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JackinElgin
11-01-2009, 07:17 AM
Theoretically Speaking…
I’m reading a lot of posts over in the “Ask the Agent” and “Ask the Editor” sections about the horrors of not having agent and how hard it is to be taken seriously. Really depressing stuff, especially if you’re having trouble finding an agent, like me.
Theoretically Speaking- couldn’t I just make up an agent? Now instead of spending my time productively by writing, spending time with my wife, or digging a hole to china I’ve been brainstorming a concept… whacha think:
1. Think of a good agent name. I’m thinking “Adam Nordstrom” from “Miller and Nordstrom Literary Associates LLC”
2. Print up stationary. I’ve been looking at the quality of some of the rejection letters I’ve gotten and this wouldn’t be very hard at all. In fact, since I own a lazer printer (yes with a damn Z, get off me!) my faux stationary would actually exceed some of the stuff I’ve been getting.
3. Establish a P.O. Box in NYC. Again, not hard.
4. Forward the NYC mail to my house in OK. Because thats where I live, silly!
5. Get a NYC phone number. People are going to want to call Adam Nordstrom, power agent that he is. Gotta be ready damn it!
6. Forward the NYC calls to my phone. Adam’s too busy to be bothered with phone calls, him living in my imagination and all. Looks like I’ll be taking his calls, pretending to be him, of course.
7. Get listed in the “Writers Market.” How much could this possibly cost? Miller and Nordstrom is a “respectable” agency! Its listed!
8. Build a website. Real agents have websites. Probably the most time consuming part, but considering some of the gems I’ve seen online it wouldn’t have to be a masterpiece of HTML. However it would have to be a fully functional site with submission guidelines and everything.
9. Reject all of YOUR submissions. Chances are, getting my faux agency in “Writers Market” and building a website would get me a number of submissions by aspiring authors (like me!) “Thank you for sending us this Material. We’re sorry, but it doesn’t meet our present needs. Sincerely, Miller and Norstrom Literary Associates LLC” Some of you will come here and post on AW, “submitted to Miller and Nordstrom and got rejected.” While I hate deceiving you, “real” agents reject people and this would only bolster my fake agency’s credibility. “I wish you the best of luck in your publishing endeavors.”
10. Submit my M.S. to people through “Miller and Nordstrom” I’m getting really good at sending stuff through the USPS. The only difference would my Query letters would say Miller and Nordstrom” on them. I know, I know I’d be sending out of OK. How do I plan to rectify this? I don’t. Chances are whoever gets my submissions won’t bother checking the postmark and just send their replies to my NYC P.O. Box.
11. Get an offer. My writing rocks, this is the easiest part! Now I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of intense negotiating of my offer, seeing as my agent doesn’t exist. I’d pretty much take the first offer they threw out, but a bad offer is sometimes better than no offer, Right?
12. Kill my agent. The day I go into “Big Time Publishing House, INC.” to sign my contract they might ask, “Where is your agent, author?” and I’ll just be forced to break the news to him that Adam Nordstrom and everyone who worked over at his agency went white water rafting in Colorado for the weekend and got themselves killed trying to take a class 5 rapid. Adam died as he lived, pushing it to the limit. He will be sorely missed. But Adam would want me to sign my contract and get published without him. He would want me to move on with my life! I will donate his 15% commision to a worthy cause (my bills)
13. Be published. I’m not a published author, but I can only imagine that this is pretty awesome.
14. Get a real agent. I’m a published author now! I need real representation!

SO there you go…. Whatcha think?

Gravity
11-01-2009, 07:31 AM
I hope this is a joke, because if you pull this, you'll get your ass handed to you. You might as well give up writing then and take up origami, because once word gets out this was you yanking a publisher's chain, you're done. Not just done with that publisher, done in the industry. Publishing is very small fraternity, and this will haunt you forever.

