Monthly Archives: February 2009

Things you shouldn’t send in the mail

1. Processed cheese slices ( they don’t fit in the envelope well and arrive all broken and moldy)
2. Poutine (even in bubble wrap it just doesn’t taste the same)
3. Marshmallows ( going through the sorter just seems to squish them all into mush)
4. Liquor – (the small hotel room bottles are acceptable but the big ones seem to get swiped by the postmen)
5. Business Cards ( you are risking identity theft- you can’t be too careful even if they were from Staples and only cost 25 cents )
6. Self-published books ( why add one more thing to put you into debt by mailing them out to people?)
7. Oxygen bottle refills ( don’t ask- you wouldn’t understand)
8. Cheques ( they say they are in the mail- but we all know differently don’t we)
9. St. Patricks Day book ( I don’t know why but a friend told me that hers was stolen out of her mailbox one year and it made her sad)

I was going to round it out with 10 items, but then that would be predictable and we can’t have that can we!!

Tip Number 4: Don’t send your agent requests for you to be on Oprah. We hate that- and in light of recent news events it’s probably not your best interest to be on there in the first place, especially if you write a fake holocaust book.


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Taking Pride in Your Work

Taking pride in one’s work is both a blessing and a curse. I prefer to think it’s a curse. If anyone has ever worked in menial labour job they know exactly what I mean. For example, I have a friend who works in a retail store on the weekends part time to make a little extra money. It’s certainly not the job that University prepared for her and she really has no plans to stay there, but for now it gives her a little extra stability while her other business takes off.

I know lots of people who have part time jobs, although not all of them have pride in their work. She is constantly telling me tales of how her co-workers slack off while she is left to finish the work that they don’t care about. What drives her to do this? Why should she care so much that everything is done correctly? Does anyone know the answer to this question?

By being conscientious about her work, fixing other people’s mistakes, showing up on time, and being a responsible worker, she has inadvertently become an enabler for all those that display poor working habits. Through her hard work and toil they are becoming successes. Albeit she’s not sure what successful heights they are reaching- since it’s in retail, but nonetheless, she isn’t making her life any richer by helping them.

Why then does she continue to toil at this thankful job, picking up after all those co-workers who happily try to do the least amount of work possible- while earning the same money? I think it’s because she’s basically a good person, and even though she will refuse to admit that until her dying day, the fact of the matter is that she actually cares what people think about her and that would mean death. And really is it so bad to be good?

Now excuse me while I go knock back another scotch and think of some more amazing items to discuss on my blog.

p.s Tip number 3: Remember when they say clean up in aisle 2- it’s best not to look.

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Calling in sick on yourself

You know it’s very difficult to call in sick when you are self employed.

You have to find a cell phone ( since I don’t own one- don’t get me started..I know…I know… how does an agent function without one- but I do very well thank you), and once you find one ,you have to dial and hope you get the answering machine so you don’t have to explain just how ill you really aren’t.

If you are lucky enough to get your own answering machine then you can say the rehearsed speech with a really ill sounding voice ( If you are a girl you can sound sexy like Lauren Bacall) and maybe you’ll get away with not having yourself call you back and demand you show up.

Today was one of those days. I just couldn’t answer one more phone call or open one more manuscript so I called in sick. I know I’ll regret it, my paycheque will reflect it, but until they can come up with a way to give sick days to the self-employed I’m afraid I’m going to have to suffer with the lost wages.

So if any of you out there think that being an agent is all roses and money. Think again. And think really hard before you send me (or gal-friday) your manuscript- cause with the mood I’m in today you had better hope it’s a best-seller!!

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Self-Publishing Addressed

Hi, some nice person said they were considering self-publishing, and after reading my tip that said don’t do it- they asked why?
Well in my honest opinion I’m of the belief that publishers should be paying YOU to publish your book and not the other way around.

On reason I dislike self publishing is that when you self-publish no matter WHAT the POD press tells you- you will NOT get into bookstores except through consignment which will take about 48% of your retail value. Sure, places like Author House and I-Universe talk a good game, and they will list you on internet sites but they won’t get you where you want to be- which is on the bookshelves. At least not before you’ve shelled out all your money.

Now if you were only planning to sell say 50 books to friends and family- then why not? You can even go through something like the Cafe Press at the University of Alberta a machine that prints your book out for you while you wait.
But if you actually want to make some money and really want people to read it, or a newspaper review it- then think carefully before you lay that money down.
With a traditional publisher comes credibility and distribution and those speak volumes.

Try an agent- they aren’t all bad. In fact I’m pretty good. And so is my partner in crime at

I hope that helps a little. Of course if you want all the reasons- then contracts signed in blood will have to be signed!!

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After the Superbowl

During the Superbowl ( I am a HUGE fan of football- so if you are a famous football player who wants to write a book I WILL return your phone call), I ate my world famous Waldorf Fruit Salad and three danishes and Lay’s Classic potato chips. Mmmm Potato Chips.

After the game, I settled in to watch the repeat broadcast of the Federer-Nadal Australian Open Final. I am also a true fan of tennis and get onto the courts at least once a week, although I don’t know if that is going to help when the famous gal-friday comes to town. Apparently she is a provincial medal winner who is bound and determined to beat me. We’ll see. Mind you if I keep eating all those danishes she might have something on me!

I was disappointed that Federer lost though not as sad as he was, but here’s hoping he can come back in the U.S Open.

For those of you who know my work- you’ll recognize that the work of a literary agent is never done. There are NO weekends in my line of work. So I settled in to read some manuscripts submitted by some clients. I do enjoy reading new work, and I have an amazing piece just waiting on my desk next weekend courtesy of a client in Edmonton. I can’t wait!

So here is my tip Number 2: Don’t expect your book to be a classic
Why? Let’s draw from an American favourite:

” A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
Mark Twain- speech- “The Disappearance of Literature,” 19th Century Club, November 20, 1900. quoted in Mark Twain’s Speeches edited by Albert Bigelow Pain, 1923 ( Holy jebus- the citation is longer than the quote- that’s why being a literary agent is tough- you actually have to assign quotes to the proper people!)

Well that’s it from me and that’s it from him


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