Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Literary Agent Appreciation Story # 6

This tale of success comes from Cicily Janus.

I have a story about Gary, AKA SUPER AGENT G or SECRET AGENT G or

Once upon a time, Gary and I met at an illustrious wreck of a
conference in Massachusetts. There were writers, agent(s), mainly
him, one show-running dude and a very bad cook. Got it?

I was, more or less, forced by the hapless leader of this group to
pitch a novel I hadn't written yet, seeing as he didn't like my
completed novel, to Gary.

Setting: Gary sat in the middle of a circle of seething, blood-seeking
shark like humanoids, known as UNPUBLISHED writers. We were supposed
to pitch him while in the group and get instantaneous, loving, adoring
smiles and agent representation...(AKA: REAL FEEDBACK) on the idea of
our novels. Gary liked my idea, wondered aloud if someone with no
novel writing experience could pull it off and then proceeded to move
his Texas twangy good nature around the room. Only one gal teared up
as he said, I don't get it. (Knowing Gary very well now, I know for a
fact that his pseudonym/nickname is Mr. Agent Ambiguity Man. He's the
king of finding all ambiguity in all works of art)

Later that afternoon Gary approached me, or maybe I kidnapped him and
said, well, if you're going to pull off that novel, I suggest you read
x, y, z yadda yadda. He sat down with me in front of and
gave me a frackin' long list of books to read. And I bought every
single one. And read them. Relished them.

Fast forward a month later: I met a kind young man on an airplane,
whom I watched kiss goodbye his very pregnant wife and then hobble
onto the plane via crutches. Grimace and all in tow. It was ski
season in Colorado. Oh yes! I got on the plane (I am also a nurse)
and sat next to him (Southwest airlines, choose your own seat)

We began talking, as I believe he wanted a distraction from the broken
bones he was about to have surgery on, pondering aloud if Vicodin and
Chardonnay or Rum was okay on a flight. He was in a LOT of pain. Of
course he asked me what I did. I said a nurse. He said, oh. Cool. We
talked about the surgery, fractures etc. then I asked him, so, wadda
ya do? He said, oh, I'm a writer. ESPN Sportscenter something or


I said, awesome. After a few minutes of listening to brilliant (not
joking) sports writerly talk, I fessed up. I like to write too. Or
so I said. He said, oh really? (I'm sure he was thinking, GREAT,
everyone thinks they're a writer...) And I told him about the
impossible novel. The one Gary had directed me to start on when I was
at that conference. He said, MY WIFE WOULD LOVE TO READ THAT. Uh?
Sure...I said, well, it's not out, it's, as a matter of fact, in its
infancy. It's barely a conjoined sperm and egg lovemaking concept of
strings of thoughts etc...wait, who's your wife again?

Shana Drehs of Source Books. Editor-at-large.




She would? Really? You're too kind. Really. REALLY?????

Next day, I wake up and receive the email. GREAT TO HAVE MET YOU AND


So, I email Gary, tell him, hey you, you remember me don't you? Can I
run a few para's by you and ask for some literary valium/advice?

His response? You Betcha. Of course I remember you.

He critiqued, read through and offered advice within a two day
period. It was invaluable.

A year, some odd change and a few days later, I email him again.

Hey Gary, Remember me?

His response? You Betcha.

I briefly gave him a run-down of the jazz book I was thinking of doing
and he answered me back within 48 hours: For practitioners or
listeners or both?

We've been literarily married ever since. Random House was our
first child's home and to this day, we're working on my new book prop
together. He's my rock in this crazy business...they're not all like
him, but I sure as hell am one lucky writer to have him on my side.

The Jazz book Cicily modestly refers to is titled The New Face of Jazz:
An Intimate
Look at Today's Living Legends and the
Artists of Tomorrow

It is available now for preorder on


Charles Gramlich said...

it's like, "there's a thousand stories in the naked city. or uhm, Agent world.

Lana Gramlich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lana Gramlich said...

It's often those little, unplanned meetings that help things take off. Unfortunately I usually end up seated next to moronic nobodies on planes, myself.

Cheryl Wray said...

That is awesome. Wha a wonderful story!

I do believe that some of the best things in life come by serendipity.

Hope your writing is going well!

Bee said...

That is EXCITING! I guess there really are some literary agents who LOVE what they do.

Phats said...

Big one for the Huskers this weekend, GO NEBRASKA!

Barrie said...

THAT is a great story!