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Side discussion for "Nothing Like an Official FAQ" thread

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Medievalist

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Err David?

Welcome to Absolute Write Water Cooler.

I think maybe you've misinterpreted HapiSofi's post; she's saying that an absence of data in Google is neither here nor there, not that "anyone worth considering will have a major web footprint."

There's also a reason that HapiSofi has the "Absolute Sage" User title; it's earned.
 

David I

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Sorry, I guess I misunderstood this part

Real agents get talked about. Their new clients tell all their friends. Their successful clients mention sales they've made. PR people at publishing houses announce major acquisitions, and mention the agent's name in passing. They get Amazon-searchable books dedicated to them, or show up in their Acknowledgements section, and thus become known to Google's database.

(Note two additional rules: First, being talked about online is no guarantee that an agent is good. Second, a good agent is mentioned in connection with real books, real authors, and real publishing houses.)

The principle of necessary visibility is even more true of publishers...

Hi!

I think if you read the quote above you can see why I might have thought that HapiSofi's words above were suggesting that legitimate agents--"real agents"--have a major web footprint.

(Guess I was misinterpeting. But darned if it doesn't still look to me like that's what it says...)
 

David I

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Some agents start out in editorial or marketing, but they don't have a simple majority in their industry, let alone merit being described as "most of them".

I've never seen an agent at a top agency who didn't have sales. Their young'uns start having clients of their own, and therefore sales of their own, before they get listed as "agent" on the letterhead.

What's your interest? You're being very emphatic about this.

I don't think that you or I have any statistics about the percentage of agents that come across from publishing/marketing/etc as opposed to coming up from file clerk/mailboy in an agency. I only know that I've never to my knowledge met a single one of the latter, and have met about a dozen of the former. If you have some real statistics, please cite them.

Any number of good agents and writers have advised that a good match for unpublished writers is a new agent at a reputable agency, since they have some chance of succeeding, and yet are trying to build their client lists.

You say you've never seen an agent at a top agency who didn't have sales? Well, I don't see their 'letterheads' that often. But right offhand, I've seen such an agent at Ralph M. Vicinanza (the agency for Isaac Asimov, Augusten Burroughs, Connie Willis, and a host of others). I've seen such an agent at John Hawkins Associates (who've handled lightweights such as, oh, James Clavell, Gregory Maguire, and Joyce Carol Oates). I could raise other specifics, but why should I? Of course, you are welcome to say, "Oh, but those aren't top agencies." Fine. Redefine it however you like. I think most folks would be happy to be represented by an agent at those agencies.

And, of course, no agent is going to survive long as an agent without sales, so those without a record acquire one. But there is a time lag.

What's my interest? Why am I being so emphatic? I'm so glad you made this personal. I'm just a writer. (A good one, if may say so, thogh you can quarrel with that.) Already published in nonfiction, with my novel slated for publication this September. I've had agents, at good New York agencies, and I've been offered representation by several others I had to turn down.

I thought, apparently wrongly, that this was a forum where one could share their insights.

I really appreciate your hint that I have some vested interest here. Man, that's really classy. That's worthy of the Bush Administration.

I read your FAQ. Liked it. I even said what a good idea it was. I thought you missed one minor, important point: A newbie agent at a good agency can be a good bet.

I expected you'd say, Good point, David! That's a special case, but, yes, being a new agent at a solid agency is a kind of credibility of its own! Thanks for contributing!

I didn't expect that you'd dodge the point, or argue that such a thing never occurs. Arguing about what percentage come from publishing as opposed to up from file-clerking is rather beside the point. And I was truly surprised that some other regular would chime in to tell me I wasn't supposed to question an Absolute Sage. If the rule is that no one should ever question statements or posts made by Absolute Sages, please put that into the FAQ for this website. (I somehow missed it, though I suppose the handle Medievalist ought to have given me a clue that I ought to exit bowing, tugging at my forelock.)

For that matter, why are you being so emphatic about all of this? What's your interest?
 

David I

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Thank you, Rugcat

I'm glad someone doesn't think I'm nuts!
 

Ken Schneider

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Please let us know when your book comes out, David. We'd all be glad to contribute to your success.
 

