple blank envelope containing only the name of the writer, the name of the work and a brief account of the work and its novel.
One of the most important things to do is to find out which ones are good and which ones are not. Thing is, in this bookshop, the overwhelming majority ofthe accounts are poorly - banal, derived, poorly spelled, or just the kind of account you would never be reading in a million years.
They know that there are some really good ones in this shop, maybe even one or two really great ones, but from the outside they are no different from the horrible ones. Are you going to go to the first rack and look through every single one? Have a look at the description of the text and the writer on the back and then one or two of the pages that are more interesting?
That is better, but we are discussing a vast room - thousand and thousand and thousands at a time - and what can you actually see from a few heels? You' ll choose to look only at the accounts you already know - enigmas, shall we say, and literature with powerful women in it.
Nevertheless, there are many enigmas and stories with powerful women characters in this bookshop. When you recognise the name of the writer as someone who has already done something good, you should look at it. They might also be looking for other group in the product businessperson so you could ask them what advantage product they had publication lately and point sensing for those.
To several hundred of them, most of them live in New York City, this is their everyday life. You' re referred to as literature operatives, and if you're a novelist with one or more unreleased works on your harddisk, you've probably got a brief notice from several dozens of them saying that your novel'doesn't suit their agency' at the moment.
At this very instant, you ripped open the thin, self-addressed cover or you were reading the two-line back mail, you probably-hating it. It' not just this one operative, but all of our literature operatives, as a group. The rejection is painful, and it is even more painful when you go to a genuine bookshop, one with lively salesmen and lively cover pages, and you see really goddamn writers' novels defended by some of these people.
But, as much as this fury may be of course, as rewarding as it is to complain to your friend or on line about the imbecility of everyone in the world of majorstream editing, this fury is out of place. While there are good and poor operatives - the gulf between the two is enormous - operatives are only mediators who cross the rugged sea between the flocks of unreleased authors and an ever shrinking audience of fictional literature.
Frahlingen are not to be blamed if your work is not sold. Your work may not really be part of the business world, in which case you should consider self-publishing or submit your work to an independent publishers such as Ig, Two Dollar Radio or Small Beer Press. Or, your work might address a major publishers, but you haven't done the preparatory work you need to get out of the mud and onto the frahling's wheel.
Maybe your work isn't finished yet. Be that as it may, you should be careful what the frahlings try to tell you, even if they only say "No". A spy will say that she found my work too commercially viable, and then a few week later another will say that she found the story "too calm" and wish it had been more openly comercial.
If you want to know how something works, you can call me and tell me about it. One of the things about being a reporter is that if you want to know how something works, you can call me and tell me who know and they will do. At the beginning of the year I spend a full working days in the Folio Literature Management office in Midtown Manhattan on behalf of Poets & Writers Newspaper. I wanted to see for myself what Frahlingen do all the time.
Folio co-founder Scott Hoffman states in the July/August edition of Poets & Waterers that the company is receiving approximately 100,000 unasked requests per year, or approximately 200 per weeks for each of the nine Folio Agent who accepts them. Hophman hired four new authors last year, only one of whom came through the stack of snow and the unrelated quotas that made him take his work at about 1 in 11,111.
As I was sitting down with another female operative, Michelle Brower, reading her mud heap, I saw their powers through 19 interrogation notes in 14 mins, rejected 18 of them and put one aside for further reflection. Now it may seem callous to refuse 18 interrogation e-mails in 14 min, and every single case Brower sends out a denial e-mail, my mind fades a little when he sees another denial from an operative, but you have to see it from the agent's view.
Frahlings work on a commissions basis - usually an agency earns 15% of a client's income - and every minutes an agency spent working on a script that is not sold is a free one. That, I think, will help tell the wrath and anxiety that so many writers believe towards media and other publishers specialists.
When most authors show their work to someone - a doctor, a boyfriend, a spouse for example - they have a legitimate hope of receiving support or at least useful comment. A spy isn't a boyfriend. Neither is an operative a schoolteacher. The task of an asset is to find an asset whose novel is willing to be published, or so near completion that it makes commercial sense for the asset to invest the amount of money to get it prepared and link it to a contributor.
Better editors take part in conference writers, go to MFA programmes and search through literature journals for new talents, but all the remainder, bring your work to a publisable standard, build a success story that will be appealing to a publisher, create links that will get you out of the mud - that's your work.
When you send interrogation mail blind to a dozen frahlings like I did when I completed my first volume five years ago, you're busy with the same kind of magic thought that makes folks buy raffle tickets. It' s the same kind of magic. You' ll need to find brokers who are similar to you and then address your request to them to let them know why they should take you in.
A lot of contributors now have web pages that name their agent, and most frahlingurs have web pages that tell what kind of book they are looking for and what contributors they are representing. We also have data bases, such as Poets & Wilriters, which lists serious representatives and provides access to their webpages.
Publishers, like most companies, are a relational industry. Frahlingen - the good ones anyway - are clever, fast writers, but these are the kind of textbooks we are about. While it can take three or four working day to finish your work, your agent spends her time bargaining with other publishers and letting the night and weekend do the work.
You just don't have enough reading space to study all the textbooks you'd like to study, even those of authors who seem gifted. Well, operatives work with someone they know and a friend of someone they know. One can complain about how unjust this is and how it makes publication an insecure little nightclub, and to a certain extent one would be right: many very stupid novels are made public because someone knew someone.
That'?s the way the machine's made. You have to enter the world of literature. I sent about 60 enquiries to agencies and editorial staff of smaller publishers five years ago, with my first work. I' ve had an MBA, a few papers in small literature journals and not much more.
I' ve been seeing operatives myself and I' ve recounted my work. I' ve been seeing other authors who have sent me to their operatives. In the end, my textbook was actually shared by about half of the folks I sent it to, a whole series of whom were seriously thinking about taking it over. It was not refusals but long, pensive answers that tell me exactly where they had left off with interest and why.
Up until then I had always been writing for other authors - schoolmates, boyfriends, the big ones I saw myself in competition with - but this experienced teaching me to read for a readership, a clever, nosy character who just wants to tell a good one. Much more important, I had set up an archive of operatives who were interested in seeing my next work, and fellow authors who felt at ease pointing me to their heroes.
After my census I sent requests to 11 agencies and writers, nine of whom asked for the complete work. In the end, no is no, of course, and I still don't have an operative. I haven't yet wrote a script that an operative can actually put up for sale. I' m seriously considering reworking the whole thing from start to finish before sending it out again.
I' ve done the preparatory work and received the attentions of top-class women who have contributed to the launching of best-selling writers and Pulitzer Prize-winning film. You took me seriously and I learnt two things from their answers: firstly, that the script I wrote is definitely in play, and secondly, that it is not yet there.
I want my textbook to go out, and I do, I have to do better. The Rube Goldberg engine is a perverted business incentive major ing in which a large number of mostly idiot self-help leaders, dieting textbooks and aerodrome enthrillers subsidise an ever decreasing number of mostly money-losing literature fiction and volumes of poems.
However, just because publishers work according to a mad business paradigm does not mean it makes no point. There' s a small or no matter how small for good literature, and there are a small number of wise, hardworking individuals who are living for the excitement of getting a gifted writer.