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/lit/ - Literature

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18956501 No.18956501 [Reply] [Original]

I was an associate agent at a prominent literary agency in NYC. I quit in 2019 because the market is in decline, no one wanted to adapt to find modern solutions, and I'm young enough to change my career.

It was amazing in some ways. The old guard of agents that I worked with were legendary. They represented people like Kerouac, Malcolm Lowry, back when being an agent was a lot like being a drinking buddy. They were brilliant.

And it was terrible in other ways. Starvation wages. My co-workers were becoming increasingly humorless English majors, with no sales background, and no color to their personalities.

Anyway, if you wanna know what goes on behind the scenes in an agency and how to find and agent and get your book sold, fire away.

>> No.18956506

>I was an associate agent at a prominent literary agency in NYC.
Tits or GTFO

>> No.18956508

Summarize the best strategy to get published, assuming you’re not sort of author publishing the sort of books you find on current Best-Sellers lists.

>> No.18956534

I was one of the only dudes in the office by the end, brother. We were like unicorns. If you were a successful male agent, there was basically a non-stop parade of recently graduated assistants who were pretty ready to move in with you.

>> No.18956535

A common sentiment floating around here is that the publishing industry, and the current crop of agents, demand displays of loyalty to regime approved sacred cows, and so anyone who doesn't want to write what looks like a Netflix Original has the cards stacked against them. Did you find this to be true, or is it /pol/ histrionics?

>> No.18956537

How did you get your job? I'm an English grad but I have no experience and no one will hire me for entry level jobs to get experience so I'm stuck literally working at Starbucks.

>> No.18956542

is self-publishing so looked down upon? haven't agents been rendered obsolete?

>> No.18956558

Like anything, it's sadly very much about networking. If you're trying to publish fiction, always recommend trying to find your way into the good graces of someone with an agent and getting them to refer you. That is how the vast majority of unpublished people find agents. Usually it will be their MFA student, or something like that. It's different for non-fiction, but still applies somewhat.

>> No.18956560

>The old guard of agents that I worked with were legendary. They represented people like Kerouac, Malcolm Lowry, back when being an agent was a lot like being a drinking buddy. They were brilliant.
Tell us about these guys. How many did you meet and get to know? What were they like, did they have stories of the authors they'd represented or dealt with? How old are they at this point?

>> No.18956564

Some twenty-eight year-old man sends you a manuscrapt of a novel that's well written, a little edgy/abrasive, but coherent and thoughtful novel. You know no major publisher will even finish reading it but you think it would be a decent seller for an independent publisher.
What advice/approach would you suggest for the author?

>> No.18956576

Is there any market for philosophical novels centered in an underground anal fisting cabal?

>> No.18956588

What’s there to be said about building up a personal catalogue of shorter fiction and perhaps poetry? Someone suggested to me that you have a far better chance of having your novel published if you’re even slightly known in poetry and/or short story circles.

>> No.18956605

Yes and no. I was actually one of the very few people on the agent side who was in favor of working with the self-publishing funnels. Most agents feel this is a big disruption because when a self-published book takes off (the big examples were always Twilight and Fifty Shades) the publisher will cut the agent out and just snap up the rights to the book outright (usually with very shitty terms, because no agent). But I was always like "guys, why don't we just represent these people before the publisher gets to them?" - but many of the older agents who called the shots didn't like this because they let their tastemaker ego get in the way of good business. My feeling was there's always time for taste-making, but we need to have a viable here fellas.

>> No.18956633

So I got my job by asking for an "informational interview." Basically, I sent emails to agents, and more importantly, the assistants of the agents, and wrote them a kind letter about that agent's list (something they always get hard over) and how I would die for the opportunity to pick their brain. I got one bite, met with their assistant, hit it off with her, and when there was an internship, she hit me up. I worked at the internship for 3 months during the day, unpaid, while working at a bar at night. Then when someone quit, I slid into the job.

>> No.18956640

Are you familiar with the work of Dennis Cooper? Cus, yes, actually.

>> No.18956646

Sounds very similar to the big music retailers and labels. The younger, smarter execs kept bringing up the internet, amazon, napster and so on, and how important it was to get ahead of the curve before they got cut out. But the old boomer puffins in charge kept ignoring them: 'dude I spotted the Eagles, this spiderweb thing is just the new 8-track'
And now their business model is fucked

>> No.18956674

Again, I super recommend you find someone to vouch for you. Referral is truly the best way in. I will say though, and don't take this the wrong way, the manuscript you describe there is something that we see on a daily basis. That edgy/abrasive tone is actually one of the more common tones you see out there. Your book might be great obviously, but just as an fyi, that particular style is one of a handful of archetypes you'll see pretty regularly when chipping away at a stack of manuscripts.

>> No.18956705

There's a little bit of truth to it, but I wouldn't say it's all encompassing. There are lots of good agents who are carrying the torch, but I would agree that there's a major consolidation going on at the top. If you've published 2 or 3 books, and they haven't done much sales-wise, there is a good chance your next manuscript is going to have Netflix Original vibes.

>> No.18956739

Well I'll just come out and say it cus it's been years, but I used to work with an agent named Sterling Lord. Who had about as gilded a career as you can have in that business. He was in his 90's when I was there, worked every day, took me to lunch once in a while to tell stories about going to Knicks games with Vonnegut in the 70's, dealing with Kerouac's raging heroin addiction, talked a ton of shit about Pynchon being a faux-shut in while being married to a powerful lit agent, etc. He's over 100 and still working. He was one of the three older partners who were all amazing humans.

>> No.18956769

I think that's decent advice. I would add though that I would still try to use that notoriety as a lever to get someone who has an agent to make an introduction for you. I can't overstate the importance of networking - the warm introduction is everything.

>> No.18956784

Very interesting anon. Any suggestion on where to look for such positions nowadays? I am very bored with my current career and wouldn't mind a change, as long as I make enough to survive - even if it's barely enough.

>> No.18956803

Yeah totally. I can't tell you how many times we met with people from tech start ups and online services looking to partner with us. And the meetings would just go nowhere. We had in the people from Medium when they were a baby company looking for help and absolutely nothing came from it. We could have given them 50k at the time and it would have saved our business in three years.

>> No.18956820

Sorry OP, just saw that you already answered how you got your job - can I ask you how long ago this was? And what were your qualifications (bachelor, MA, PhD)? How much do they look at your background, and was it relevant for you to get in, or was it mostly personal initiative and being pro-active? I'm struggling a lot with getting myself out there, if you have any advice on channels and things I could do, I'd be glad to hear it!

>> No.18956845

So the way it works is you'll need to be an assistant for a few years, which really fucking sucks, but it's the only way to actually know anything about how to be an agent. Usually, if you haven't figure out a way to become an agent after 3 years, you're seen as an assistant for life, and you'll pretty much get treated as such. So, first things first, you gotta find that assistant job. There are usually openings for those positions because there's a lot of turnover (starting salary is like 30k). But like I said earlier, the way I got in wasn't through applying the old fashioned way, I wrote complimentary emails to agents to try to get an informational interview, and that's how I got my foot in the door. Good luck though! If you can make it, it's a really fun gig.

>> No.18956878

They don't really look that much at your background. They are mostly looking at your personality, I think, because at the end of the day, despite all the high-mindedness around you, you're actually in sales. You're just a greasy salesman.

I had a BFA in film, which there's a decent amount of cross-over between film and lit business. One of the fun things is you'll get poached pretty often by film production companies who are always looking for script readers, and they like to take them out of the lit world because reading books is harder than reading scripts, and so we're more of a proven commodity.

