Monday, June 22, 2009

nearly July

Jings and help ma bob, where does the time go? I just realised that it was June 2nd when I posted that I was waiting on notes from the big agent. The exciting news is that I'm still waiting. Not that I can complain much as the wait is due to a medical glitch resulting in hospitalization. [the agent, not me] Though truth be told I did complain - silently to myself, you know the kind of thing , why me? If it was raining soup I'd only have a fork, etc.

I'd like to think that the reason for my apparent initial lack of sympathy was due to the pressure of holding off another agent who has offered representation and not just because I'm a selfish git. But there is another reason why time is important. As my mate Dublin said, and I paraphrase, 'They all fuck off for the summer' Actually I didn't paraphrase very much of that.

You see, Dublin had pretty much finished his 'going out' draft about this time last year but his agent told him he may as well take his time because there was no point in it going to publishers until September when they were all back from their summer jollys in the fleshpots of Margate or trekking in the foothills of Butlins [I hear times are tough in the publishing world] I figure his agent must have been right due to the amout of zeroes in Dublin's deal when it finally went out in September.

So this delay seems to me to pretty much mean for certain that at best the book won't go out until the nights are drawing in. At worst it won't go out at all of course and that will be another story.

Bearing in mind I began writing the book last September, that's a whole year of my ever shortening life gone for a Burton. That might not seem a lot to you, but I enjoy my earthly pleasures to such an extent that I think the old 'three score years and ten' is wildly optimistic in my case.

What's more to the point is that it looks like I will have to put on a suit for the first time in fifteen years. Yes the time has come when I have to get a proper job. Man cannot live by bread alone and I am doughless. Having concentrated on the novel over the last year and become tired of the whole TV game to the point where I can't be arsed writing for it [and to be fair the feeling is probably mutual in that they can't be arsed employing me] money has become an issue. A few months back I put feelers out in my old career, mainly to please those riding the alimony pony, not really thinking it would ever actually come to the point where I had to do anything about it. But this latest delay which will now turn into months has forced my hand. I've been offered a consultancy job for an initial three months, which suits the time line down to the ground. I figure it'll take them that long to discover I'm crap by which time the book will hopefully have sold.

This is as close to a back-up plan as I ever get.

So that's how things roll at Chez English. The next expected news is next week when I should finaly get the notes I've been waiting for. Coincidentally the week where I should be donning the old whistle and flute [ if it still fits]

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


For those of you following this foray into the novel writing world, and I know there at least three of you lol, here is the latest.

I met with the big time agent who said she loved the book and would give me line by line notes shortly. She didn't get down on bended knee, call me the greatest gift to writing since Jeffery Archer and offer to have my children, but I'll let that slide. Neither did she offer to actually sign me, saying that she never signs a client until the book is ready to go out. Fair enough. It was a good meeting and the broad notes she gave were very do-able. I haven't done anything about them as yet because experience in the trenches tells me that anything I do on the broad notes can easily be fucked six ways from Sunday by the line by line edit.

I got back from the meeting and checked my email. Lo and behold to my great surprise I'm invited to another meeting with another agent. I trotted along and that too seemed to go pretty well. The broad notes were a bit more onerous involving some hefty structural changes that right now I think may or may not change the tone of the book, and again he didn't whip out the papers and ask for my John Hancock.

That didn't worry me too much. With no mention of signing I was free to take or leave whatever notes I wanted and after due consideration go for a re-write with whichever agent I thought best.
Until yesterday
That was when the second agent mailed me to say he had thought about it over the weekend and wanted the old moniker asap.
To make matters more complicated the first agent mailed to say her notes would be delayed as she had to go to LA for most of this week.

So what's a girl to do? I like the second agent. He 's with a good agency, gives good notes, is a nice guy and clearly has integrity. The first agent, I've yet to see substantive notes but liked her and what she had to say and she's with an agency with major international firepower.

I guess common sense has to come in here. There's no way I can sign for the second agent without seeing the first agent's notes. As my mate Dublin pointed out, these guys spend all day pressing the reject button so I shouldn't feel bad about keeping them waiting for a decision. They do what's best for their business and therefore so should I. For my business I have to decide on who gives the best combination of getting the book into shape to sell and then selling it. Two equally important parts of the equation. I won't have all the information I need until I get the second set of substantive notes when the first agent gets back from La La land.

I don't want to piss off the second agent by stalling. As I said, I liked what he had to say, but it's a risk I have to take. This is a business when it comes down to it. And talking of business I feel a bit like a whore working two beds, trying to figure out which one is the more lucrative, but hey, no lay no pay.

I'll stall and I'll wait. If it goes tits up.... well you know me. I'll let you know!

But here is the major difference between book agents and film agents that has only just become apparent to me. Because I'm a bit thick.

A film/tv agent will take you on not because they think they can sell your script, but because they think they can use it to get you other paying work. A book agent takes you on because they think they can sell your book. End of story.

My sense of dramedy kinda likes that.