9.17.2005

Power reading

Your awesome blog goes so well with my morning coffee that I find myself getting a wee bit snarky whenever I consume caffeine. You know, the whole Pavlov's dog thing. That said, I've finally gathered up my courage to present my own question.

You've previously covered the subject of how much time it takes for editors to make a decision on agented submissions. Does the book's genre have anything to with this process? Let's say the agent is highly respected in the field, but is shopping a manuscript that is a hard sell, such as a humorous collection of essays about George Clooney's pet pig. Let's also say the book is extremely funny, well-written, and the agent is in love with it. Can the hard-to-sell collection of essays get a faster and more
positive response because of the caliber of the agent?


Yes.

An editor isn't going to leave Esther Newberg cooling her heels with a hot project for very long. There are several very very very powerful agents in this town and Miss Snark isn't one of them (I know you are shocked to your shoes that I'm not Esther but there you have it)

I have no idea if those top dogs represent collections of essays.

The truth is, they can open doors simply by showing up whereas Miss Snark has to tap politely (steel toed stilettos are more than a fashion statement here). Miss Snark gets her stuff read but it's not ever hardly ever overnight. Within a week, sure, but overnights nope.

So, if you can sign with one of them, do it.

You may learn you'd rather be a big fish in a smaller pond (Miss Snark has a couple of those trout on her line) or you may like saying you're represented by the biggest name in town.

Lisa Scottoline has a character that talks about "dropping the Hbomb" when people ask her where she went to college. (Harvard). Same with musicians and actors who studied at Juilliard. Name power helps. It may not mean your work is better faster or smarter than the guy from Lake Woebegone U but it sure gets it looked at faster.

I'm not sure editors read certain genres faster than others. What seems to get them to glue their beady little eyeballs to the paper is the idea that someone else is going to beat them to the punch on a great book.

2 comments:

E. Dashwood said...
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E. Dashwood said...

But isn't part of Lobster (Don Imus's name for his agent) Newberg's power the fact that she represents sure things. Editors know they can sell her projects, much of which are celebrity pieces--i.e., el platformo grande.

And was she as powerful as Swifty Lazar who regularly made deals for clients he didn't even represent? He'd walk right into the office of the president of major houses, make a pitch, and if they ask just a wee question, he'd say, "Well, I see you're not interested," and walk out.