>> No.18957108

back in a bit, quick bump for the road

>> No.18957196

Can you list the archetypes? That sounds like pretty useful knowledge, e.g. what everyone else is submitting en masse

>> No.18957208

What are your three favorite novels of all time?

>> No.18957235

Okay so what’s the secret to getting poems and short stories published?

Let me guess. Networking?

If the whole secret to ever getting anything published is networking, then no wonder 99% of literature today is complete trash.

>> No.18957238

Which novel (old or new) do you think has explored/treated/depicted the internet best?

>> No.18957256

If you are smart enough to write a good story, you are smart enough to network. It's not like it's some esoteric art available only to the initiate.

>> No.18957267

>you are smart enough to network
networking has nothing to do with being smart and everything to do with compliance and a teflon coated asshole

>> No.18957272


>> No.18957306

I'm trying to use "networking" pretty broadly here, not suggesting you go to trade shows with a stack of business cards.

Whether you are taking night classes for fiction or trying to organize independent reading events, you do actually need to dare to be part of some larger apparatus or community to establish some level of connection to this industry. No one is going to parachute into your home office and buy your manuscript, you need to meet people. That's true of anything.

>> No.18957311

>talking to people and making friends literally impossible, claims porn addicted recluse

>> No.18957331

I've heard that twitter is actually a good place to shop your manuscripts, any truth to that?

>> No.18957335

uhhh why is "making friends" something you need to be "smart" for?
so if I make friends with a fellow internet recluse with no social media presence I am "networking"?

>> No.18957352

haha usually when people asked me for creds like this, I would just respond with something safe like George Saunders - luckily I don't have to do that anymore. But if you're a good agent, what you like shouldn't really matter. You're more in the business of knowing what kind of book fits into what kind of market - if that happens to be the kind of book you like that's great, but that's not the norm.

>> No.18957370

>you do actually need to dare to be part of some larger apparatus or community to establish some level of connection t
But I need to believe that I am a neglected genius, that literature is dead, that publishing is controlled by Jews, and that everyone but me is an idiot. Meeting people may challenge these beliefs
Only someone as smart as you can answer these questions

>> No.18957379

Sure, but you have to acknowledge that in most cases, networking doesn’t come naturally to artists or authors, and is in fact detrimental to art generally for obvious reasons.

>> No.18957386

I wasn't being a cunt, I'm genuinely curious.

>> No.18957394

I disagree. Almost all successful writers and artists are big hustlers and networkers. The beast self-selects for confidence and persistence

>> No.18957419

So the aforementioned disaffected tone was a big one. Some others off the top of my head are:

We used to call this "first page pyrotechnics" - which was when people would have crazy ornate openings to their book, and by page three kind of regress back to their conventional style.

There were people who were pretty clearly DFW stans who would try to add footnote devices, or use aggressive, borderline deconstructionist levels of detail to describe a thing or location. Which usually didn't work out well.

There were other people who would try to be gross - Like they would open the book talking about piss and shit and boogers, things like that. I think maybe that's an easy way to evoke SOMETHING in a reader, but that's some pretty low-hanging fruit in terms of evocation.

I'll try to think of some more.

>> No.18957442

>There were other people who would try to be gross - Like they would open the book talking about piss and shit and boogers, things like that. I think maybe that's an easy way to evoke SOMETHING in a reader, but that's some pretty low-hanging fruit in terms of evocation.
this is huge in the indie press transgressive lit scene, which may as well be called the dennis cooper fandom. it's giga cringe

>> No.18957444

Very much this. I would argue it's even more true among the "respected" authors than the trade fiction people. You'll see a lot more gatekeeping and MFAs among the more literary corners of that world, so a lot more hustling is required.

>> No.18957447

Define successful.

>> No.18957495

Fuck I'm trying to remember the name of this guy who wrote an amazing short story that was in the new yorker years ago. He perfectly distilled the feeling of being on the internet as this feeling that yet still things weren't happening fast enough, that the message or the seamless order couldn't be made fast enough, that despite being able to intellectualize the convenience of it all, there was a baseline tediousness to being online that can't be defined. Something like that. Fuck I gotta find it now.

>> No.18957514

OP, what does a winner's diet look like today? On average, was a more successful writer corpulent or fasted? You mentioned things like Kerouac's heroin use and his alcoholism was well-known; but I am more interested in dietetics broadly. It is a big difference to be a corpulent alcoholic and an emaciated one, for instance. What sort of meals do agencies and authors like to do business over? Are there discrepancies between the diets of writers and agents? Did you partake of office donuts? Did writers partake of the donuts?

>> No.18957540

Back in the day, it used to be steaks and tinis for lunch. I believe the standard business lunch was a 3 tini lunch. That changed along the way, but there were still some proudly chaotic drunken authors when I was there. And lots of cocaine but only a handful of heroin addicts anymore, seems to have been made passé.

>> No.18957620

Ah, I gotcha - can't be too careful around here. Heck this is hard. I think nowadays I look at "favorite" books to mean something more nostalgic. Because, like, I can't enjoy anything in adulthood as much as I liked the books that got me into reading in the first place when I was younger. So I guess I would put down:

White Noise
Jitterbug Perfume
Cat's Cradle
Letters from the Earth

Don't roast me too hard

>> No.18957632

Well I know that's definitely true of non-fiction/humor/self-help etc., not sure if it's true of fiction but it's totally possible.

>> No.18957673

I do actually really like Saunders as well, I'll peel Tenth of December off the shelf any day.

>> No.18957709

>the standard business lunch was a 3 tini lunch
That was all industries back in the day, not just publishing. My first job it was three pints in 45 mins and woe betide you if you had to take a piss, was a sign of weakness.

>> No.18957781

That would be hard for me and my puppy-sized bladder.

>> No.18957810

Could you give us the "industry scoop" on how publishing for genre fiction (horror, sci-fi, and/or fantasy) works? What are agents looking for?

>> No.18957856
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I guess this is a chance to get a serious answer to this.

>> No.18958013

Yeah for sure, so there will usually be specific agents who specialize in the horror/sci-fi genre (for a while, I know publishers were looking for more literary horror really heavily, and so other agents threw their hat in the ring, but for the most part there are dedicated agents to that genre), so definitely make sure you're targeting those specialists. I wasn't in that world myself, so take this with a grain of salt.

My sense was that a lot of the sci-fi/horror market overlapped with the YA market in both audience and in how agents found authors. There's good and bad here. The good is that there is a huge, healthy market for those kinds of books. Agents are VERY horny for the next hit series, but that also means there is a lot of competition. So the grind is very real for you guys. If you're looking for a "hack" to get in, I would visit a lot of trade events (which there are many in that market) and maybe even start a youtube or something where you are reviewing books in the genre (I know how this sounds, but these are the hacks). But also, this is one of the very few occasions where I would say you can still send a bunch of queries at scale (to the right agents) and have a small chance of it working out. I would shoot for the moon in your query letter, and tell them what you think they want to hear - Like I said, everyone wants the next hunger games. It's strange, but it's one of the few genres where people get three book deals more often than one book deals.

>> No.18958029

What is the percentage of unsolicited submissions that make it? I always assumed 0.000001%, because nothing decent was unsolicited

>> No.18958032

I would steer well clear of it unless you're James McBride or Ta-Nehisi Coates.