JackinElgin
11-01-2009, 07:40 AM
I hope this is a joke, because if you pull this, you'll get your ass handed to you. You might as well give up writing then and take up origami, because once word gets out this was you yanking a publisher's chain, you're done. Not just done with that publisher, done in the industry. Publishing is very small fraternity, and this will haunt you forever.

Aw shucks you mean people would be sore about mail fraud, and larceny? You're serious?

I mean I thought could just gloss over the state and federal tax implications of setting up a fake/real bussiness Really?

But I've already bought a suit and a grey wig with mustache to wear in case I had to go to a meeting. You mean to tell me I'm going to have to go back to the costume shop and return this stuff? Dang... these things worked so well in tootsie and mrs. doughtfire.

I've been recently informed that this would have been posted in the "office party" section. Could a mod move it there?

Bartholomew
11-01-2009, 07:41 AM
As humorous as that is, I imagine you'd very quickly get involved in some nasty litigation.

sydney
11-01-2009, 07:48 AM
Obviously it's a joke lol
I had a good chuckle :D

Bartholomew
11-01-2009, 08:24 AM
Obviously it's a joke lol
I had a good chuckle :D

It's actually making me wonder why an author couldn't represent himself with the same skill as an agent, aside from the lack of networking.

It was pretty funny, though.

Cyia
11-01-2009, 08:35 AM
It's actually making me wonder why an author couldn't represent himself with the same skill as an agent, aside from the lack of networking.

It was pretty funny, though.

Because this happens so often that editors know the signs of a writer "representing" himself. They don't like it, they don't appreciate the attempted deception, and they pass the word to others. There was a blog post about this last month; if I remember which editor, I'll come back and link it.

Basically, "agent" calls editor. Editor listens politely, but assumes this person is new and has absolutely no idea what they're doing. Editor plans to give "agent" a few pointers on how not to screw up the call the next time, but is also not going to bother with "represented" MS because editor doesn't trust judgment of clueless agent-person. "Agent" continues to try and ignore editor's input and power through book presentation in a "if you'd just read it, you'd love it" manner. When editor corners "agent" to find out the writer's name, "agent" gets agitated and tries to redirect again. By now, editor is pretty sure "agent" is a flat out liar and wants nothing to do with them. Blogs angrily about person (without names), but passes on names to editor/agent friends with a warning about person.

/writing career before it starts.

(and yes, I seriously hope the OP is either a joke or the result of candy crash.)

CTaft
11-02-2009, 07:09 PM
It's exactly what Clive Cussler did, of course that was back in the late 60's I think, before we could find out everything about everybody.

victoriastrauss
11-02-2009, 08:43 PM
It's actually making me wonder why an author couldn't represent himself with the same skill as an agent, aside from the lack of networking.

Yes, but the networking is crucial.

To properly represent yourself, you need (at a minimum) an in-depth knowledge of the publishers and editors in your field or genre (so you can target your manuscript as skillfully and as widely as possible), a strong knowledge of publishing contract language (so you know what to negotiate--this is much harder than it sounds), and an understanding of subsidiary rights (which to let go, which to keep, and, if you keep them, what to do with them). Even more important, you need some way to get those publishers and editors to pay more attention to you than to, say, the unagented writer whose query is sitting on the slush pile, or the unknown agent whose submission is sitting right next to it.

These skills and contacts are not easy to acquire. I could represent myself at this point, contracts and subrights and all--but that's only because I've spent the past 12 years closely watching and engaging with the publishing industry, both as a professional writer and as a writers' advocate. More than that--you need to want to represent yourself, to devote the considerable amount of time and energy necessary--which, believe me, is far more involving and complex than just researching agents or publishers and submitting material. I have the skills and many of the contacts to rep myself, but I have neither the time, the desire, nor the personality to do it. I'm profoundly grateful I don't have to.