Toothpaste

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To be honest after reading both threads, I actually think David and Hapi are agreeing in that round about way. David is saying that a new agent who has moved laterally from somewhere and who therefore has no sales, can still be a strong bet. And Hapi is simply stating that by the mere fact that this agent has moved laterally from somewhere means that the industry knows who they are and chances are they are somewhere on the net. I think you are both agreeing though if an editor decides to joing a reputable agency as an agent, then even though they are new with no sales, they still are a decent bet because they know the industry, the players in the industry, and the reputable agency trusts that they will sell books for them.
 

HapiSofi

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David Isaak, I gather that I inadvertently described your agent, and that you dislike the observations I made.

I hadn't realized until I followed the link in your .sig that you're being published in the Macmillan "New Author" program. That's certainly enough to explain why you're being so insecure and defensive. What I don't understand is why you think this is best addressed by trying to provoke a quarrel with me, and possibly with Medievalist as well.
 

HapiSofi

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Well done, Toothpaste.
 

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What an amusing aside...

David, the point of Sofi being a sage is not that she should not be quarreled with, but that she does indeed have some idea of what she is talking about. Sometimes. ;)

I agree with Toothpaste... you seem to be making the same point in a roundabout way. In fact, it is like listening to my cousin and husband argue the same point from different directions. Same thing.

Good luck!
 

David I

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David Isaak, I gather that I inadvertently described your agent, and that you dislike the observations I made.

No, you didn't describe my agent. You did, however, describe a newbie agent who offered me representation. I went with someone who had a "better track record." (The newbie promptly took a book to auction and sold it for agood price.)

I hadn't realized until I followed the link in your .sig that you're being published in the Macmillan "New Author" program. That's certainly enough to explain why you're being so insecure and defensive. What I don't understand is why you think this is best addressed by trying to provoke a quarrel with me, and possibly with Medievalist as well.

That's an extraordinarily mean-spirited comment.

As to Macmillan New Writing, yes, I'm there and I'm proud of it.
 

David I

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I agree with Toothpaste... you seem to be making the same point in a roundabout way. In fact, it is like listening to my cousin and husband argue the same point from different directions. Same thing. Good luck!

Than you. I'll apparently need it.

And, yes, we aren't in disagreement. I tried to add a tiny little caveat to a statement HapiSofi made, not to disagree with the main concept.

But my point was brushed aside with an irrelevancy, and then someone else dropped through to tell me that I ought to take into account who I was quarreling with. Apparently, like the word of Our Lord, not one jot or tittle is to be added.

And then HapiSofi began hinting that I had some hidden agenda; or that the situation must describe my agent (it didn't); and then finally settled on making some very petty personal comments.

Since I'm happy to be a Macmillan New Writing, the nasty comments didn't pain me much, but the fact that they were intended to be hurtful, is, well, not what I'd expect from an "Absolute Sage."

Folks might like to look at what Miss Snark has to say on the subject, as well as a post from Miss Snark's Guest Agent.
 

Medievalist

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And I was truly surprised that some other regular would chime in to tell me I wasn't supposed to question an Absolute Sage.

That isn't what I said. Let's take a look, shall we?

Welcome to Absolute Write Water Cooler.

I think maybe you've misinterpreted HapiSofi's post; she's saying that an absence of data in Google is neither here nor there, not that "anyone worth considering will have a major web footprint."

There's also a reason that HapiSofi has the "Absolute Sage" User title; it's earned.

It was a gentle hint that Hapi Sofi does in fact know what Hapi Sofi is talking about. I know you, as a new member wouldn't know, and I was hoping to spare you some possible embarrassment and aggravation. I'm very sorry I did that, and I promise, I won't again.

If the rule is that no one should ever question statements or posts made by Absolute Sages, please put that into the FAQ for this website. (I somehow missed it,

Again, there's nothing in my post that suggests that; I simply thought you might not know what Absolute Sage means, since you didn't seem to have read this first.

though I suppose the handle Medievalist ought to have given me a clue that I ought to exit bowing, tugging at my forelock.)

Seriously, I'm very very sorry I ever posted. I had no idea that a gentle, rational heads up post would unleash your spleen. I won't do that again with you, now I know. You're entirely on your own now.

You've probably got the wrong sort of medievalist, by the way; in my particular field, it's more about severed heads. Just so's you know. I'll likely get around to an FAQ about that, any day now.
 

David I

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It was a gentle hint that Hapi Sofi does in fact know what Hapi Sofi is talking about.

I'm sorry if I misunderstood your intent, and apologize if you feel I was inappropriately annoyed with your comment.