>> No.18958052

I think that number is about right. Most influential agents who can actually sell your book will have too many referrals to respond to in a polite amount of time. There's no shortage of things to read. So the agent's assistant will read the "slush" pile, and if you pull something out of the slush pile to have your agent read, it better read like Cormac McCarthy or better, or else it'll look very bad for you.

>> No.18958071

Unsurprised retards are entertaining this lying grifter

>> No.18958085

Might be out of your wheelhouse but I’m sorta curious if you could shed any light on the fact that book publishers are a sort of money laundering operation for political operatives? At my local stores these “I was a whistleblower on Trump” books sit on shelves for months before getting the 50% off sticker. Do people really buy those at the frequency required to justify the millions these hacks are paid? Who buys this shit? Just looks like a way for the upper deck people to pay each other off through phony “book deals” for $30 hardcovers that 10 boomers buy.

>> No.18958088

let's say i wrote a book explicitly modelled on some classics (say, the great gatsby mixed with the big sleep). i know it's stupid to mention fitzgerald and chandler in the query letter. but what to do then, read around until i find contemporary writers who are basically riffing on chandler and fitzgerald, and namedrop them as proxies? or just forego comps entirely

>> No.18958100

>co-workers were becoming increasingly humorless
>with no sales background

>> No.18958136

This is a great question. Books are so often pitched this way, but also like, you do flirt with a special kind of cringe when dropping names like that. You're smart to want to avoid your comp being a meme. We had so, so much of "In Cold Blood meets X" while I was there, and some of those books were good and got published, but we never used that pitch. So I guess the short answer is to follow your instinct not use classic comps on your letter, directly. I guess my honest opinion might be to not make any comps in the letter, save it for the follow up emails/calls if you get there, and let the agent take the cringe bullet if someone is gonna do it.

>> No.18958149

Meaning they were the kind of nerds who usually weren't fun or interesting. Primarily introverted women in their early 20's.

>> No.18958181

This would be a very strange grift...

>> No.18958267

How is some retard pretending to be a former literary agent not a grift when he is just trying to get (You)s, you smoothbrain tumor

>> No.18958297
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>tfw all this talk of getting a referral
>tfw I don't fucking know anyone who's a published writer

>> No.18958311

Think Charles Moore who edited either the Spectator or the Telegraph for nearly twenty years said that in all that time he'd only ever published a single unsolicited article, which was the first by Theodore Dalrymple

>> No.18958317

Can you elaborate on what Netflix Original means?

>> No.18958320

So you're responding to me, the OP, there. Sorry, I come from a world where we trade on things of higher value than (You)s - I honestly didn't think that was something that could be the currency in a grift. But if that's your world, I could understand your suspicion I guess.

>> No.18958347

I read that as meaning a manuscript that will have the conventional story elements that translate neatly into a multi-part film/tv series. Basically tailoring your book to be as attractive as possible to a film agent who would by the movie rights.

>> No.18958355

Ha! That makes perfect sense. Thank you!

>> No.18958363

>Theodore Dalrymple
sounds like one of those faux-british names like nigelton poppybottom

>> No.18958409

I get that. But think of it this way. We tried to publish the book of a dude who taught at a pretty good MFA program for the entire time I was there, and it never got published. He probably referred four students who got deals. He could not have been more connected, and yet, it just never materialized for him. He was the nicest guy about it too, never got down on it. Was always happy for everyone else.

>> No.18958425

was his shit any good?

>> No.18958435

It's a pseudonym deliberately chosen for those connotations. He's a great essayist, though a bit senile these days

>> No.18958446

God, publishers are so fucking obnoxious.

>> No.18958461

Yeah the whole thing sucks. Over the years I grew to respect the self-help and diet agents more than anyone else because at least they came by their bullshit honestly.

>> No.18958479


>> No.18958480

The ones I feel sorry for are the submissions reading underlings at poetry places. Imagine the horrors...

>> No.18958496

I actually kinda did like his book. Or I at least liked that he was going for it. It was like a modern Lovecraft-style deal about a sentient hotel. I think he was reaching for a brand of prose that was just outside of his comfort zone. And also, the "The Shining" comps were not working in his favor.

>> No.18958528

>modern Lovecraft-style deal about a sentient hotel
You'd think he'd have stopped at the planning stage once he realised he was rewriting the Shining. Why go to the effort instead of thinking up a different book? Or did he not realise until he'd finished?

>> No.18958541

OP sounds like a massive fucking retard and you credulous retards are shitting up the board giving this retard the attention he desperately is seeking -- hence his blatant lie of a thread

>> No.18958553

good thread OP

#resistance NPR totebag libs are very real and numerous unfortunately. did you miss the dem primaries?

>> No.18958564

Is publishing Literary Fiction dead?

>> No.18958575

We all await the inevitable Will Self novel about the Death of the Novel, featuring a character called Will Self who murders famous writers
The novel, like poetry, opera or test cricket, is always 'dying'

>> No.18958584

It's a good question. There definitely isn't any conscious laundering going on that I've seen. I would say that the agent who specialized in political memoirs and stuff at our agency was a hilariously bipartisan ambulance chaser. She was in her 60's and would publish Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio on the same day if she could, funny lady.

>> No.18958591

>Financially successful

>> No.18958645

And I don't think we ever did more re-drafts for anyone than that guy. I think I read that book 5 or 6 times. There were some compelling elements, but yeah, he should have dumpstered it. Or at least tried to get a few other books out there. That could've been someone's fourth novel, but not their first.

>> No.18958672

What's your opinon on the general atmosphere of this board?

>> No.18958709

umm, it's a tough one to answer. One of the senior agents I worked with was primarily a literary fiction guy, so that was kind of my world by proxy, and these guys are basically just swinging for the fences. It's a very strange market, because literary fiction is one of the only places a first time author will get a 7-figure deal. It's almost like if the publisher wants to make sure the book has a big push from the jump, they'll give the 7-figure advance almost as part of the marketing budget. Because that will get picked up by the industry news and then there will be a lot of hype around that author, which they hope translates to sales.

So like yes and no. At the top end, you can still be a wealthy agent selling literary fiction. But mid to low tiers is an absolute grind.

>> No.18958830

I like it - it's like everyone here is either at rock bottom or just taking their first steps out of rock bottom, learning to find hope again. That interplay between toxic downwardness and the small glimmers of hope makes for a dynamic atmosphere for sure.

>> No.18958957

Do you see any literary potential brewing?

>> No.18958964

He can’t since he’s a liar and you area Retard for even asking the question

>> No.18958982

Isn't there some "Western civ is fucking doomed" thread for you to hang out in, chief? I can make one for you if you want.

>> No.18958988

Mill yourself, you charlatan

>> No.18959009

I've always dreamed of finding the 4chan savant lurker. I know he's out there.

>> No.18959013

Why are you so angry?

>> No.18959026

You can ask me anything, brother. Happy to help fill in the gaps to move you along, as it seems you're a little stuck at the moment.

>> No.18959049

So I got a few short stories published in my country, but the market is very small.

I started writing in English, only getting rejections.

How do I find an agent for a work written in English if I'm stuck in a country where the agencies willing to look at the piece are only mainstream or slipstream oriented?

Contacted a few agents around the EU, but none work with authors from my country, only wished me luck.

Slush pile life is getting to me already, publishers just don't seem to look at what you send.

>> No.18959081

I just spent a month watching the slush get sorted, after an open submission window at a very well established poetry press in the UK. (Summer internship)
Typos abound, many people made their own covers with Google images and 'wrap text' in Word. There were some really nice pieces of writing, but when I say few and far between, I mean that about 15 of ~1000 were sent letters, with about half of those expected to go to press in the next decade.

