A conversation with a literary agent

I’m paraphrasing a little, but last week, I met for the first time an agent who I know through mutual acquaintances and had asked to see my script before rejecting me with the dreaded ‘template’ rejection– we felt it wasn’t to our… blah blah.

So I met her and she was cordial and I was nice and the elephant of books kept edging its way into our room so we decided to talk about it. By this point, I’d drunk many Mcnulties (see previous post)

‘You know, it’s just really hard at the moment.’

‘I know, I know.’

‘People aren’t looking for a memoir.’

‘It’s not a memoir.’

‘Isn’t it? What is it? Oh yes, the erm… novel, what’s it called?’

‘Coconut Unlimited.’

‘Yes, that’s the one. So, can I give you some advice.’


‘What’s your pitch? What’s it about? It’s gotta be… something meets something else, that kinda thing.’ [The dreaded Alien= Jaws in space pitch]

‘It’s like The Inbetweeners meets The Rotters Club.’

‘That’s brilliant. They’re both popular. Brilliant. You should put that in the notes.’

‘I have.’

‘No you haven’t.’

‘I have.’ I pull a manuscript out of my bag and show her the synopsis.

‘Oh yes but I meant for the coconut thing.’

‘This is the coconut thing. You did read it didn’t you? Because you requested it.’

‘Yes of course I read it. The thing is, it’s too Asian genre fiction.’

‘It’s not about Asians.’

‘Oh, what am I thinking of then?’

‘Did you read the book? The book you asked for?’

‘Yes! Of course!’

‘What’s it about?’

‘It’s… it’s Asian genre fiction.’

‘You haven’t read it have you?’

‘I have.’

‘You haven’t and you’re lying and I would never have sent it to you in the first place but you asked so I did and I don’t care that I’m some poncy aspiring writer, I deserve a bit more respect.’

‘Darling, I do respect you.’

‘What’s my book called then?’

‘We’re quite busy at the moment…’

Thus ends the most painful conversation with an agent ever. I wouldn’t have minded if she’d read it. I wouldn’t have minded if we’d never crossed paths. But we did.

My parting shot: ‘What agency you with again?’


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Filed under 'identity issues', coconut unlimited, literature, writing

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