A Snarkling who is lollygagging about the internet discovers:
I'd like to get your snarky opinion on the newest writer showcase Web site, Bookner
I ankled over to give the site a look. My first question when anyone sets up something like this, is how they intend to make, or at least not lose, money. Blogger is free, and the amount of bandwidth is minimal for each blog, but a site like that with archives of text and lots of traffic is going to get spendy. I am VERY suspicious of altruism as a business model. I notice he says access is free "now" for literary agents which implies it might not always be that way. I guarantee I will never ever pay money to surf a site with writers' work on it. I don't need to. I’ve got manuscripts coming out my ears as it is.
Which brings me to reading his cris de couer:
RESURRECTING THE WRITER
So you'd expect literary agents to be hungry for new manuscripts, right? You'd expect them to sit at their desks, drumming their fingers in anticipation of the mail carrier's arrival.(blah blah in the same vein).
Of course, this is not the way things are. Literary agents are not keen on writers sending them manuscripts. In fact, literary agents do their utmost to dissuade writers from sending them manuscripts. They actually make writers ask for permission to send them stuff! And even then, many will not accept a whole manuscript - perhaps just the first three chapters. Most literary agents, when they go to bed at night, dream of strangling the mail carrier who keeps delivering unsolicited manuscripts.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is strange. This is like a record company asking musicians to, please, not send them any demo tapes. And it is like judging a musician's ability by listening only to the first 60 seconds of a song. If literary agents were A+R executives, they'd definitely be out of a job.
Ok Mr. Bookner, you're wrong. So wrong it's actually laugh out loud funny cause that's EXACTLY how A&R guys listen to music!
I'm not sure what planet this well intentioned but severely misinformed guy is on but I've been IN music meetings, and been to Film Music Group panel presentations and listened to music supervisors talk about how they pick music.
In addition, I also sell music books and work with composers and musicians. You're lucky to get 60 seconds of attention.
What this guy is missing is what I've been talking about with this blog. It's not hard to get the attention of a literary agent, or an A&R guy if you've got the goods. MOSTLY the stuff that gets rejected is crap. Agents and A&R guys can look at ten pages, or 60 seconds and know if they want to hear more.
Where Mr. Bookner here is going astray is in thinking that agents give EVERYONE only sixty seconds or ten pages. That's not the case. IF you've got the goods, IF your work is good, A&R guys listen further and agents read more, or ask for more. It's akin to making the second round of the playoffs. If you don't make the second round, it's not cause they didn't have enough arena space or time, it's cause you didn't win the first round.
The literary agent system of gate keeping to publishing isn't broken. Good writers get published all the time. NEW writers get published all the time. The people who are in dire straits right now are the folks with two or three or more books under their belt who haven't sold in big enough numbers to keep a publisher offering contracts.
Agents and editors are actively looking for good work. If you write well, you'll get attention. The problem is people don't know if they're writing publishable stuff. Sending material in for other, unpublished, writers to judge is akin to the blind leading the blind.
Think about it. How many of you sent in postings when we did the Crapometer here and thought you'd written something pretty good and then had me rip it to shreds in a whirlwind of brutality? And...something can be a perfectly fine piece of writing and not be publishable.
I think this guy is one of those well intentioned folks who knows a little bit about a big industry and less about a bigger industry.
The only positive thing is he's not trying to charge you any money. That gets him out of the scum bucket and into the "just trying to be helpful" nitwit zone.
I've always reserved the most scorn for scum buckets trying to separate you from your money, but it occurs to me that this guy is separating you from an even more precious commodity: your time. If you post your work, I think you end up obliged to read other people's manuscripts and critique them. For a writer, time is almost more precious than money. I think you'd want to give careful consideration to where you spend it.
If you want to post stuff here, have at it.
I think it's a total waste of time.