>> No.18959154

You've talked a lot about the importance of networking. Where do you find the sort of connections that might be helpful?

>> No.18959180

Is it true it's mostly about contacts and networking than about actual writing talent?

>> No.18959239

There's a book called "MFA vs. NYC" which does a really good job of illustrating the two ways in which people most reliably make those connections. Which happen to be via MFA programs or by moving to NYC. Those are two things that will help enormously. It's a lot to ask, I know. But there's a lot of people willing to do it to chase the dragon.

>> No.18959249

The contacts are to get you in a position to where people are willing to assess your talent. The talent is very, very important, of course.

>> No.18959253

Wait, so if a young, self-taught American author aspires to be published by a respectable firm he HAS to move to NYC?? That's the most soulless thing I have ever heard.

>> No.18959272

No, not necessarily. What I'm talking about is ways of increasing your odds. Moving to NYC, going to workshops and readings, meeting other writers, these are things that will improve your odds. I'm not saying it's a good thing, I'm just saying that's how I've seen it work.

>> No.18959307

Actually, just to put more meat on the bones here because I think it will be helpful. It is hard to overstate how much NYC is the center of the universe for the publishing industry. Every meaningful agency and publisher is here, and tons of MFA programs. If I google "writer's workshops near me" like six different locations will pop up within a couple blocks radius around where I live in Brooklyn. It's really the nexus of writerly things. It's akin to asking about how to get into the movie industry, like don't go crazy if I tell you it helps to go to California.

>> No.18959330
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It seems that for people who don't have the contacts to sufficiently network, working in New Media seems like a smarter outlet to express your ideas. If you make a VN or a game as a no name studio, if the VN/game looks good you could potentially go pretty big. Like VA-11 Hall-A or Hollow Knight.

On the other hand, it sounds like its basically impossible to get into publishing without a nepotisitc in, or if you aren't pursuing the standard pipeline (and even then it sounds more luck than skill)

To me everything in this thread confirms that traditional publishing, and that the novel as a medium of influence is a dying industry and art form. I also find it funny that it looks like they don't even want to adapt as their ship is sinking.

I did a video where I carefully lay out my hypothesis for why I think that the novel is dying, and that VNs of all things could potentially take their place as the next dominant medium that is focused on prose-narrative. If you have the time, I'd love to know what someone who was once involved in the publishing industry thinks about my points.


>> No.18959358

What the hell was that?
Check out Einstein's Beets by Theroux

>> No.18959361


>> No.18959363

How long werethe submissions?

>> No.18959384

>you do actually need to dare to be part of some larger apparatus or community to establish some level of connection to this industry. No one is going to parachute into your home office and buy your manuscript, you need to meet people.

>> No.18959390

Ahh no, most agents exploit it as a simple way to filter what is marketable. Even if a publisher snatches one of those rare examples which take off, the author still gets an agent and that agent gets to charge a nice fee without all the legwork. At most it circumvents the new and unestablished agents but even then the new and unestablished have plenty to work with. It is no different than an unknown author winning a major competition, the reward is not an agent, it is a publishing deal. Don't think you actually have a clue.

>> No.18959413

>Haven't read anything written in the past 30years
> won't read anything written in the past 30 years
> expects to become a novelist.

Half of you chumps don't even read

>> No.18959457

>reading anything from the past 50 years
What’s the point? You have to power through a bunch of shit to get one small gold nugget. Time is a great filter.

>> No.18959474

I'm not entirely sure we're not saying mostly the same thing here. I will disagree with your first point though, that "most agents exploit it as a simple way to filter what is marketable." Most agents don't pay attention to self-published authors and will largely ignore everything to do with that market. At least that was my experience.

>> No.18959477

>the market is in decline
which market in particular?
traditional publishing?
you mean that self publishing is beating the shit out of all these tastemaking shitbrains, right?

>> No.18959491

They obviously do not read every self published author in hopes of finding gold, but they absolutely watch for ones gaining any attention. Self publishing is why the number of contests and journals have decreased in the past decade, there is no reason to dedicate journals and contests to finding authors for popular consumption, the self publishing industry does it better and costs them nothing.

>> No.18959498

Complete manuscripts.
Not kidding, whole books. Forty poems all the way up to two-hundred.

>> No.18959500

Yeah, last I looked traditional publishing was still losing year over year. Weirdly, Audiobooks has grown. Self-publishing continues to grow as well, last I checked. There will be an interesting reckoning for the publishing industry, no doubt. But I wouldn't be so sure that self-publishing is any more benevolent. If you look at the hit books that came out of that market, it's primarily stuff that this board presumably doesn't think highly of.

>> No.18959505

You are only talking about hits though. That's your agentbrain.
Most ppl here would suffice just treading water if they could keep writing.
We have different metrics of success

>> No.18959520

I think that's fair. I won't deny having agent brain.

>> No.18959548

I am thankful you made this thread. I was completely in the dark about a lot of this and have been ghosted by agents forever

>> No.18959568

Slush reading is a real eye-opener. I read short stories for a fairly well respected lit mag in my country and I reject 95% of submissions by the end of the first page. People send out so much stuff thinking it’s a numbers game. I won’t deny that luck is part of it, but skill is mandatory.

>> No.18959574
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>Weirdly, Audiobooks has grown

This actually makes a lot of sense. Again, I go into much more detail in the video I linked in my earlier post (>>18959330). But Marshall Mcluhan was talking about this trend of aural domination in the 60's, and today it has totally manifested.

Listening to something isn't as isolating as quietly having to read something. And many of my generation (zoomers and late millennials) have been conditioned through the instantaneous characteristics of modern technology and the internet to prefer the aural.

>> No.18959580

>Anonymous 08/31/21(Tue)15:53:30 No.1895
ducks, newburyport did this with 'the fact that' and it won the booker. coincidence?

>> No.18959587

What is one work that you found most talked about amongst your peers?

>> No.18959614

Well, in that crowd you mostly talk about which books were popular and why. Like for example, we thought a lot about how in the fuck Karl Ove Knausgård got popular, despite how improbable that seemed. That was a big one. Jonathan Greene really broke the game open by using his youtube as a laser targeted marketing missile for his existing audience. That kind of stuff.

>> No.18959622

>Jonathan Greene really broke the game open by using his youtube as a laser targeted marketing missile for his existing audience.

>> No.18959626

Which author has the most clout in the biz right now?

>> No.18959633

Yeah I'll definitely check it out. I'm very much into emerging digital media - after working in publishing I moved into podcasting and a new linear video project I've working on. Always been a McLuhan guy as well.

>> No.18959637

So the agent is always trying to catch up to the culture? How do intelligent people sit around doing that?

>> No.18959643

>intelligent people
anon, I...

>> No.18959653

Explain, in excruciating and minute detail, exactly how much and what kind of pussy you got. Please senpai, we must know.

>> No.18959654

Oh fuck off. You know what I mean. These people are of an educational background where they ought to know better.

>> No.18959659

I'm not sure I know what you mean exactly, but I would say literature and culture feel pretty symbiotic - predicting trends, reading the #zeitgeist, that's really your trade as an agent. We talked about Knausgård a lot because his books seemed like a complete knuckle ball.

>> No.18959697

There were a smattering of really smart, interesting people there. But in general, I agree, people in publishing can be pretty sheltered. Not a ton of life experience usually.

>> No.18959744
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>These people are of an educational background where they ought to know better.

