Monday, June 21, 2010

Dude Is Serious

So, one of the literary agents who proposed (and kind of outlined in an email) that I work with him on a book about rejection sent a follow-up note asking how long I need to think it over. Guess why? He has a client/writer who wants to write the book he's proposing. He wanted to give me right of first refusal of their book. And here's what's true mice: there is no copyright on ideas, not even blog ideas/book ideas. If I want to write a book on rejection, I need to write it now. Or am I being coerced into answering sooner than I'm ready? I might have to write his book, which goes as follows, and I quote:

  • Have submitted letters from famous authors writing about their early rejections
  • Maybe some samples of the funniest or meanest rejection letters received
  • Have submitted notes from publishing insiders willing to share stories about books they rejected which went onto great success 
  • Include the rejection letters we receive for your book about rejection
  • We may even go for The Record. As far as I know ZEN and THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE holds the record with 121 rejections
Not sure if this is exactly the book I'd want to write.  I think mine would have more of a narrative through-line, you know? Well, anyway, I didn't realize he had a deadline on my decision. Am I interested in writing this book?  Honestly, I'm not sure when I could get to it. 


Johanna said...

Hasn't this been done? Shapiro most recently. And there's another one, can't remember the title. It was amusing, but that's all. Rejection is great for a blog, but I don't know about a another whole book on the subject.
And I'd think long & hard about collaborating with someone, especially someone I didn't know. No, I take that back. I wouldn't think long & hard. I just wouldn't do it.

Anonymous said...

Eh. It's not the book you want to write, and he's pressuring you and even threatening to give "your" idea to someone else. Let his other writer write the book. You can write your own rejection book (one that I would probably be WAY more interested in than this boring, expected book he outlined) in your own time.

Anonymous said...

Run, do not walk, away from this book. There is enough shite in the marketplace. Though you can't copyright ideas/blogs, what this dude is after is your credibility as a blogger--i.e. the story that will sell the story. It's bogus. Flattering, for sure, but amateurish and, ultimately, creatively bankrupt. I mean, hell, why not write for the J. Peterman catalogue if you're willing to do this? Not worth your time and talent.

heynonnynonymous said...

Agree...don't do it!

Anonymous said...

Do the book your way and then shop it around. You don't owe Pushy Agent anything, do you? He may think it's an original idea, but what's actually original is YOU. The way you would write it: your story and your sensibility and what you would choose to include.

The Rejection Queen said...

This guy sounds shady.

The Rejection Queen said...

BTW---do you have to write this book before he signs you on? So does it mean that after you write the book about rejections he can decide whether or not to reject it? Or is he going to sign you on for this project?

Anonymous said...

just do what I always do: make the deal and then write the memoirish book YOU want to write. editors don't want to edit anyway so they will leave the ms largely untouched.

Chazz said...

You don't want to write this book as presented do you? Then don't.

I've been approached for several ghosting projects. I once had to find out the hard way that if I wasn't enthusiastic right away, I shouldn't be doing it.

Also, the agent's pushy bit would push me away. This has been done. I love the blog, but for the book he suggests? Honestly? I'd browse it at the bookstore rather than buy it. The sales record of similar books surely reflect that reality.

What's going on with the agents who have the book you really love?

Z said...

Yes, I've seen books about the rich and famous and their rejections/failures. It's a bathroom sort of book: You know: short, punchy chapters, oh say, about a crap long and an inch deep. (Sorry. But some things just need to be written crudely, abruptly; after very little reflection. It doesn't mean, however, that you need to be the one to write it.)

A book about rejection---with a narrative arc---sounds painful. But lovely.

A book about your father and your writing. Oh. And about rejection, too. Of which, I think? You know a bit?


PS---my word verification to send this to you is LITRE.

I think that speaks volumes...

clarification needed said...

are you supposed to write this anonymously as WR, or would this be published under your own name? or are you ghostwriting it?

if it's just ghostwriting, I say take the money and write whatever the hell the client wants. i assume you're not a stranger to freelancing.