"Wow! I can just pretend to be my own agent!" is a "new" idea that writers are always independently coming up with. Writer Beware often gets questions about whether this would be a reasonable thing to do. It wouldn't--not just because of the tangled web of deception the writer would have to weave (lying convincingly is time-consuming and exhausting), but because it's extremely unlikely that the writer has a clue how to be an agent. Editors are skeptical of unknown agents, especially if they demonstrate unprofessional behavior. Faking an agency is a lot more likely to land you on the slush pile than on an editor's desk.

- Victoria

Mela
11-02-2009, 10:51 PM
Jackin should have an asterisk assigned to this thread:
Don't try this at home, kids, for the people who just might take him (or her??) seriously or be tempted to actually act out Jackin's train of thought in real life.
I took the post as a joke - a tongue in cheek essay on what someone totally frustrated by the industry might do to become published.

He might also try a Victor/Victoria: a writer pretending to be an agent, pretending to be a writer ....

Blarg
11-03-2009, 12:34 AM
I got quite a grin out of the OP.

Maryn
11-03-2009, 12:48 AM
I took it for a joke as well. I mean, come on, people--he knows it's preposterous. That's why it's funny!

Maryn, chuckling

semilargeintestine
11-03-2009, 01:15 AM
Also thought it was funny.

DWSTXS
11-03-2009, 03:32 AM
I think it was hilarious.

What's even more hilarious is when MY fake publishing company gives HIS fake agent thumbs up on his manuscript and promises a $1 mil contract.

It's in the mail. Should be there any day now!

Steam&Ink
11-03-2009, 03:43 AM
What's even more hilarious is when MY fake publishing company gives HIS fake agent thumbs up on his manuscript and promises a $1 mil contract.

It's in the mail. Should be there any day now!

:roll:

Well, you guys BOTH made me laugh on my lunch break, so thanks!

I especially loved the white-water rafting accident - nice touch :D

JackinElgin
11-05-2009, 06:41 AM
I think it was hilarious.

What's even more hilarious is when MY fake publishing company gives HIS fake agent thumbs up on his manuscript and promises a $1 mil contract.

It's in the mail. Should be there any day now!

No one could outsmart Adam Nordstrom, he is king of the imaginary publishing world.

Leukman
11-05-2009, 06:48 AM
Can I have Adam's email address please? I'd like to send him a query.

NO, srsly.

I mean, if you're gonna deal with all that litigation and crap, you could at least get a few of us hooked up first, eh?

BTW, what kind of work does M&N rep?

DWSTXS
11-05-2009, 07:03 AM
No one could outsmart Adam Nordstrom, he is king of the imaginary publishing world.

Except maybe for the uber-evil-fake-publisher, Sir Marksalot!

Sweetleaf
11-05-2009, 07:21 AM
:ROFL:

JackinElgin
11-05-2009, 07:40 AM
Can I have Adam's email address please? I'd like to send him a query.

NO, srsly.

I mean, if you're gonna deal with all that litigation and crap, you could at least get a few of us hooked up first, eh?

BTW, what kind of work does M&N rep?

Spoke to Adam for you, he wanted me to pass this along:

"My tastes are eclectic, and I tend to respond favorably to projects of any sort if they demonstrate a real storytelling talent. And to me, that means a combination of strong narrative drive and mastery of voice which leads the reader seamlessly into the author's realm and won't let him leave without a fight. It's not easy to do, and not easy to describe."

Adam makes a point to be as vauge as humanly possible, that way he can attract the most possible submissions and reject them for any reason that comes comes to mind.

Darzian
11-05-2009, 08:07 AM
:roll:

5bcarnies
11-05-2009, 08:13 AM
This is hilarious.

Pyrohawk
11-05-2009, 08:15 AM
Quite hillarrious....and also troubling that my first though was. "Hmm? not bad not bad!". But yeah....probabaly a bad idea. But your thinking...I like that.

I actually did something similar to this once. Though it didn't require so much work. I made up a fake business so that I could buy the supplies needed for that kind of business, since they wouldn't sell them to individuals.

AryaT92
01-06-2010, 08:39 AM
Made me laugh ;)