>> No.18959752

>literary agent expose himself as some patrick bateman 80´s shallow marketing salesmen type. genuinely surprised but i know i shouldnt

>> No.18959815

Huh, I thought this was pretty civil and chill for the most part. Sorry to hear you felt otherwise.

>> No.18959821

don't worry. people here are some of the most naive and sheltered people on the world wide web

>> No.18959844

you literally called yourself a greasy salesmen along the thread.
am i wrong?. a civil conversation doesnt have critiques?

>> No.18959850

>hey buddy, i know that real life is about money, im mature, im adult

>> No.18959857


>> No.18959871

>most manuscripts are edgy/disaffected
so what i'm supposed to sound like a reddit soiboy?

>> No.18959906

Haha, I mean, I said that to be sort of self-effacing... Obviously there's a difference between selling a book that someone went into years long psychic labor to excruciatingly pull out from the aether of their minds, and like, selling used cars. I was trying to be a little funny, ya know?

>> No.18959924

for the most part, your advices make me feel is just theorically different from selling used cars to you. maybe you had some genuine enthusiasm by literature before, but at this point that has gone.
in fact this
>went into years long psychic labor to excruciatingly pull out from the aether of their minds,
talk about your capacity to bend and manipulate situations pretty well. anyway i dont want to personally criticize you, you are just a sympton.

>> No.18959928
File: 2.91 MB, 400x400, 1628264495181.gif [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

TL,DR: You need to have friends in the industry to get published, which requires having charisma and social skill. Basically, Chad wins once more LOL

>> No.18959933
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>> No.18959934

Here's what I would say, fwiw. I would say it can work if your narrator is a fully-realized, and totally separate entity from yourself, with it's own wholly separate arc. But if your narrator is kind of a conspicuous proxy for your voice and your own assorted misgivings, I don't think you will be able to hide it from most readers. I know that'll sound like a weird way to draw the distinction, but there's some strange alchemy there where it's just impossible to hide that it's you and your voice. And there is something kind of artless about that. Again, never read your book, you could be totally doing that separate arc thing already and it's great. Just trying to give more detail on that archetype, as it were.

>> No.18959939

Why does it have to be different from me?
To answer you, my character is an heavily accentuated version of myself. But what happened to 'write what you know' ? ? ? ?

>> No.18959957

I gotta tell you dude, you're like waaaaay off. I'll just say it like this, if you're a psychotic sales person, you don't sweat your balls off for years making 30k, bringing manuscripts home to read every night. You do it because you love books. There's easier ways to make money if you're a psychotic salesman.

>> No.18959964

How do I get Literary Fiction published?

>> No.18959969

twitter has regular events every couple months where authors tweet out a query and agents will "like" the tweet to let them know that they would like to see more from them. Even if you're not participating in it, it's quite interesting to see which queries are good enough to get engagement from agents which could help you in writing better queries.

>> No.18959970

Pathetic incels spend years learning the craft and perfecting their work, only to send dozens of copies to agents and not even get read. He later "self publishes" and sells 3 copies.

Meanwhile, Chad who wrote his novel during his last vacation, just happens to know people in the industry through his immense social circle, he gets referred to a female agent and fuck her brains out mid-interview., he gets published (his picture in the front cover alone makes it a best seller) and becomes personal friends with the execs of the publishing company.

>> No.18959975

when you say your work is one of a greasy salesman after all you hit the nail, and you know it. im not saying you are psychotic. you are just after the money. what kind of retard completely inside of a literary agents world can think something like "oh wow, knausgard, how he do it?, its impossible, only xxxxx can have success". you live in marketing and in a piece of shit world. its like people in hollywood. pathetic in a way.

>> No.18959979

kek the bitterness of this post is palpable
i totally agree though agentjannies are scum

>> No.18959988

>it's own
Confirmed for a hack.

>> No.18959992

The way I'm gonna say this is gonna sound harsh, but I mean it with love. The best way I can say this is: there's a difference between "knowing" what a disaffected narrator sounds like, and not knowing how to not be a disaffected person, who is narrating a book.

>> No.18960001

I do do that from time to time. And I hate myself for it when I don't catch it.

>> No.18960005

Listen man i can take anything you have to say
i genuinely just don't get why you can't speak from the heart and have to sound like a guy writing a guy

>> No.18960011

because it's fiction?

>> No.18960015

>there's a difference between "knowing" what a disaffected narrator sounds like, and not knowing how to not be a disaffected person, who is narrating a book.
What's the difference exactly? can you put it in words?

>> No.18960016

books at the front tend to get a larger percentage in each sales than other books.

>> No.18960019
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>> No.18960023

dumb fucking esl faggot, he obviously meant that knausgård being a hit with normies was a pleasant surprise (of the type that i suspect doesn't come along very often)

>> No.18960029

no, his post means that they never would promote something like knausgard because its too risky. you dont know how shitty this people are.

>> No.18960034

It's about the vantage point, I think. You can have had the experience of being disaffected, and know what that sounds and feels like on an intimate level. But if you are, actually, presently disaffected, it just has a way of making the prose radioactive, in my experience. It's too close to the actual feeling to have that necessary distance that compels it into the genre of fiction, and it makes the reader feel they are reading something closer to a personal journal. Something about that distance is the key.

>> No.18960039

one might get a good idea of what you mean by comparing the bell jar novel to plath's journals from the same time

>> No.18960041

ok so basically what youre saying is take your meds schizo?
thanks that helps

>> No.18960045

>he obviously meant that knausgård being a hit with normies was a pleasant surprise (of the type that i suspect doesn't come along very often)

Thank you! Yes!

What's going on friend, let's talk.

>> No.18960050


>> No.18960053

Solid comparison.

>> No.18960060

isn't that more a matter of polish than any real distance in voice?

>> No.18960066

Haha, not at all. Remember when you talked about sounding like the basedboi reddit guys? What I wanted to say is that though you don't have to go full-onions, you do need enough life experience to know how/when to be vulnerable on the page. If you're too disaffected to be able to channel those other emotional dimensions, then your reader will feel that lack of range. I hope this is still helping, I really don't want to dissuade you from writing this book. You should definitely finish that book, no doubt.

>> No.18960071

Lol, I clearly have not lurked here enough.

>> No.18960077

what he's saying is communicate. there's nothing wrong with putting down your thoughts in a notebook and hiding it in a drawer, but it doesn't automatically make it a piece of art waiting to be discovered. if you're writing a novel, you have to write with _a_ (not _the_) reader in mind (and not in a 'to think i have to dumb this down for the frickin sheeple' way)

and i know that people here love to drag everything back to the greats and the classics and so on, but it's the 21st century and you're most likely not on the level of any of the masters (who dealt with and transcended the various limitations of their time, mind you). you're gonna have to compromise until you become a big shot

>> No.18960085

not dissuading at all dont worry, i have written like 10 books.
but seems to me most of the best writing i do is the closest i get to real feeling, not far away from it
which is why i am confused at this concept
but maybe im so schizo that it just feels real to me when in fact it isnt my experience at all

>> No.18960086

yes, of course, you would publish knausgard when he was a nobody. how can i be so fool to not understand you.

