Agents are sooooo busy....crap

Well, Miss Snark is getting a bit more attention than she bargained for
and some of it isn't NICE!!!
Miss Snark is genteely horrified of course.

Well, fuck'em.

My faves are along the lines of
"you're an agent and you have time to
1. do this;
2. read;
3. blog;
4. sleep??"

Implicit in that is of course the idea that agents are
busy busy busy.

Miss Snark realizes this is propaganda perpetuated by
agents themselves.
Anywhere you look (or at least anywhere the Snarkettes have looked)
is some form of "agents are busy people, don't bother them,
don't waste their time".

Well, here's the news.
Agents are no busier than say..waitresses.
Auto mechanics. Reporters.
Doctors. Mothers of small infants.

Sure we're busy.
But yanno, it's not like we're saving lives here.
Or feeding helpless infants.
Or fixing Fords.
Or slapping down grits 'n eggs and a cuppa joe.

The idea that agents are too busy to be bothered is crap.
We're never too busy to sign a contract, negotiate a deal
or return a phone call from Disney. Trust me. NEVER.

"Agents are busy people"
is code for
"don't expect a publishing tutorial".

"Agents are busy people" means we don't WANT to spend time
talking to you about things you should already know.

It's like asking your college math teacher to help you
with long division. If you don't know long division by the time
you get to college, you need a different kind of help.

If you don't know about publishing by the time you get to me,
you need to get to work and learn the basics.
There's no shortage of people to tell you about it,
websites to look at and books to buy.

Ya we're busy. But we're busy doing the stuff we WANT to do.
Like read.
Like blog.
Like dream up ways to disguise well written literary fiction as "relentlessly commercial".
And new words for memoir.

And of course, you can have an indepth, at length,
no holds barred publishing tutorial starting NOW
if you are George Clooney. Or Denzel


Ellen Fisher said...

I've always gotten the impression that editors and agents are insanely busy and rarely have a moment to breathe, let alone have lives. As the mother of a small infant, I'm intrigued by the notion that maybe, just maybe, they're not that much busier than I am. Thanks for the perspective:-).

Anonymous said...

You're so mean...

I think I love you.

*falls at Miss Snark's feet in adoration*

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. My own agent (bless their soul) alternates between breathless emails about how much work they've had to get done before they could give due consideration to my revisions, and emails about leaving town, state, country (planet?) on vacation. As for myself, I alternate between nodding sympathetically (it must suck to be the newest guy at a big agency) and rolling my eyes (is there ever a time of year when brandname agents and editors are NOT taking weeks-long vacations?). I know most writers these days obtain and work with agents via email and telephone, and this is probably for the best. If I lived in Manhattan and had to SEE my agent being only as busy as the rest of us, I'd quickly lose the remaining shreds of grateful awe I have for them. Heh.

chryscat said...

I'm pondering the fact you really must have the slush pile from hell.

Busy is relative, admittedly. And priorities? Yeah. We all have them.
Walk us through a day. Names and places changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent. I'm curious. If you have the time.

Miss Snark said...

egads! The idea of writing down what I do for a week and then posting it.

Miss Snark trembles in her high heels. Thankfully those Choos come with ankle straps.

Miss Snark retires to her fainting couch with a cool cloth and stiff gin.

Miss Snark kinda likes the idea.

More on this...next week.

Brenda Bradshaw said...

I visit another agent's blog and she doesn't get comments like this. Here's my theory: Since you don't use your professional name here, people make potshots (which is insanely stupid, since you're obviously someone REAL and will certainly remember THEIR name, and God help 'em if they ever query you...oh karma...love it.) So, people make stupid little comments because you're a bit "faceless". They take their potshots because they have nothing intelligent to intelligent to say. I can only imagine how grating that must be.

We all need an escape - our careers shouldn't be our LIVES, thankyouverymuch. I write, I blog, I read blogs, I write some more, and I manage to mother four kids along the way. Oh wait - I'm not supposed to have an outlet that I happen to love? Oh, *I* can, but an agent can't? Please. Looks like some need to simply shut their pieholes and realize they have zero talents and should be bitching at their parents for the crappy genes they inherited instead of lashing at an agent.

Have I mentioned I have zero tolerance for ignorant people? Ugh.

Way off topic: Going to Reno? (grin)

Anonymous said...

Um, I posted the second anonymous comment above, and I just wanted to make sure the sentiment of that post wasn't miscontrued to fit the purpose of someone else's uninformed tirade. I totally understand that agents need and deserve breaks from their jobs, and from talking with mine it sounds like he takes his work home with him six evenings out of seven. If that's not committment to arts and culture, I don't know what is!

I was only commenting on Miss Snark's original post, which seems to imply that many agents use the code "I've been too busy/ am too busy/ was too busy" to indicate one of several things- not necessarily how preoccupied they've been.

Potshots?? It's called "snark" for a reason. And karma or not, it puts a big smile on my face...

Brenda Bradshaw said...

No, not you! I was talking about the ones that send her whiny emails.

Anonymous said...

Oh, okay. Cool. Heh.