Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Tale of Two Queries part 2

This will be the first post I put a disclaimer on.

Disclaimer: Do not, under any circumstances, take this story as sound "agent-getting" advice. It is not, and in most circumstances it will make sure that the agent in question never, ever works with you. And I'm not sure how in-touch these guys are with each other, but from what I've heard it's not uncommon for them to share stories. Don't get black-listed by trying something crazy like this.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, it's query week here at My Brain Hurts. Last post, I told the story of how my agent and I started working together. Which is a pretty out-of-the-ordinary story. If you think that's odd, though, wait until you see this next one. I cannot recommend following this man's example, but it worked for him and I'm happy for him. Here it is.

The Craziest Man On Earth - or - How One Lunatic Got Himself a Top Notch Agent

Greg (his name isn't really Greg, I've changed it to protect the innoc--er, guilty) was a writer. A very good writer. He had recently finished his second book (the first hiding safely in his drawer, where it will stay forever more) and decided he needed an agent to help him get it out there. And of course to make money in the process. A writer's gotta eat.

He bought the latest volume of Writer's Market, he joined all the websites, he even sent a query to the wonderful blog Ms. Janet Reid started called Query Shark to have it ripped apart so he could put it back together again.

Unfortunately, he was met with rejection. It was all very nice rejection, mostly personal, telling him it was really good, but just not right for the agent, and could Greg please send anything else he has when it is ready? Which was cool, but definitely not as cool as getting an agent would have been.

So Greg decided to step it up a notch. In the writing world, this next notch is known as "Conference-Mania." Greg took out his trusty Writer's Market and looked up every conference in his price-range (which wasn't very many, as Greg's "day job" consisted of cleaning up bathrooms at the local middle school). Luckily, one was coming up right in his city next week. What luck!

Greg attended the conference, five copies of his manuscript printed out and weighing down his messenger bag like he'd packed a cinder block for lunch. He also had 10 flash drives with the manuscript in it. He was GOING to get himself an agent today. No matter what.

So, after what he considered a very unsuccessful event (most of the agents had had similar reactions to the ones he queried, i.e. want to see other, different work by him) Greg was convinced no one could see the genius he had produced. (And after having read Greg's book, I agree - those guys were crazy not to scoop him up.) Greg then resigned himself to the hotel bar and proceeded to get drunker than he had ever been in his life.

Two hours into his bender, a very famous agent, one who had given a panel at the conference earlier (we'll call him Mr. Fancy Pants for the purposes of this story) walked into the bar, also drunk. Greg recognized him and, drunk as he was, decided he would let a little steam out on Mr. Fancy Pants.

"You suck, you know that? You suck so bad." Greg tells him. (This would be about the time I tell you not to follow in Greg's footsteps."

"Yeah. I know," says Mr. Fancy Pants. "My wife pretty much said the same thing not five minutes ago."

"Yeah, well, apparently I also suck."

"Well, since we both suck so much, why don't I buy my fellow sucker a drink?" Mr. Fancy Pants orders Greg another round of what he was drinking. (Which is triple shots of Jameson, if you're wondering. Greg has something of a drinking problem.)

The two of them get to talking, Greg tells Mr. Fancy Pants he heard him speak and maybe he didn't suck too badly.

"Hey, do you like hookers?" says Mr. Fancy Pants.

You can see where this is going. I won't give you the gory details; suffice to say that Greg and Mr. Fancy Pants spent the rest of the night looking for hookers and not finding them. They part company around dawn the next day as friends, saying they will get together and drink whenever Mr. Fancy Pants is in town.

The next monday, Greg gets a call. It's Mr. Fancy Pants.

"Hey, I assume it was no mistake you left your manuscript in my car. Well, I read it. Holy shit. Let's get this published."

And Greg had himself an agent.

See? There are happy endings even without hookers.


  1. *snarf*
    I hope Greg realizes he is one lucky bastard. Anyone else would've been blacklisted after a stunt like that.

  2. Oh, trust me, Greg is the luckiest bastard there is and he knows it. He also hasn't looked for any hookers since, which I consider a good thing.