>> No.18960101

i have the feeling that im already doing this 'conversion' implicitly, since what I create looks nothing like a journal
i dont think i am the target of the warning you were giving--to those cringe sorts who write my diary desu shit

>> No.18960103

not in my estimation. the journals are like raw uncut plath straight into your veins, whereas the finished book is a far more mannered affair. it's not a matter of simply redrafting old journal entries and calling it a novel. never conflate the two if you're in the business of making art. plath, being notoriously self-critical, had some good and most importantly very realistic thoughts on novel-writing

>> No.18960118

Invitation to a Beheading, which was written in a "fortnight," is only a good book because Nabokov was already a skilled writer. This automatic quality to writing, when reviewed, appears as a vanity.

>> No.18960125

So just so we're on the same page. I was on the agency side. The agent tries to sell the manuscript to an editor at a publishing house. The agents are always the ones trying to sell cool shit to editors, who never wants to publish the cool stuff because it's usually too risky (since they put up all the money for it). We were legitimately thrilled that My Struggle did so well, we thought it would knock some sense into the publishers who were printing a trillion mom-tier historical fiction novels a year. But you're on to me, so nothing I say matters - I'm just swimming in salesman grease.

>> No.18960126

not that anon but what do you mean by that? apologies, i'm ESL scum

>> No.18960157

We once got a submission which included, in an entirely unironic tone, the line "Pain is bread". I don't think that joke ever got old in meetings...

>> No.18960163

Not sure what the percentage is, but yes books written by politicans on both sides have been used as money laundering schemes. The Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz book (forget which) was"sold" by their campaigns and donors would buy hundreds of copies. The former Mayor of Baltimore had a childrens book and when they were deciding on who to award ownership of a new hospital two different companies bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of the book just before the decision.

>> No.18960165

how many published short stories would an author need to have for you to give them a look even if the query sounded terrible?

>> No.18960181

Oh in that sense, sure yes. I thought he meant that the publisher's themselves were conspiring with politicians/whistle blowers, etc. Which, I have never seen any evidence to suggest that happens.

>> No.18960184

I keep putting apostrophes on things. That's how I know it's getting late.

>> No.18960196

Well it's not necessarily about volume. It wouldn't take many at all if you'd had some published before. But if you're unpublished, in the slush pile, you'd in no man's land whether you have 1 short story or 1000.

>> No.18960225

I'm sure the publishers are in on it to a certain degree or are aware of it. They are not conspiring, but are aware that a number of copies will be bought in bulk and sold in the ways previously mentioned. For Ted Cruz to sell his book through his campaign he had to buy the books from the publisher first. Like another anon said so many of these political memoirs are coming out and even mid level names are getting huge deals. I live in the DC area and maybe I'm just too exposed to national politics all the time, but I can't imagine there is that much of an audience for it.

>> No.18960230

This is going to sound harsh, but your voice sounds very rough in this vid. Would be worth looking into vocal exercises and reading through your script out loud many more times.

>> No.18960238

Last bump before bed, maybe I see yer tomorrow

>> No.18960257

More Pynchon anecdotes, please!

>> No.18960258

>The agents are always the ones trying to sell cool shit to editors,
let me doubt it. you are just a cog of the same machine. it's not like honest "literary agents" vs evil utilitarist editors.

>> No.18960286

I'm not sure if the agent pays an author for their manuscript upfront or if they just agree on a percentage of any potential sale. If the latter it doesn't cost them anything to throw a few "how bout this one. It's really good." and the publisher thinking "this won't sell. So no."

>> No.18960307

Yep, it's the latter. Agents take 15% of what the author earns in advances and royalties from a publisher.

>> No.18960600
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If I buy ads for my book and the cover is pretty, will you check it out?

>> No.18960675

What do you think about Nanowrimo?

>> No.18960678

Adding to this as a person who works in NYC media (not publishing, but certainly adjacent in some respects): everyone who teaches these workshops, MFAs, attends events etc. is someone who knows someone. Networking isn't much harder than signing up and making interesting conversation. Hate to say it, but schmoozing is always effective.

>> No.18960689

So wait, you're telling me all it takes to make it as an author is to go outside, have competent social skills, and be a decent writer? That's it?
/lit/ is doomed

>> No.18960748

tell us, anon

>> No.18960991

the same can be said about the publishers. from time to time publishing companies can deciding promote some decent/brilliant author just because yes or just for loving his work. why not?. if you depend on the publishing industry, if literary agents depends on wheter his authors sell or not, they go, like publishers, 90% of the time, for trite shit. and the literary agent of this thread knows it. there is always exceptions in everything. i doubt he is the kind of literary agent who are always sending cool shit to publishers. (gets a point in this kind of people where what is cool is mixed with that it can sell well) if you read the thread he dont talk too much about pure literary advices, even if when he do he is interesting. but almost all is about promotion and how get inside the "literary environment".

>> No.18961112

this is sadly true for almost all jobs, as I have been discovering at my expenses. Do you have any suggestion on how to get better at this?

>> No.18961116

if you find it, I am also interested!

>> No.18961153

Hahaha haha so funny, so clever. You have my upvote goodsir

>> No.18961192

So my own thoughts and feelings should be just a starting point to build fiction upon. I assume no one can completely dissociate themselves from their writing (nor should they), but the good writers are those who still write fiction and let go of the things that only make sense in their heads and not on the page. Am I getting close_

>> No.18961202

can you tell us something more on pynchon?

>> No.18961257

Is there any pattern to the type of personality that gets published? Chads? Crazy people?

>> No.18961274

What's something that is sought in fantasy that isn't a GoT clone?

>> No.18961399

imagine what someone like thomas berhard can think of an advice like that?.

>> No.18961630

At least in his early work, Bernhard is following that sort of advice. You can always find an example against anything.
Yes, Beckett didn't bother with plot or characters in The Unnamable, but that doesn't mean you should do the same, especially when you are first starting out.
Firstly, it's very unlikely you are as talented as Beckett or Bernhard; and even if you were, you won't get published in today's market writing that sort of thing if you haven't first established your reputation. If you had a couple of books out already, you might get away with it, but as an unknown quantity, no chance

>> No.18961765

>Firstly, it's very unlikely you are as talented as Beckett or Bernhard; and even if you were, you won't get published in today's market writing that sort of thing if you haven't first established your reputation. If you had a couple of books out already, you might get away with it, but as an unknown quantity, no chance
This mentality is the death of art. Write what you want anon. Fuck these hackneyed salesmen that pass as tastemakers. They will all die forgotten, just slightly more wealthy.

>> No.18961784

Who cares?
Beckett spent his whole life in a desperate tryhard cope to be Joyce anyway

>> No.18961796


>> No.18961797

Even Joyce didn't start with Finnegans Wake anon. Beckett didn't start with the Unnamable. They both started with more accessible conventional work before dropping the big experimental piece. If you want to get a work like that out there, it would be better to hold it back for the second or third book rather than your debut. It's not the death of art to plan your career

>> No.18961805

Murphy or More Pricks is far less conventional than Dubliners though

>> No.18961811

kids these days have no patience for that. they want everything now, right away, success and acclaim and a bit of cash, as if their first and only ejaculation is enough of a splash

>> No.18961818

So what your saying is The Learned Disguise was Waldun's first splash of ejaculate

>> No.18961829

to be fair, it was barely a boner

>> No.18961841

this is what i refer in another post. the guy can come here and talk about bernhard and why is bad or good to write like him, instead of that his argument is that you dont get published if you write like that. totally soulless crap that he somewhat probably think is a brilliant pragmatist approach. greasy salesmen are greasy salesmen.

>> No.18961856

he is an agent who came to answer questions on how to get an agent/published, you dumb polack

>> No.18961857

And published 20 years later when Modernism was a more accepted thing

>> No.18961869

Would you rather be told to believe in your dreams?

