So you can read my books

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Hell is other people.

Jean-Paul Sarte wrote it long ago. A good friend quoted it last night in an email.

Recently, she received a rejection from what is called an Uber-Agent. The agent wrote that if my friend was too stupid to know how to change the formatting of her email then she was too stupid for the agent's time.

When I first started out, I got a similar reply, and I learned how to do it. I wrote my friend how to change her format. It's a guy-thing. We hear a friend tell of a problem, we tell how to fix it.

Counselor Rule #1 : Listen beneath the words.

My friend is smart. She learned how to format all on her own, thank you very much. No. That wasn't the problem.

This same Uber-Agent was one of the players in the recent : "Maybe we should bill our clients into poverty by the hour" debate.

Counselor Rule #2 : Cruelty is never personal.

Now, when your nose has just been broken by a bully, it's hard to convince your pain of that. But it's true.

Cruelty is all about some lack, some insecurity in the instigator of it. The Uber-Agent did my friend a favor. The cutting rejection was just the tip of the iceberg.

It implied that the agent took the ability to hurt without consequence as license to do so. I certainly wouldn't want a business partnership with a sadist. I want a professional.

As for wanting the allure of charging by the hour and the opportunity for abuse it would give ... greed is never personal either. But there is a reason we lock the doors when we leave home. Not everyone is a crook. But they are out there.

Counselor Rule #3 : Would you just shut up and do Rule #1 :

My friend wrote me because she was beginning to believe that the world of agenting was harsh, greedy, and pain-inflicting.

Counselor Rule #4 : Sometimes the other person is right.

I agreed with my friend. She was right. I went further. It just wasn't the world of agenting : the whole world was that way.

Counselor Rule #5 : It is what is. What are you going to do now?

Resigning from the world is not an option. Within you there is a path out of whatever jungle you find yourself.

Sign Post #1 : See the jungle through the other person's eyes :

Mostly the world runs on self-interest. The agent is not Mother Theresa. She wants to make a good living for her efforts.

You are merely one of the means to do so. If you're not helping her put money into her pockets, then the time she is using on you is taking money out of those same pockets.

Solution : Make yourself worth her time.

Learn your craft. Strive to grow daily. Accept assholes as the price of living. Try not to become an asshole yourself. Help the people you meet along the way.

Become the change you want to see in the world.

Sign Post #2 : Remember Rule #2

It hardly ever is personal when someone hurts you. It comes from the hurt within them. Look for that hurt. Try not to step on that sore toe ever again. As long as it is honorable, dance whatever dance that takes.

Sign Post #3 : If you're heading in the wrong direction, going forward is certainly not going to get you to your desired destination.

Sometimes harsh people are right in the wrong way. Look at your work. Could it be improved? Of course it could.

Could you learn more about the busisness end of writing? Of course you could.

Reading agents' blogs is like listening to Presidential Press Agents : you are only hearing what they want you to hear. Those blogs will give you a guide on how not to irritate the agents. But the true skinny lies behind those curtains.

Sign Post #4 : Go behind those curtains.

The blogs that will help you do that :






Two Books that will help you do that :


{In April 1938 F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his editor Maxwell Perkins, "What a time you’ve had with your sons, Max—Ernest gone to Spain, me gone to Hollywood, Tom Wolfe reverting to an artistic hill-billy."

As the sole literary editor with name recognition among students of American literature, Perkins remains permanently linked to Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe in literary history and literary myth.

Their relationships, lived largely by letters, play out in the 221 letters Matthew J. Bruccoli has assembled in this volume.

This collection documents the extent of the fatherly forbearance, attention, and encouragement the legendary Scribners editor gave to his authorial sons. The correspondence portrays his ability to juggle the requirements of his three geniuses.


Blake Snyder was a working, selling writer himself, so that gives the reader a true inside glimpse into what it's like, what it takes, and what to expect on the long road to screenwriting success.

Many screenwriting how-to books are written by people who have few or no real studio credits, so with this book you are getting the info direct from the source of a successful member of the Hollywood elite.

Synder starts out with a bang, describing how important a good title, pitch and concept are, and giving tons of useful advise for whipping those log lines into shape, {the best shape ever in fact, for as the author points out, many industry powerbrokers won't even look beyond a log it better be good. Very good}

He also gives an insider's look at the world of screenwriter's agents {which is not so different from the world of literary agents.}


I thought that if my friend felt as she did, then others out there in the blogverse probably did, too. I hope that today's post helped in some small way

There are some hilarious Bruce Campbell soup labels you can print out and paste on your own soup cans to amuse friends who drop over at this site

In honor of today being Bruce Campbell's birthday, here is the man himself doing a summation of my post :


  1. It's so much easier to go with gut reaction and pummel the crap out of someone, physically or verbally...but you are absolutely right. I had a friend who underwent years of therapy and she instilled several truths in my head, one of which was: if there is something that really rubs you the wrong way in a person, it's probably because it's reflecting the same (or a similar) thing in you, and you don't want to acknowledge it...okay, don't know how relevant that was...just-could you buy a printing press and make a pocket version of these rules and signs? And, as a gift with purchase, could you include a mouth guard? Love the Bruce Campbell clip...alongside your post, it's actually quite wise... :P
    PS I hope your friend is healing well...your friendship and sage wisdom I'm sure have been a balm to her wounded spirit...

  2. This is a lot of information to digest but it's all very important. I think the publishing world is very harsh, one of the most harshest industries to get into so I don't agree with calling people stupid.


  3. Thanks for this post Roland. Makes a lot of sense with what we have to deal with as writers. Oh, as people too.

  4. Wise and sound counsel.
    Some people in high positions forget how to be gracious and grateful for their position. This is really bad karma. Even if they continue to make good money, they will pay in some other aspect of their life for ripping off the universe and being entitled.
    And it is so true. We shouldn't take it personally when someone else is cruel or unfeeling or prideful. That's their bag.
    If your friend continues, with a positive and good outlook--resisiting cynicism, she will succeed. No question.

  5. People tend to take things too personally, but as writing is a business, agents want people who can make them money. It's not enough just to have a "good" story. It needs to have a potential audience so it can sell.

    Good post, Roland.

  6. I don't care how busy an agent is, that's no excuse for rudeness. So what if the email was formatted incorrectly? All they had to do was hit delete and not reply, but they can't be too busy if they have the time write up a rude reply.

    I had a lot of rejection, but not one was rude. Thankfully, all the agents were professional in their dealings with me.

  7. Once again, thanks for sharing and thank you for the resources.