2011-05-27

Readers Are Morons

Have you seen this post at Rachelle Gardner's blog?  (She's an agent.)

The gist of it, as far as I'm concerned, is that readers are morons.  Why?  Because unless your book is vetted by the big NY publishers, you won't know what to read!  ::gasp!::  You won't know where to find the books you need to read!  ::double gasp!!::

Please.

Is this how agents feel about us, the lowly public?  Cast aside the whole writers thing; think like a reader.  Remember that first time you read through a book and understood the story?  Remember when your mother/father/relative encouraged you to read, read, read?

So in Ms. Gardner's insular (ooo, a gold star word!) world, readers are idiots who can't find their way around books without a leash of some sort.  And she thinks that indies/self pubbers aren't going to be serving readers?  In what way?  Self pubbers are eliminating the middlemen (agents) and serving up their stories directly to readers; readers will then decide whether a writer and his/her stories are worth their time, by buying or turning a blind eye to their stuff.

The writers who continually produce crap will fade from the scene.

The NY publishing world will keep recommending "safe" books to their bosses, while self pubbers and the small independents out there will keep putting out "unsafe" books: those that NY deems unworthy of publication.  Self pubbers and the small independents will do something that NY hasn't done in a while.

They'll give the readers what they want.

Power to the people! :-)

12 comments:

Angie said...

I think right now, agents are frantically babbling out anything they can think of that might save their jobs. [shrug] It sounds like this one will hope that writers will forget to think like readers and believe her, such that they keep thinking they (the writers) can't exist without agents. She's grasping at any stick of wood in her attempt to keep from drowning.

Angie

Nancy Beck said...

Angie,

I think you're right. Agents are scared, plain and simple, and, yeah, they're saying anything, anything that pops into their heads, whether it makes sense or not.

I still do that myself, BTW, so I understand that part of it. But when you're in a position of some importance...my mind boggles.

Should've just kept her mouth shut. Just sayin'.

Michael said...

Great post! I agree. Why should any author's work need to have the approval of anyone other than the reader? Agents weren't always around... were they?

Angie said...

Michael -- no, there weren't always literary agents. Hollywood had them first, and it sort of spread. :/ The whole, "OMG, you can't sell a novel unless you have an agent!!" belief snuck in 20-25 years ago, somewhere in there.

Angie

Nancy Beck said...

@Michael,

Angie's right. It seems that once Hollywood developed the whole agent thing, it spread to the literary world. It just took a while to stake a claim.

And there were agents around in the 60s and 70s, but I think Angie's right, in that it's only been in the last 20 years or so where writers have been told it's mandatory to have an agent.

Nancy Beck said...

One last thing about agents and big, commercial publishers: I've read on Dean Wesley Smith's blog how he's sent and deals with editors at those same publishers...the ones that say no unagented material.

In fact, if you look at some of the comments at his site, you'll see one writer (Laura Resnick) who has done just that, and someone recently (don't remember the name) who took one of Dean's courses on submitting directly to editors. That person received a reply back stating that if he/she made a couple of revisions, the editor would look to have his/her book published.

That writer said he got a good chuckle because the editor wrote back on a boilerplate letter that had NO UNAGENTED MATERIALS on it.

Who would've thought that you could circumvent the agents that way, even with the no agent mantra being shouted from the rooftops of every big publisher?

Yet another myth, as Dean would say. :-)

Angie said...

Right, back when writers were in the habit of wandering by the publisher's office and handing manuscripts to editors personally (or if the editor was out, tossing them over the transom into a big heap that looked like a slushy pile of snow) an agent was someone who could do the handing of the manuscript for a writer who didn't live in New York. It was a convenience, not a necessity.

It was only later that the publishers decided they could save themselves some money (by laying off some editors) if they pushed the slush-reader job off on the agents.

Angie

Angie said...

the editor wrote back on a boilerplate letter that had NO UNAGENTED MATERIALS on it.

I remember that story! :D Yes, that pretty much says it all right there.

Angie

Nancy Beck said...

Angie,

Funny thing about slush readers. My sis-in-law did that for a short period of time when she lived in NYC. She told me a couple of stories that had me ROFL. One guy sent his manuscript in a pizza box, and I think there was still some old cheese stuck on it.

Another one had a cover letter, stating the publisher just HAD to publish his Great American Novel because it was so good, blah, blah, blah. Oh yeah? Sis-in-law said it ended up in the trash bin (naturally).

Just boggled my mind at the silly things people do. :-)

Angie said...

I read somewhere that an idiot writer sent his manuscript in a pizza box with a pizza in it because he thought it'd help his chances of getting published if he, like, gave the editor something to read while he read. Or something. [wry smile] You really do have to wonder what some people are thinking.

Angie

Angie said...

Umm, sorry, should've been something to EAT while he read.

Angie, hiding under her keyboard

Michael said...

Nothing says you're a good writer like a hot slice of pizza, I guess. I've heard stories of writers making bribes, but never with a pizza!