Commentary, Criticism, Snark

DEAR AUTHOR

Capture4

Dear Author,
Thank you for submitting your work to the Bookworth Literary Agency. Unfortunately, it did not meet our needs for historical romance involving a swarthy hero and voluptuous heroine. Nor was there an inspiring “self-help” message. We therefore cannot take it on at this time, in spite of its evident merit. While we regret the impersonal nature of this reply, the volume of submissions we receive make a more detailed response impossible. Please rest assured however that one of our unpaid summer interns read the entire opening sentence of your novel before rejecting it.

Needless to say, we are only one agency. Others may feel differently. We therefore encourage you to continue sending your serious fiction to other agencies, on and on, ad nauseum, forever and ever. Also, please do keep us in mind should your next work involve a voluptuous heroine, a real-life account of an Ivy-League educated stripper, or anything involving dragons. Note that we also consider pirate-themed works and uplifting stories of Olympic figure-skaters.
Sincerely,
The Bookworth Agency

Dear Bookworth Agency,
Thank you for your encouraging rejection. With your guidance, I have rewritten, “The Sorrows Of April”, my tragic story about the unravelling of an American family, to be about a family of dragons. I do hope you’ll consider my new draft, and thank you in advance, once again, for your careful reading.
Sincerely,
Tom Feldman

Dear Bookworth Agency,
I wouldn’t say it was overly encouraging. But you did say it had, “evident merit”. In any case, I’m sure if you read the new draft you will find it well worth your while.
Sincerely,
Tom Feldman

Dear Mr. Feldman,
When we used the phrase, “evident merit,” we hadn’t actually read your manuscript. We thought that was clear. We were reaching for “blandly pleasant” as opposed to actually, “encouraging”.

Dear Bookworth Agency,
I understand. At the same time, I would be extremely grateful if you could bring yourself to look the new draft, which I have again attached.
Sincerely,
Tom Feldman

Dear Mr. Feldman,
Well, I must confess, we admire your persistence. On a whim (what the heck, right?), we decided to give your work a review. And guess what? We have read your new draft of “The Sorrows Of April,” and it truly is an impressive work. We did not think the alcoholic dragon father would work, but somehow you pulled it off. Great job! It had us already thinking of publishers, promotional tours, etc..
Unfortunately, we recently took on two new dragon-themed authors and the market is not exactly “on fire” (if you catch our drift). We’re sure we don’t have to tell you how fickle the reading public can be. Sadly we will need to pass on this draft of, “The Sorrows Of April”. Since we recognize your evident talent we should note that, in addition to our usual list of titles, we are also interested acquiring a serious, well-researched work about people who have sex with aliens, and we are actively working on an idea for a coffee-table book about the history of flatulence.
Please do feel free to submit to us again.
Sincerely,
Randolf Cunningham, The Bookworth Agency

Dear Mr. Cunningham,
Thank you again for your careful reading of, “The Sorrows Of April”, and for your insightful observations. While of course I am disappointed about the change in the market, I do understand. Also, I appreciate your offer for me to try my hand at other genres. But I must confess that my heart is really with this novel, which I have put the last eleven years of my life into. After considering your feedback, I have changed my characters back from dragons to an American family from Baltimore. I must say, I really think this is the draft for you. Jake, my protagonist, is good deal swarthier than in my original, and Nicole, his lover, is substantially more voluptuous. I daresary, without wanting to boast, her voluptuousness is quite extraordinary. In fact, while I am cautious about to drawing comparisons to a writer the stature of, say, a Philip Roth, I am convinced my passages involving Nicole’s breasts rival any of his own, not just in descriptive power but also in sheer magnitude. Moreover, Nicole’s friend Sue, the history teacher, is now an Olympic figure skater. I do hope you enjoy this draft and consider representing it. Thank you once again.
Sincerely,
Tom Feldman

Tom,
Good to hear from you and glad that you have once again thought of The Bookworth Agency. Again, we have reviewed your work with great interest. And we do think you’re getting there. Its powerful, keenly observed, and richly imagined. We wonder if you might consider adding a talking dog. What do think?
Best.
– Randy, The Bookworth Agency

Randy,
Thanks. Can I be completely honest here? Normally I would do pretty much anything to get this thing published. As I said, I have spent eleven years on it, and it’s my life’s dream to see it in print. Unfortunately – and this is a bit difficult for me to talk about – I have been diagnosed with cancer. I’m not sure I have the endurance, quite literally, for another major rewrite right now. Is there any chance you might consider representing it as is, or even, perhaps (please don’t take this the wrong way) going back to the original draft?
Thanks so much again for your time.
– Tom Feldman

Do you really have cancer? You’re not just saying that?
– Randy, The Bookworth Agency

Of course I do. Do you think I would make that up?
– Tom Feldman

You wouldn’t believe what some creeps will say just to get their manuscripts read.
– Randy, The Bookworth Agency

Well, I am not like that. I wouldn’t do that. Let me assure you, I have cancer.
– Tom Feldman

Tom,
You really should have mentioned this sooner. What I mean to say is…we might be able to use it. Think about it: Powerful, heartbreaking story about a promising writer who is discovered just before he expires of cancer. Do you see the possibilities? Public appearances with you already looking weak and frail, just a few months left (or even weeks!) to go? It’s perfect for morning TV. Which isn’t easy to book.
Give me a few days to come up with some editors to present this to.
– Randy, The Bookworth Agency

Randy,
That’s great. I mean…not about my expiring right after its published of course. But hey. It’s a business, right? If you could get it published, that would be amazing.
– Tom

Tom,
One of the publishers has come back with a question. May we ask what stage your cancer is in? I’m sure you understand, if it isn’t sufficiently advanced, there isn’t much story here.
Yours,
Randy

Advertisements

1 reply »

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s