Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stepping Out

So before I got caught up in contest fever, I was writing a series of blogs based upon the ideas and first line suggestions of my Facebook buddies. On deck for that was the post inspired by Avery Debow. She wanted me to use the line ... "It wasn't even my shoe."

So I wrote a poem.

It wasn't even my shoe,
slipped my foot in anyway.
Planned to walk a mile, maybe two.
A stroll nothing more than child's play.
But that ever-changing view,
left me confused, bathed in dismay
.

Now I'm no poet. Pentameter, and all that jazz still baffles me, but I am a big fan in taking that walk in somebody elses shoes before you get up on your high horse and criticize.

Right now I'm working on a Post for a friend's blog. Soon as I get it written, and she posts it I'll share the link, but I'll give all of a preview and reveal it has to do with writer's, (specifically unagented/unpublished writers with novelists ambitions) that routinely criticize and blame literary agents for dashing their dreams.

Are there bad, irresponsible agents out there? Yes. They are people in every job that are inept, but if we as writers often get caught up in the notion that agents are some kind of evil guards. The only think blocking entrance into the magical kingdom of publication and that my friends is pure nonsense. I won't say anymore to defend that position until I write that other post, but I have plans to do my part in fostering a better relationship between we, the unagented writers of the world and the agents who simply are looking for books and writers they both love and feel as of they can place with publishers.

I am declaring November 1st, Literary Agent Appreciation Day, and as such I want writers to send me their best story involving a kindness extended to them by a literary agent. An anecdote when an has gone above and beyond to help them out. Especially if they provided that service not as your acting agent, but simply to offer a helping hand. I will post as many as a can that day and hopefully these stories will change the view of at least a few of the most jaded among us. Send those stories anytime to my email travis AT traviserwin DOT com.

And yes, I hear the voices of those very same jaded now. "Sure Travis is more than willing to suck up and kiss the arse of agents now. He just won a contest over at an agents blog and he's feeling the love. But what was he saying last week, last month, last year, when those rejection letters were stuffing his inbox?"

And to that. I say the same exact thing. Don't believe me? Then have a gander at this post titled, Put That Shoe On. And when you do, please take note of the date, April 23, 2007 when I first expressed these sentiments. So yeah I'm feeling good right now, but I truthfully do see agents for what they are supposed to be. Advocates and business partners for we writers who seek to make a living in this very complex world of publishing.

26 comments:

Janna Qualman said...

It's a great idea!

And I loved your poem.

Anissa said...

Fantastic idea, Travis. There's just too much negativity out there. I'm all about sharing the love. :)

Avery DeBow said...

Way to turn the first thing that popped into my head into a useful, thoughtful post!

I like the idea of Agent Appreciation Day. I can't imagine what they have to go through: the hours they have to work, the odd bits of literature they're subjected to... It must be tough. Of course I am guilty of the occasional complaint about rejections, but mostly in regards to the sad quality of some of the crooked form letters cranked out via ditto machine onto quarter sheets of paper. But, at this point in the game even that's more funny than annoying. As far as the agents go, I have nothing bad to say; they are simply doing their job. Like my father is fond of saying, "It's nothing personal. It's just business."

DebraLSchubert said...

I've got a superb anecdote for Literary Agent Day which I'll send soon. And, I'm going to tweet about your brilliant idea, including your link, and see if we can't make this baby burp! I mean, crawl. I mean take off running! WooHoo!!!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Ooo, I have some stories!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Congrats congrats congrats! for the first paragraph win - whoop whooop !!!


*big grin*

Jan Mader said...

I thought your poem was fantastic!!!


And you say you're not a poet?

Cloudia said...

Cool. Agents are not evil, but somtimes they are looking for the LAST success, and don't recognize the next one....

Aloha

Comfort Spiral

Barbara Martin said...

Great idea, Travis, and I look forward to reading the agent stories.

the walking man said...

*shrug* Agents have a place too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Well, not having an agent, I'm not sure what kindness stories I'd be able to share.

Marla said...

Nice poem. I am not a poet either but I do like the idea of writing poems. It seems like a cozy thing to do.

I am back to the blogging world. Glad to see you are busy writing.

Melanie Avila said...

Travis, I love your poem! I'm no poet either, and I always appreciate the ones that are short and to the point.

Great idea about Literary Agent Day. I don't think I've had much actual interaction with an agent, so I'll have to think on that.

Lana Gramlich said...

Writing & art are similar in that one must be "annointed" by the "powers that be." Ridiculous. I was just explaining to someone in my Abita Artists group (who's new to art but expects to start selling his work for $45K right NOW,) that he hasn't rec'd the "ting" on the head by the fairy wand of the annointers--an exceedingly rare event, at best--so perhaps he'd better get real.

Bina said...

Love the poem, and I couldn't agree more about walking in someone else's shoes. I try to tell this to my husband but still, he can be VERY judgemental about people, but for some reason HE doesn't think he is.

And ya know, as far as how you feel, or don't fee about agents? Look at this way. I love my husband. But sometimes I like him and think he's great, other times I highly dislike him and think he is an ass. You can change your opinion based on a specific person or a whole group. It's America. It's your right!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

This is an excellent post. And if I have learned one thing these past few years it is that agents are not the enemy.

Can't wait to see your full post on the topic.

Terrie

Just Me said...

The kindest thing that an agent has ever done for me is respond with something like, "No thank you. Sincerely, Mr./Ms. Agent." I can't imagine if they had accepted some stuff I've sent them. This way I am forced to take another look at my stuff, and go, "Yikes!" and "Phew!" and only occasionally, "I just haven't found the right agent yet."

angel, jr. said...

I liked your poem!!

T. Anne said...

OK Travis I will work on my story. *sigh* so many painful ones to choose from..

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Travis, and I hope Appreciation Day becomes an annual event.

Question: Should we identify our candidate by name and agency or should she remain anonymous?

wendy said...

I don't have any 'kind agent' stories, but I recently did some unpaid work for an online publisher as a reader. I hated it. It wasn't just the bad prose it was also the low-life themes and cardboard/unoriginal characters. It takes an effort to read any book, but to continually read stuff that was a total turnoff was turning me into a veritable Miss Snark...even though a struggling writer myself. So agents and editors have my sympathies - not the dream jobs I once thought.

pattinase (abbott) said...

No stories of my own to tell but I'll be interested in seeing what turns up here.

Deanna said...

I do believe you are a poet and do not know it ;)

I wish I had a story to share about an agent, but I've never been brave enough to take that step. Hubby keeps telling me I have a book in me and just let it out.

I like the title of this post.

Deanna

Barrie said...

It will be interesting to see the posts on Nov. 1. I'll be reading them with some candy by my side!

Monnik said...

I liked the poem too.

and your stance on agents seems spot on to me too...

congrats on your win, by the way!

Cicily Janus said...

Your blog is up on my blog...and I emailed you my agent story. I agree with the majority. Agent Appreciation day should be a day of reality giving advice book loving fun, partying dudes and dudettes. thanks for your great ideas babe.