So you can read my books

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Don't forget to vote for Victor Standish :

"Hell is other people."

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

Recently, she received a rejection from what she 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 of last year's "Maybe we should bill our clients into poverty by the hour" debate.

Most agents are just like us :

overworked, underpaid, wondering how to pay the mounting bills in this harsh economy.

You really can't blame them for looking for new ways out of growing debt.

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.

Moral : Never wear a raw meat necklace in the jungle.

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 that sometimes business is a cold world of numbers. She was indeed right. I went further.

It just wasn't the world of agenting : the whole world was often 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. Just like we do.

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, darting forward is certainly not going to get you to your desired destination any faster.

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

Because I like Bruce Campbell almost as much as I do CALVIN & HOBBES, here is the man himself doing a summation of my post :


  1. I can't tell you how insensed I feel at what happened to your friend. I don't care how high the pedestal, that is an agent your friend can do without. If you can't show respect in a simple email or letter, why would anyone trust you in a business relationship?

    Funny, I just finished hitting the "publish" button on my new wbsite not more than a few minutes before stopping by your blog. I had some trepidation as my finger hovered above my keyboard. Who did I think I was? After reading your post, I know I've made the right decision for myself.

    I used to think I was too old to wait around for someone to accept my writing, now I'm just too old to wait to be respected. The blinders and the "meat necklace" have come off. I've got a new boom stick and its name is self respect.

    Great post.

    P.S. My sons and I are Bruce Campbell fans from way back.

  2. Thanks, Wendy. And my friend thanks you as well for feeling outraged for her.

    Respect. A little word. But we should never be too big to show it, even to those the world might not notice. Especially to those.

    What is the address to your website, if you don't mind me asking? I wish you luck on your new enterprise. We Bruce Campbell fans should stick together! Roland

  3. A lot of resources on this post. Bruce Campbell video was funny, but I've never heard him before this post and Old Spice commercials reminds me of my Father's era... not to sound disrespectful here.

  4. Imagery Imagined : Actually Old Spice is of my step-father's generation, too. I first met Bruce Campbell in the classic, ARMY OF DARKNESS, a camp horror/adventure movie. I love it so that I have an autographed copy of the movie poster hanging on my wall with everyone's autograph from Bruce Campbell to Sam Raimi (the director) to the lovely Bridget Fonda (she played a fast cameo at the start).

    I'm glad you liked the resources on this post. I try to be helpful. Have a great new week, Roland

  5. Hi, Roland,

    How that agent treated your friend is horrible, just horrible. Rejection is a part of life that affects everyone at one time or another, including agents. I'm totally flabergasted that an agent or anyone would treat another caring, trying human being in such a callous manner. This is socio-pathetic behavior that begs for counseling.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with your friend. I am totally clueless as to how one changes a format and feel as though your friend's insult is my insult (Hey, it's the Louisiana in me!) Please, please tell your friend to shake it off, consider the miserable source and move on with her life. She's a beautiful person who deserves better than that agent!

    And, er, when you get a chance, would you drop me a comment as to how one changes a format??? Thanks!

  6. Kittie : Most agents I have found to be truly generous, professional people. My best friend, Sandra, tells me however that many people are only as good as their options : if they have the ability to vent their spleen with impunity, they will do so. Sigh.

    Thanks for taking up for my friend. She appreciates it deeply.

    How you change a format to an already written email is that you copy the email and paste it in your Yahoo notepad. That will immediately remove all formatting.

    Then, you copy the email from the notepad entry and paste it as is in another email box. Your email should now be without format and non-offensive to even the most delicate of tempers. LOL.

  7. Thanks, Roland, you're such a sweetie for info here and on my blog. *sends big bowl of gumbo*

  8. You're welcome, Kitty. And the great thing about cyber-gumbo? No calories! LOL.

  9. Ouch. I came across a few rude agents myself and feel for your friend.

    Whenever someone was cruel to me, I wanted to prove them wrong, so I improved my queries and manuscripts.

  10. Medeia : We unsolicited writers are a lot like hungry kittens who walk up to us on a dark street. Yes, we are under no obligation to feed them. But what does it say about us if we kick them?

    I like your attitude. Improve our craft, our queries, and our manuscripts.

    Just think about all those agents who said NO to JK Rowling? Do you imagine them thinking now how wealthy they would now be if they had only said YES?

    Have a great new week, Roland

  11. That is horrible. No one and i mean no once has that right.... We ALL deserve respect no matter how bad our writing is or anything else for that matter.

    We are all human beings. We are designed to be compassionate and caring people. NO EXCUSES!


  12. Michael : Thanks for feeling outraged on behalf of my friend. She is debating whether to place her dreams of writing on the shelf. I tell her that she would tell her students not to give up on their dreams -- so she should not give up on hers.