Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Dear Temple,
I hope this note finds you well and happy. I screwed up today. Since I'm home now and don't interact with as many adults as I used too, I'm obsessing about it. Here's what happened. I wrote on the 18th in my letter to you that my literary agent and I had 'acrimoniously' parted ways. I didn't mean that. Acrimoniously isn't a positive word and there has been nothing but positive in every interaction I've had with her, until today and it's my fault.
Here's what's going on - I've had some recent personal changes that have made it difficult to be able to afford to pay my agent, per our contract, the money it takes to send out queries and manuscripts to her contacts in publishing companies. Before I go on I would like to point out to the fifty or so people who read these letters every day, that paying an agent certain costs associated with copying and sending out query packages isn't a ridiculous thing to do. There is a general consensus surrounding agents that if you have to pay any costs the agent isn't a good one. These people say that if the agent is reputable, they won't take any money until the work sells and they get their percentage.
I used to have an agent like that. She is now out of business.
Times are tough right now and the publishing business suffers just like the rest of us. Publishing houses, more than ever, are wary of investing in a new author because there is not guarantee on their investment. Why publish somebody nobody has ever heard about when you can find something that is a sure sell? Get my drift? We'll continue -
Gone are the days where a book can be turned in unedited and hand-written on coffee stained legal pads. Publishers want a polished and finished project. Nothing else will be considered. When I first sent my work to my current agent she told me she wanted the project, but it needed editing. She offered to edit it herself, for a fee and then would represent it. Her price was reasonable, but more than I could afford. She told me that if I had the work edited by someone else, she would still take it for representation. Several months later I found an editor that was looking for new clients, and was offering to edit for half of what she normally charges.
I could afford that and took her up on the offer. Several weeks later, I got back my edited novel. It took me several more weeks to make the changes and then I brought it back to the agent. She read the book again and, true to her word, she offered to represent my novel. I've invested a lot of money in myself and my work and I see paying these monthly charges as part of my investment. If the book sells, I will easily make the money back and more.
In my contract are certain charges that I pay in order to assist in the costs of sending out packages to publishers. These costs are reasonable. What comes out of it is professional and goes directly to my agent's contacts within the publishing houses. These are people who wouldn't look twice at anything I did, unless they saw my agent's name on it. They trust my agent not to waste their time, so my book gets read.
So my agent, because she is a kind person, was willing to let me out of our contract. She offered me well wishes and told me to get in contact with her if anything changed financially in the future.
Then she read the blog post.
Now she's upset and is unwilling to let me out of the contract, because she feels I've lied to her. I've tried calling her, Facebook messaging her, and e-mailing her and as of this writing haven't gotten a response. I said something stupid and am trying to make up for it. It's kind of like dating.
This reminds me of a story about when I was in second grade. Back in school I called another kid a really nasty word and didn't know it. I know you're not a little kid anymore and know more swear words than I would like to believe, but you may not know this one - so I won't write it here.
I was just playing around with the kid's name and suddenly his face dropped.
"I never thought you would call me that," he said. He went to go tell the teacher. As he was ratting me out I called across the crowded room.
"I just said ****! I said ****! There's nothing wrong with ****!"
The teacher took me aside and explained to me the meaning behind what I said. I was embarrassed, but on the brighter side I probably gave her a story to tell her friends for the rest of her life.
The mistake I made on the previous blog post is even more embarrassing because when you throw around big words you should really know what they mean. I should have learned something in second grade.
We'll I'm off to check me messages and hopefully she'll forgive me and still be willing to help. We'll see. Sometimes mistakes cost you. I made one. I plan on learning from it.
I love you much and miss you always,
Uncle Justin

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