Last of the Mohicans


dodoI still have an agent blog in my feed reader.

I have no idea why. I’ve decided with full finality I’ll not be pursuing the gatekeepers and their system of self-predation and capriciousness, arbitrary and ridiculous. I’ve shaken the dust of their desiccated cadavers from my feet long since, and have set my shoulders firmly against them. I rant against them, and will try with all I am to dissuade any writers I see from going that route.

Yet I keep one agent’s blog in my feed reader. When something pops up, I mark it as read without reading it, and then go on through the rest of my feeds.

I don’t know why this is. She’s not particularly helpful or insightful – I mean, if she were insightful she’d have jumped off this sinking ship before now – but I left her in there. She’s got nothing to say I need to read. Recently she shared some rejections she’s gotten from “publishing” houses on projects she’s submitted. How’s that helpful? Well, for sycophants, it showed how we all have to deal with rejection, even us gatekeepers, by golly. But for someone like me, it just showed more of the subjective stupidity which is, and has been for many, many years, the publishing industry.

All the editor statements made me laugh. They said things about how they didn’t feel this, it didn’t do that for them. None of them said anything concrete or objective. How can they? You read a bit of writing and you either like it or don’t. It’s completely subjective. And no one, NO ONE, should be making a living by voicing their opinions. There should be no such thing as a paid critic. Why do we need that? What need does that fill, seriously? The need for those fat-cat fat-a$$es to raise a fork to their pudgy lips is all I can see.

Anyone, and everyone, is a critic. Why should they get paid for it? I can insult you for free, why go to them? If I like you, I can praise you out the wazoo and blow sunshine up your skirt with the best of ‘em. So why not pay me? I need the money more than they do.

But this agent’s blog remains a part of my feed, and I can’t say why. I guess it might be because she’s a sister in Christ, but she doesn’t really say anything overtly Christian in her posts. She’s pretty well known around the Internet now, but I’m not going to be trying to comment on her sycophant list any time soon. She doesn’t know me or care what I think. Why should I leave her on my blog?

I’m tempted to do so to find out how long it takes for the last dodo to die, the last dinosaur to breathe its last, for the last of the gatekeepers to finally cease, expire and fall to the dust and ruin they’ve created around their own feet.

I’m loving the decay and the crumble, though I’ve no ill-will sentiment toward this person.

I don’t know why she’s there, honestly. Maybe I’ll unsubscribe soon. I follow her on Twitter after all. If she says something interesting I can always chase it down from there.

What do you think? Do you still follow agent blogs, if you ever did? Or are you turning the corner to the future?

-JDT-

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5 thoughts on “Last of the Mohicans

  1. Oh, sweet. Free insults!

    Sure, step right up! Plenty to go ’round!

    Yeah, I’ve cut out all agent-type blogs from my reader. I follow a couple of writers whose fiction I don’t read, but they’re successful (sales wise), so I like to keep an eye on what they’re doing. I also follow a couple of writing teachers whose articles I find useful. That list has diminished to two or three only now. Other than a few friends, that’s pretty much it for me.

    What writing teachers? I might like a go at those. But this agent…I dunno why I leave her hangin’ around. I still follow Nate Bransford, too, though he’s not an agent anymore (I started following him when he was). I guess he can go too, even if his blog is technically a writer’s blog now.

    • Right now it’s just Randy Ingermanson and Larry Brooks. They’re starting to seem awfully repetitive to me, though, so I may drop them and find some one else to follow for a while, just to keep things fresh and inspiring.

      Ingermanson’s been repetitive for years. Larry pitches himself a bit too much. I’ve heard some criticism on his ebooks about it making its way in there, too. I loved the method he taught me, but I don’t know if there’s much else he can give me either. If you do find someone, though, let me know. I’m always looking to pick up new stuff. Thanks, B! 🙂

  2. You know I’m still (annoyingly ;P) straggling the fence between the two. Because of that I tend to watch agent and editor blogs, but I actually watch indie authors mostly (Konrath included). I don’t know, I don’t see the issue the way you do, you know? I see traditional publishing as an option for those who can’t hack — or want to hack — self publishing. Though I think publishing in general needs to change and is already doing so.

    First of all, you don’t “straggle” a fence, goofy. Straggle means to wander from a direct course, which you’re doing, to wander away, to spread out. And yes, you’re doing all those things, WHICH IS REALLY ANNOYING. But then, I was pretty annoying in my youth too. What you do to a fence when you don’t stand on one side or the other of it, however, is STRADDLE. Your vocabulary lesson for the day. And look, no charge. How awesome is that?

    But I think you’re so misguided about the legacy system. It’s extinct, and will only be a niche market. It’s not going to literally vanish from the Earth, but it’s going to become a small industry. One which appeals to a specific person and carries premium prices. It’s sort of like a travel agent. Remember them? You’re probably too young to. But once upon a time, they dotted the landscape, an acne outbreak of work-from-home types and more serious players looking to cash in lucrative vacation spending. But you know what happened? Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Priceline.com, Orbitz.com…and on and on ad nauseum. Like Joe Konrath said, Wikipedia — which is itself in desperate trouble now because of the lack of screening and using only volunteers to put up their “information” — took the encyclopedia industry down a few notches. Phone books? Still there, but how often do you use that instead of looking up the information online? The Internet (and yes, it’s a proper noun so it should be capitalized) has revolutionized a lot of things, as technology always does. Why do people like you expect this industry to be exempt? Why do you expect it to be able to continue on in the criminal way it has up to now? And why, pray tell, would you WANT it too?

    It’s designed to keep untried, unproved (or is that proven? darn, I can never get those right) authors — like YOU, sweetie — out of the industry. It’s sad, because you’ve got talent and a lot of people are going to love your work, but you’re not going to get that chance through the gatekeeper system, odds are. (I can always be wrong, too; maybe they’ll fall all over themselves for your work when they see it.)

    Why anyone wants to cling to that is beyond me. It’s like hoping eye surgery is still done with scalpels instead of the much-better laser surgery. Or hoping you can still buy cars built like they were in the early 1970s, rather than with the much improved performance, power and technology of modern cars. Why go that way? The vast majority of sales will be digital from now on.

    Just sayin’. Annoyingly, I hope. ;P

    • One of the biggest problems is that the publishing industry wasn’t able to grow to keep pace with the amount of authors and fiction being written. Slush piles and submissions became too deep to wade through efficiently or effectively.

      However, there are plenty of readers out there to help sort out the good from the bad now. So, yeah, due to size, the industry needs that “distributed processing.” If the big six had looked for and found a way to harness that rather than ignore it, they might still be viable.

      Well said, Bryce. They chose to block readers and remove them from the equation in their arrogance and assumption they were needed to “keep out the bad work” — rather than using the power of readers as a way to get through the submissions. I’ve been seeing those “read books for publishers” scam ads for years. If even ONE publisher had actually, legitimately thought of doing something like that, and paying a small amount per manuscript, they might have found enough fiction to keep them relevant and enough interest from the buying public to make them solvent. Now they have neither, and the world doesn’t need them anymore.

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