>> No.18961900

OP here. Just to put more context on this. I'm not saying that writers shouldn't write in their authentic voice. I was asked earlier about things I see a lot of in the slush pile, and I mentioned using that using a disaffected/smarmy/edgy tone for the narrator was common and often not great because it was a thinly veiled proxy for the author's own misgivings. It just feels like an entry level tone to lend to your narrator, and you see it a lot in unpublished work. That's all.

>> No.18961910

That person isn't OP, just fyi

>> No.18961938

If it was easy to will yourself better self confidence and persistence we'd all do it. I think with creative stuff the more you share your work and talk to people in the same boat the better you'll feel - if you stay in your room reading Keats of course you'll feel inferior to him
Even successful people still have the imposter syndrome thing

>> No.18961946

They come in all shapes and sizes. Not a ton of classical chads. But lots of ivy league types. Lot's of introverted MFA types. Lots of academics and teachers. And I would add the vast majority were kind and generous people.

>> No.18961950

Why this comment on this specific style sparked some discussion is that I assume many people here (me included to some extent) write in a similar vein, (which is not surprising for people on /lit/ if they write authentically) and now everyone is wondering what to do about it. Yes, we shouldn't completely bend to expectations, but we also maybe want to get published one day, so it's a concern if we write prime slush pile material.

So, what would you say can rescue these works? If you see a book with this style and you think that it's not really worth pushing forward toward publication, is there any change you think would really help it? I don't really know how to express it, but you get my point. The question is essentially: fuck, what now?

>> No.18962004

So just to make sure we're on the same page, I'm talking specifically to this very common disaffected tone I saw in a lot of work. But I can use this as a launching point to another element of reading slush. When you read enough slush, it becomes very clear that writing that bad writing all sounds the same. Bad writing is often bad because it is tonally colorless, stylistically homogenous, it's the default NPC tone. Much to the contrary of what people have been saying here, as an agent, you are really trying to identify any seedlings of original style in a given manuscript. That's the good stuff.

>> No.18962009

Writing that *is bad. Fat thumbs today.

>> No.18962015

I think we need to be more original. Sum up our generation of disaffected grumps while also writing in a distinctive way unique to yourself.

>> No.18962033

Is there a published example of it that you can give? The book that jumped to mind (that I otherwise liked actually) is "My Tear of Rest and Relaxation".
Hard to be original after all this time while still being intelligible. Not being understandable is unoriginal too these days.
Still, working on it.

>> No.18962058

I think we stumbled on something interesting here. I almost want to get an email going where the disaffected tone writers here can drop their manuscripts and we can go over them in more detail.

>> No.18962071

you must be eighteen to post here, even when you are right.

>> No.18962073

disaffectedanons (at) protonmail.com

>> No.18962078

>please find attached the manuscript of 'The Jews and Their Lies: Why All Girls are Sluts'. It's the first of a planned trilogy of novels

>> No.18962081

What is the best way to know if your work is great before you send it out, apart from self-confidence?

>> No.18962084

I loled

>> No.18962110

holy fuck.. he’s talking about me guys..

>> No.18962114

to clarify, send your shit here and we can critique.

>> No.18962162

Hey OP, your answers have been super helpful to me as I have been struggling with this for a while. Do you mind sharing a way to contact you, Twitter or something? Just so I can get your impression on my query whenever my book is done. I would be willing to pay you.

>> No.18962166

read every bit of it aloud to yourself, preferably a few times over. hear the words

>> No.18962171

In what ways did his books present a knuckleball, if you wouldn't mind telling us?

>> No.18962197

For sure. I might actually set up this email for the thread. Let me get back to you. (and no need to pay! very much appreciate the sentiment though)

>> No.18962260

Sure, so an English translation of a semi-autographical six volume series that aims to dissect the banalities of life is not something anyone expects to be popular in the US. It just really surprised people in the publishing industry.

>> No.18962276

so if i dont want to move to new york city, then the next best thing is an MFA? shit, i don't wanna get another master's degree.

how many guys die every year with a large manuscript on their desk that immediately gets thrown in the dumpster without having been read the day after their bodies get found?

>> No.18962310

I worked near and around a handful of the S-tier contemporary writers at the time, the people winning the big awards and stuff. And to a man, they could hop on the phone with me and basically school me with their encyclopedic knowledge of the best sellers list within like a 10 year period. They of course knew the classics as well, but in particular, what I noticed about them was anything that had sniffed the NYT best sellers chart in literary fiction, they would have either read, or had some amount of familiarity with. It reminds me of like great athletes, in a way. Like, Kobe Bryant is one of the best, but it's because he's constantly watching game footage of the other guys in the league.

I think the only way to know if you're great is to be reading a ton of contemporary fiction in particular.

>> No.18962351

I have some. Practice.

All these porn addicted incel /lit basement dwellers still can’t process this basic truth.

Social skills and charisma are *learnable*.

Go outside. Drive to a place, a store, the mall, anything. Lock eyes with ten people, smile and say “hello”. Literally just start there.

>> No.18962370

Thanks man

>> No.18962381

And just to continue from here. If you're aiming to write that kind of lauded fiction and you're not familiar with the majority of the books on a list like this dating back 20 years, you're probably not putting in enough time on the reading side of things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_winners_and_shortlisted_authors_of_the_Booker_Prize

>> No.18962422

I actually pretty consciously try to exercise that muscle beyond just career implications. Like, I think it's just generally really good for you. Now that lockdown is over (for the most part) in NYC, I've taken to going to bars by myself without my phone. Just trying to be comfortable in my own skin without a crutch. Play some pool with strangers, that kind of thing. It's been really good.

>> No.18962495

>It's not the death of art to plan your career
Hate to break it to you, art has nothing to do with careerism

>> No.18962505

He is not here to give tips on how to make art. He's an agent talking about how to get published first.

>> No.18962617

>anything that had sniffed the NYT best sellers chart in literary fiction, they would have either read, or had some amount of familiarity with
Don't think you can underestimate pettiness as a spur to achievement. Used to hang out with academics, english lit stuff, and one of their main inspirations was not the deathless beauty of the greatest poetry, but getting one over on that asshole across town. I imagine a lot of the top writers are equally petty in trying to keep on top on their own rivals

>> No.18962643

Oh I totally agree. Those conversations were equal parts gossip, flex, and prying for info. People that succeed at that level are pretty transparently insecure. Even forthrightly insecure in many cases.

>> No.18962727


Glib superficiality and strict obedience to custom are both signs of poor character, or more modestly they suggest a lack of creative potential. Not like I would expect some rat to understand, who majored in film marketing or whatever silly thing you said. Do you not recognize the inherent tension between aspiring to be an elite minority (writing good literature) and the self interested pressure to "network" or "be marketable" which amounts to a form of mass appeal and submission. OP read Thrasymachus or Callicles. Idk if I'm mischaracterizing you, but you seem to think highly of the publishing industry, or at least how the industry was during your heyday.

>> No.18962744

>Kobe Bryant

>> No.18962749

Haha, I honestly forgot for a second. Poor feller.

>> No.18962766

If meeting people who are passionate about the same things you are absolutely necessitates a veneer of glib superficiality in your mind, you've got a whole extra set of hurdles to climb, friend.

>> No.18962844


And yes, you're wildly mischaracterizing me, of course.

