Communion Of Dreams


This sums it up, nicely.
September 22, 2010, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Promotion, Publishing, Writing stuff

Gah.

I’ve mentioned here and on Facebook that I’ve jumped into the pit of despair known as Searching For An Agent for the care giving book. Talk about a soul-sucking, mind-numbing process.

Gah.

Anyway, since my Good Lady Wife has been tackling this problem in the logical way (using Literary and Agent guides and listings, websites designed to help bring authors and agents together, et cetera), I thought I would approach it from somewhat less conventional directions, hoping that I might come across some possibilities she might not. One such effort has been to read Agents’ blogs. There’s a bunch of these, and of course they’re stuffed with “insight into the industry” and “helpful tips on how to get your query letter noticed” and suchlike. Good, basic information.

Or is it?

Here’s what I mean: the industry is changing. And a lot of what you read on these blogs doesn’t necessarily apply a year or a month or even 30 minutes after it has been posted (if it ever did). And if it did apply then, the advice may have reflected someone’s own agenda more than reality. Or their own misunderstanding about the industry.

Here’s a classic example that sums up my point, nicely. Alan Rinzler is a well established, well-connected editor and agent with decades of experience. He has a blog stuffed with information about the publishing industry. Occasionally he does profiles of literary agents, and two years ago he did one of Elise Proulx, which went on at some length about her desire to find upcoming talent. Here’s a quote from that piece:

I’m eager to discover writers who aren’t famous yet but will be,” says San Francisco-based literary agent Elise Proulx.

“My mission is to promote literature and make some money for deserving authors,” said Proulx, whose five tips for unpublished writers appear below. “My specialty is both high quality fiction and what I call “pragmatic nonfiction”, meaning books that are useful and prescriptive, like good parenting books,” added Proulx, an associate at the venerable Frederick Hill Bonnie Nadell Literary Agency.

Cool, eh? She sounds like someone pumped about her job, her firm, her industry, doesn’t she? Well, here’s the kicker, an addendum to that same profile piece:

News flash (12/08):

We’ve received word from Elise that she’s left the literary agency business. We’re very sad to see her go and wish her good fortune in all her endeavors.

OK, I don’t know why Ms. Proulx decided to get out of the business. Could have been for personal reasons completely unrelated to what is happening in the industry. But that move came about two months after the profile piece that Rinzler posted about her. She had to know that this change was coming – and yet see what she told Rinzler?

Gah.

Jim Downey

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