Sunday, July 29, 2007

Urban Legend?

I once knew someone who worked briefly in a literary agency and told a story about one of the crazy agents who insisted on rejecting people from the slush pile using a fake name based on a famous movie character.

This diabolical scheme allowed that if the rejected writers ever tried to make contact by writing a letter, or sending another manuscript, the whole agency would know because the writer's letter would be addressed to Norma Desmond or Holly Golightly, or who knows, even Marge Gunderson.

And you thought they didn't treat us like monkeys.

8 comments:

the individual voice said...

Thank you for so many good laughs on such a sad, sad subject.

The Quoibler said...

For some reason, I thought of the very infantile "name" I.P. Freely.

If I were a diabolical agent, I think that would be one of my top choices. Oh, and also I.M. Hott.

:)

Thorn said...

Marge Gunderson, yah.

I have thought the same thing about my line of work when I ask for the such and such person at a company. Sometimes the outgoing voice mail message has a name so outlandish that I'm sure it's fake and fiendishly designed so that whenever a hapless person calls back and asks for this name, they all laugh their heads off. I wouldn't put it past anyone.

Anonymous said...

Dear Blanche Hudson:

Thank you so much for the cruel, delusional rejection, which I took as an encouragement to send more work (just to torture you). You may think that I'm terrible, but just remember this is your job, as long as you sit in that rejecting chair. 'And ya AAH, Blanche. Ya AAH in that chair!' So get reading and rejecting and stop complaining!

((It could get to be fun, trying to guess the name of the movie character/faux agent.))

editor, rejecting said...

We wouldn't treat writers like monkeys if you didn't act like monkeys. No means no. A rejection doesn't mean "try again later" or "revise and resubmit" or "we're just not a good fit", it means you're not good enough. When you get a rejection, suck it up and try someone else, keep trying until you find someone with low enough standards to take you on, but for the love of god don't keep pestering someone who's already had to wade through your dreck once...that's just cruel.

Writer, Rejected said...

Iit means, 'you're not good enough.'"

Ah, Darling, now you're talking. (Finally, friends, we are getting somewhere) So, editor rejecting, why don't you just say so?

rmellis said...

Editors are jealous of writers. Really, they wish they could do it, but they can't...

Anonymous said...

I know this is a very late comment, but I just wanted to add that being "good enough" is meaningless in publishing. Publishers look for what's popular. Good manuscripts don't get published just like good movies don't play at the theater. Theaters will gladly pass on a 4-star movie and play a mindless 2-star movie if it will bring in more money. There is a difference between art and business-- and as the so-called editor comment proves above, agents and editors are businesspeople and know nothing about art.