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Thursday, September 24, 2009

happy mother freaking birthday to me, warning: self pity party ahead

well, almost---my birthday's tomorrow.

so.

For my birthday eve tonight I got a letter from my agent saying she thinks it's a good idea to part ways. I hope it's okay to post it because really? It's a great letter. And here's what else is good about this situation. She never dodged my notes (well, a tiny bit toward the end, but hardly noticeable) She came right out and cut our losses. A quick band-aid pull does the trick.

Attention professionals! Take a lesson from her and write. It might well be a template---I was going to say form letter but that sounds snarky and really, why not have a template? every agent should have this sort of letter on file. Please, please use it instead of the passive aggressive death-wait I've heard about. That's when agents freeze out authors by ignoring emails until the authors give up. The agents end up the dumped instead of the dumpers.

Here's the letter:
This is a difficult email for me to write, but I think it's
necessary at this point, unfortunately. **

I've taken time this summer to reflect on where my business is headed and my
goals for the future. I've been thinking also about my various authors and
how their work fits into my overall plan, my available time, and my ability
to steer them in the right direction for their careers. I have limited time
and a lot of great authors on my list who all deserve my time and attention.
Some authors' work is selling, and I've really been able to help them break
through, and there are others who, no matter how much I try, don't seem to
quite be gelling with publishers, or at least haven't yet been able to make
it in the mainstream market.

You came up as one of the people I really like working with, but whose work
just doesn't seem to be hitting in the mainstream marketplace -- or maybe
not yet. I think you're hugely talented and have a lot of drive and great
ideas, but I'm afraid I haven't been able to help you hit the right notes
with your work and I'm starting to feel that my efforts are not going to be
what you need to become successful. It's been a source of some frustration
for me, and I'm sure for you as well, that we can't break in with your stuff
- I think it's original and very entertaining, and as far as I'm concerned
SHOULD be selling. So, I'm sorry to say that probably the best thing for
both of us is for us to part ways and for you to find an agent who will have
the vision that I seem to lack to take you to the next level.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to talk about this -- I'm
happy to advise you on how to proceed if you like, and in any case I really
have enjoyed working with you and wish you nothing but the best in the
future

I must say I've had good luck with agents. Not with sales or, at least, agented sales but when I hear stories about dodgy agents.... well . . .I have loved mine.

except now they've all said goodbye to me. They've cut me loose.

. . . And now I'm going to go feel very, very, VERY sorry for myself and like a complete and utter failure a hasbeen a nevergonna be and and omigod, I feel wretched and old. Did I mention that this is my birthday and I'm FIFTY. Oy. That's why I'm making such a song and dance about the birthday thing. It's a biggy. Fifffffffteeeeeeeeeeeee. Jesus.

Please don't point out that the alternative is worse or I'll come sit on you.

______________
**blogger made it look like a poem. It didn't come to me in that form, but I think I'll leave it the way it is. I like it.

16 comments:

  1. Kate, I know it doesn't feel good to turn that corner unagented, although that is the most classy parting of ways possible and kudos to her. But 50 is a huge milestone and I hope you do celebrate it. Your life deserves celebrating. With cake!

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  2. I will not point out any alternative so please don't sit on me or I shall give you my H1N1 and you will be sick on top of this and I can't give you cookies either.

    FWIW, girl, you don't look no fifty, I gotta say. Happy birthday regardless.

    I do hope this turning point is one into a direction that breaks you to a level you so deserve.

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  3. I second Lauren. I never woulda guessed you're gonna be 50.

    And I'm so sorry. :( Mope all you want - consider it your birthday present to yourself.

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  4. thanks guys. I thought I really needed someone to take me out and help me get drunk.

    This is better especially since I'm in the mood to pick a fight. Plus Lauren might breathe on everyone if we were in a bar. Or she'd get us sick by sipping our cosmos when we weren't looking.

    Yike! h1n1--diagnosed and everything? Careful with that, you poor thing.

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  5. I think the letter is very classy, but that doesn't make it any easier to take. I'm sorry this happened. How frustrating!

    But, Kate, you aren't the the first writer to find herself between agents, willingly or not. And you're not the first writer to experience a gap in publishing history either.

    You will come out of this.

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  6. yeah but, yeah but....
    I've done this already! BTDT before!

    You'd think by now I'd get the message: ain't gonna happen.

    ))))mope((((

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  7. Anonymous12:23 AM

    50 is a number. And it's a great number. And we look darn good. Go get 'em, Girlfriend!


    Jackie

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  8. Your Birthday was the second thing on Gavin's mind when he woke up today; so you see how important you are? Happy Birthday from both of us.

    And to the boy.

    Tish

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  9. Oh, Kate!
    My total commiseration, you have it. It might make you feel a teeny bit better to remember what happened to me on my 60th birthday...and rejoice in the fact that you are once again free to imagine and create and serve yourself.
    I've been agentless since the second book came out. It grieves me that this person gets part of my royalties for my work, not hers.
    Look forward to the new year...it's bound to be full of wonder and surprises. We all love you and Summer. Hugs, Irene

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  10. Kate, I'm so sorry. That *does* suck. Dead bears, even.

    I'm sorry I have no advice to give, either, other than to go ahead and feel bad for a while. It's okay.

    And by the way, I'm echoing the others and saying I had no clue you were even close to fifty. So you're doing something right!

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  11. Kate, you are one hawt fifty-year-old. Total MILF material. Soon to be GMILF material once your boys get busy.

    Sorry about the agent. Find someone young and hungry?

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  12. Birthday bummers are no fun, sorry about your luck. but maybe there's something new around the corner. I hope your birthday was nice despite that let down. I hope I'm as cool at 50 as you are.

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  13. Happy birthday. From where I sit, 50 is no big deal. It won't be to you either in a couple of years. I mean, you don't even qualify for senior discounts.

    Hugs on the agent thing. Obviously, I have no words of wisdom there. If I tell you one more time how much I love reading what you write, you will barf.

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  14. Aw jeez. Sympathies. I'd totally buy you many drinks if you were anywhere near me. We could mope together.

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  15. Dear Kate,
    Great Big Birthday-and-Commiseration Hug to you. It's amazing how connected one can feel to an agent - sort of like a therapist. Personally, from reading her letter, I think she's doing you a favor. You don't want her, either.
    Hey, the fifties are the ABSOLUTELY best time of your life. The happiest, the strongest, the most directed, the most loving, and the most happens. You'll LOVE what's coming. It's GOOD.

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  16. Anonymous8:51 AM

    also fuck you nguyen manh. stop spamming here.

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