Worst Job than a Literary Agent?
I wouldn’t be a literary agent if my life depended on it. Could you image a more unpleasant job? Well, maybe a few (like the illustration above), but really. It must be like being a parent to a needy, whinny child who needs constant reassurance, love and patting on the head – without any of the good bits. Even before that stage you would have to wade through a torrent of needy, whinny or arrogant, presumptuous pitches. It’s this that must make it so, so, so bad. If you ever had any modicum of compassion to begin with you couldn’t possibly have any left at the end. Could you? How can you retain any sense of humour? Any degree of patience? Any respect for humanity? You can’t. The evidence is below in a list of the ‘best’ elements of pitches kept by my friend and Welsh literary agent, Chrissy Bach – enjoy.
(with massive acknowledgements to ‘Slushpile hell’).
‘This sublime submission will leave you in an uncontrolled and irreversible state of ‘wow’’.
‘My attached 2000 word novel will make you laugh, make you cry, make you stand up and cheer. It will help raise the bar in human literary prose.’
‘I happen to have pen-ed a witty, hilarious book.’
‘Attached is, quite possibly, the funniest book known to humanity. After reading it I am convinced you will call me up and offer me a contract. I await your call.’
‘I want you as my agent. The book is ready. The writing is final. I do not want a word changed. It is a very good, well-written book.’
‘I guess my love of writing started in the second grade when Miss Harris gave me a large red tick on my composition on ‘What I did in the holidays’. I can still remember that composition. I wrote about the two weeks I spent in Porthcawl…’
‘You’re my last hope. I have sent this to many, many other agents without a positive reply. I’m counting on you.’
‘A quick question before I send my pitch. How many words are there in a novel?’
‘My 432,000 word novel may seem to start a little slowly, but after the first nine of so chapters the pace changes dramatically.’
‘My dream agent Andrew Wylie, is not taking on ‘new’ writers, so I’m querying you.’
‘Attached is my synopsis and first four chapters. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day I will give you a call. I have your home number.’