>> No.18962858


People passionate about the same thing compete with one another. Friendship borne out of mutual aid is only resorted to if there is an advantage to doing so. Which there is in this case, but don't mistake the form it takes as having a good "virtuosity" or essence to it. Friendship is gay, compassion is neither a virtue nor a vice. Though it tends to be a vice

>> No.18962923


I just fundamentally disagree and have seen the opposite of everything you are talking about play out in my former career in publishing. Authors who have a small group of colleagues that are trusted allies and readers have access to a valuable resource that will help them professionally and creatively. Being a self-taught outsider with zero connections is not, generally speaking, a good thing.

I think you mean "virtue"

>> No.18963005


>> No.18963045


>> No.18963178

If networking is not my strong suit, are we completely fucked in unsolicited submissions?

>> No.18963199

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this is a sticking point, but it is a little concerning that people are pushing back on the "knowing people" element of these suggestions.

I'm gonna daddy-up a little bit harder here to drive the point home a bit, because while I'm sensitive to people not knowing what specific things to do, the other group of people who seem to cynically think they are entitled to a book deal without any amount of hustling, I'm not that sensitive to. You guys have to understand, no one knows who the fuck you are. Most people who come out of the Iowa writer's workshop won't get a book deal. There are people commuting for hours on shitty busses to shitty internships in the city everyday (before covid), grinding assistant gigs for half a decade in order to know the right people. You are vying for one of the most coveted creative careers in the world, and are bemoaning having to make a single introduction to even other aspiring authors, let alone professional people in the industry, to let any single human person know who the fuck you are. You guys are going to fail with that approach. Full stop.

>> No.18963202

Unfortunately, it is a near certainty you will be fucked in unsolicited submissions, yes.

>> No.18963265

>implying those people want a book deal
They just want to feel superior without having to actually challenge themselves

>> No.18963331

What should someone do who is currently not even living in an english speaking part of the world but still wants to publish in english? I understand that connections are important, but many people are just not in the position to even attempt making them. Maybe those who have a social media presence can, but that's a small number anyway.

What's left for these poor fuckers? Just query agents randomly and hope for the best?

>> No.18963468

If I'm a white str8 male but I vehemently lie that I'm part Native American and bi and am have started HRT in order to transition, would I get any diversity hire points. Or do you have to be a 300 lbs blue hair disabled mtf Muslima?

>> No.18963482

What is Kerouac like? Nice guy? weirdo, etc? Same with Lowry? How about Nabokov or Burroughs?

>> No.18963559

I think Sterling really loved and admired Kerouac. They very much "made" each other's careers. He famously passed on Burroughs because he was so strung out. Kerouac brought Burroughs in to meet Sterling, but the combination of Naked Lunch being so stylistic unconventional, and him seeming like a person who was basically on his way to the grave, made Sterling pass. Which was a big regret of his.

>> No.18963571

Hmm, are there any writing scenes in your city/country? It might make more sense to write in your native language and get into your local publishing world.

>> No.18963573

Let us know an email before thread death agentjanny kun

>> No.18963585

Ok I actually just made one. Hit me up: agentjannykun (at) gmail

>> No.18963594

What is the minimum word count for a novel these days?

>> No.18963698

Aw man, I've been out of the game too, that goes up and down all the time. I'll say I think I remember sweet spot in terms of sales used to be like ~270. I forget what the explanation was from publishers about why that was their favorite length, something to do with storage or some shit.

>> No.18963703

~270 pages that is.

>> No.18963718

The amount of bitterness in this thread was seriously unreal. Sour grapes plain and simple. They're likely lazy bums too.

>> No.18963731

that's all threads with triple digit replies

>> No.18963741

If networking is very important, what made "aloof" authors like Pynchon, DeLillo, and McCarthy so successful?

>> No.18963750

>super genius tier writers did it so why do i have to meet people waaah
touch grass

>> No.18963758

have sex

>> No.18963760

pynchon is connected, he went to a nice university is friends with other authors

>> No.18963774

he was also a highranking glownigger

>> No.18963794

the aloof act is just an act
dont think that they arent enmeshed in a seedy literary underworld. the shit is freemasonry 2.0
why do you think so many jews are writers?

>> No.18963800

and the schizoposting begins

>> No.18963806

Pynchon married a top literary agent lol.
Yeah and Brady wasn't picked in the first draft, so I guess getting picked in the first draft doesn't matter much, just be the GOAT lol

>> No.18963811

English is my native language, I just live in a different country. I assume there is a writing scene here as well, but I don't speak the local language well enough to write in it.

>> No.18963814

they were literally chads who disregarded the mouthbreathing untermensch of literary society. changed the game and wrote their own rules.

>> No.18963821

Your meds, schizo.

>> No.18963828


>> No.18963830

So this is what I'm talking about guys. The myth that these people didn't do what I'm talking about is very strange and unfounded. Pynchon, for example, got an MFA from Cornell, was heavily published in the student chronicles there, and (checking the wiki now) came out of that program with a bunch of other published authors who he was friends with like Richard Fariña, Kirkpatrick Sale and David Shetzline. There is almost always this kind of backstory for any author you can think of unless it's Henry Darger and his be-penised cherubs.

>> No.18963862

So is there no chance for the /lit/ archetype? I fully understand that networking is king in publishing, but the question people here have is: what if you can't do that for some reason or it's too late because you are an adult with a 9 to 5?

Is trying to find an agent on your own still a viable route? Have you seen examples of successful (or even just published) authors who started off like that? What is the process for those cases?

>> No.18963881

just be yourself, work out, go out more, etc.
it's the same old song
this world is built for chads

>> No.18963992

Well, that depends on what you mean by the /lit/ archetype. If that archetype means someone who is basically too toxic to even participate in an online reading group or a creative writing discord, then yeah you're probably going to need to just work on yourself until you're in a place where you can be more constructive.

Maybe I'll make like a google doc of things to do to get on track to be published when you're not on pace to do so thus far in life. That might be a good exercise.

>> No.18964006

>too toxic to even participate in an online reading group or a creative writing discord
literally me kek

>> No.18964008

>Maybe I'll make like a google doc of things to do to get on track to be published when you're not on pace to do so thus far in life. That might be a good exercise.
This would be really helpful, thanks so much

>> No.18964029

Not exactly what I meant, but that makes sense. I mean someone who has no prior connections to publishing just a book. Going this route of trying to make these connections is necessary for them?

That google doc would be really helpful actually.

>> No.18964033

As I'm thinking about this, I do want to respond to this anon one more time. Because now that I think about it, you actually have it completely backwards. Moving somewhere else to pursue a dream actually ranks very high on the soul meter. Staying in place and never taking any risks will diminish the soul, brother.

>> No.18964060
File: 79 KB, 500x334, comfy.png [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

>joined 10 discords over the course of 3 years
>banned or ragequit all of them
>comfy in the knowledge i was in the right in every instance

>> No.18964068

OP, this thread is about to hit the bump limit, can you make a new one?

>> No.18964179

yerp: >>18964176

>> No.18964180

>unless it's Henry Darger and his be-penised cherubs.
Based Henry Darger poster. Sometimes I think I wouldn't mind being a writer/painter like him; just minding my own business, creating my own world (demiurge-eske) and then dying in obscurity without EVER asking anyone their opinion about my damn work.
That guy is a weirdo hero, in many senses.

>> No.18964188

sneed feed and seed
fuck jannies fuck discord and fuck jew york
i will go the gardner route

>> No.18964195

>i will go the gardner route
Become a drug abuser with no sense of syntax?

>> No.18964199

sup gardner

>> No.18965161

You will never be a writer.

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