So EE, what gives? There seems to be a common litany being chanted among your faithful these days: "Why am I not getting more requests?" These aren't cases where we've ignored your wise and inappropriately appropriate blue remarks, but cases where we've applied ourselves and learned at the feet of the master. The minions have left off eviscerating our ideas and words and started high-fiving us. And, most gloriously, we've received the coveted "This isn't total dreck" response from the master himself.
We've sent our well-groomed queries confidently into the world -- and yet they are met with rejection after rejection after rejection. Granted, our work may fall apart somewhere after the first few pages and be utter drivel, but no one will ever know because no one asks to see more. Are we missing the secret handshake or the right connections, or is publishing as we know it already in its death throes and no one has bothered to tell us? Are agents secretly packing up their desks in anticipation? Is it time we all rush over to Amazon and upload our novels there before the rest of the author-wannabes all catch on?
Help us, Obi-Wan EE; you're our only hope.
Then you're in trouble.
Sometimes I consider bidding on an agent in the Brenda Novak auction. Surely any agent would want to represent Evil Editor, with his platform that guarantees dozens of sales of anything he writes, especially his latest project, a collection of his favorite writing exercises, namely the ones written by him.
But as I scroll through the numerous auction options I realize that most of the agents look like they're twenty-five-year-old part-time real estate agents. And I think, When I was that age, I was an idiot. Ten years later I was smarter, but looking back now, I was still an idiot. And if I, the smartest person I know, wasn't smart enough to realize I was an idiot, why would I want to put my career in the hands of one of these agents?
Perhaps the best way to handle this is to start our own literary agency. We could call it the Evil Editor Literary Agency if you want, but people are predisposed to expect rejection from EE, so I propose that we call it the Hannah Rogers Literary Agency. I've chosen a photo of our fictional figurehead from my files:
Note that she looks mature, business-like, easy to get along with. Kind and sweet, yet sharp. She looks like she's just read your query letter and is phoning you to offer representation. Or maybe she's phoning to read you the terms of that six-figure contract a publisher just faxed her.
Now, we need a few minions to volunteer to read query letters and decide whether to request manuscripts. And others who'll be in charge of reading the requested manuscripts. Eventually, once we agree on our first winner, we'll submit it to publishers, who will give it serious consideration because it came from the Hannah Rogers Literary Agency. Each of us will get fifteen percent.
I have other photos of Hannah, in each of which she's on the phone negotiating higher advances. Someone should put together a Hannah Rogers Literary Agency website. It'll need a bio page, so submit any info you think should be on that page as a comment.