And, yes, I wish I had taken your hint. I still think my comments were on correct and useful--and some other people here were even bold enough to agree--but there's just no point in posting in this environment.
 

Medievalist

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I'm sorry if I misunderstood your intent, and apologize if you feel I was inappropriately annoyed with your comment.

And, yes, I wish I had taken your hint. I still think my comments were on correct and useful--and some other people here were even bold enough to agree--but there's just no point in posting in this environment.

David

You and Hap Sofi are essentially agreeing. And, my hand to the beatic force of your choice, Hapi Sofi really really know what Hapi Sofi is talking about -- but from the opposite side of the desk than an author.

It makes a difference, sometimes.

AW is a cool place; this particular thread is one of the best things on the 'net in terms of writing. The pure form is here.
 

HapiSofi

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You've probably got the wrong sort of medievalist, by the way; in my particular field, it's more about severed heads. Just so's you know.
I'm more into the question of how many heads. Oswald's got five, but John the Baptist has heads in Vienna, Jerusalem, Samaria, Istanbul, Jordan, Rome, Damascus, Halifax in West Yorkshire, Amiens, Nemours, St-Jean d'Angeli, the Monastery of St. Macarius the Great in Scetes, Egypt, and (inevitably) in Antioch. Plus the one the Knights Templar had.

Sorry, David -- were you saying something?
 
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David I

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You and Hap Sofi are essentially agreeing. And, my hand to the beatic force of your choice, Hapi Sofi really really know what Hapi Sofi is talking about -- but from the opposite side of the desk than an author.

It makes a difference, sometimes.

AW is a cool place; this particular thread is one of the best things on the 'net in terms of writing. The pure form is here.

Yes, I agree--and everyone else here has been has been very welcoming and helpful even if you disagree with them. But I could do without HapiSofi's ad hominem attacks--especially when they come from someone who chooses to remain anonymous.

I gather you're a PhD, Medievalist? Me too. And I was taught, as I'm sure you were, that attacking a person or their motives rather than the facts of their argument was unfair and cowardly. And it doesn't matter if the attack is made by a Nobel Prize Winner, and it doesn't matter on which side of the desk they sit.
 

MacAllister

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I didn't see an ad hominem attack, frankly. I saw a couple of direct questions, and a comment about how your book is published. You might not like the implications -- but it's still a valid opinion.

May I suggest we let this go and move on?
 

David I

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I didn't see an ad hominem attack, frankly. I saw a couple of direct questions, and a comment about how your book is published. You might not like the implications -- but it's still a valid opinion.

Direct questions? Yes, direct questions that suggested I had ulterior motives in making a point.

And that wasn't 'a comment about how my book is published.' It was inserted to present an opportunity to say--and I quote literally: "That's certainly enough to explain why you're being so insecure and defensive."

Questions impugning motives and statements about someone else's personality are the classic elements of an ad hominem attack.

And asserting that someone is "insecire and defensive" because of their publisher is no different than suggesting someone is "insecure and defensive" because of their looks, or how much money they earn. It's totally off topic and it's a cheap tactic.
 

JeanneTGC

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But, David, I've read through the entire thread, and you truly seemed to "attack" first. Even though you and Hapi seemed to be saying the same thing, albeit in a different way.

Hapi has loads of experience to back up what she says. Those who can help and influence us the most are not necessarily always going to sugar-coat their advice or comments. You may also have loads of experience, but you're new here, so folks are going to ask where your background is in order to determine how much validity your statements have.

You may not mean to be, but many of your posts are coming off as defensive. Clearly you feel attacked, but whenever one of the folks you feel is attacking you comes on to explain themselves, you seem to take it in a very defensive manner. Everyone is entitled to their point of view, and it's not going to be possible to get everyone to agree to the same ideas 100% of the time. But you appear to be taking someone saying "that's not the way I see it on my side of the table" and someone else saying "this person has a LOT of experience, maybe you might want to consider that before you go and argue" to mean that they are attacking you and your viewpoint personally.

Hapi's comment about insecure and defensive is, when one reads the thread in its entirety, not completely off the mark. It's not off topic because most of your posts read as extremely defensive and very attack-focused, so it's understandable why Hapi would make that comment.

And Hapi remains anonymous because of who she is in "real life". Truly, consider that statement before you fire back an off-the-cuff reply.
 

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