I wrote this last year after to be a warning to other writers but I never got around to publishing it. So since it was sitting on my hard drive I figured I would share.
How to lose an agent in 30 second.
I’m one of those judgmental jerks, who snickers and laughs when people make colossal mistakes in their writing. However whenever I get too full of myself, life has a tendency to bitch slap me. When I am in a socially awkward situation, I tend to revert back that snotty middle schooler who lives deep inside of me. Possibly the most socially awkward event is a writer’s conference. It was my first one, I was alone, I was sick and my middle school self was in hyper mode.
The conference started out fine, I introduced myself to a woman, we chatted, we wrote similar styles. She was nice and I instantly liked her
Then we moved into the first session where an overzealous, overachieving, high schooler sat down next to me. Behind us was the agent he had a session with. He turned to her and asked her if she would read his stuff now, because, “Ten minutes is not a lot of time.” Jackass. No, ten minutes is not a lot of time, but agents are people to and you should respect their time, follow the goddamn rules, you’re not entitled to more time because you think you have the next great novel, or whatever the hell you’re writing. Surreal poetry I think it was. Everyone in this room has a novel, poem or non-fiction book they think should be published, just because you got your pubes yesterday doesn’t make you special. Did you note my pretentious attitude? My middle school self also has a big vocabulary.
I watched the agent panel and instantly knew the woman I has my meeting with wasn’t going to get me. Sigh. She’s got middle-aged mom who has forgotten how to laugh written all over her.
At this point, I should mention I was getting the onset of flu, not the swine flu as the media had been covering constantly at the time, but just a general everyday, kick your ass flu. I felt like crap. My sinuses wanted to break through my skull, like in the scene in Alien but with my face not my stomach. During a session about the publishing industry, I sneezed twice and the old man in front of me got up and left. I was highly insulted.
I ended up leaving and going home for lunch, since I lived fifteen minutes away from the conference. Did I use this time to prepare for my agent session? No, I took a nap on the couch while my daughter watched Blue’s Clues. My sinuses now no longer wanted to leave my body, instead there was a constant and dull pressure squeezing my mind.
I returned to the conference in time for my agent meeting. I started to get nervous. Very nervous. Here’s the thing, I didn’t have anything to pitch. I signed up for the meeting and paid $30 because I had a few questions and I wanted an agent’s answer. I had written two novel, one of which is on draft eight and still has at least two more draft to go before it’s ready for the query letter process, the other is on draft two. Neither of them were ready to be pitched.
I waited outside, pacing back and forth, saying ‘don’t shake her hand because I don’t want to get her sick.’ And most importantly I reminded myself not to pitch the books.
She came out and made eye contact with me, I walked over, and shook her hand. Crap. Then I uttered this phrase, “I’m sorry I shook you’re hand, I’m sick and I didn’t want to get you sick.” Wait for it… wait for it. “The old dude in front of me thought I had the swine flu.” Yep. There are so many things wrong with this sentence I don’t know where to be begin.
And things got worse from there.
To be continued tomorrow.