The Quest for a Literary Agent

Joseph Malek

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Last year, and before the death of a loved one, a literary agent agreed to assess the merit of a copyrighted novel I wrote. Then again, maybe I should change the name of this story to: “Beware of Con Artists. "

The agency has a website together with loads of promotional material filled with so many satisfied writers and want-to-be authors, and it's owned by a publishing company. Well, how lucky can I get? I sent the entire story to them as fast as I could.

About a week later I received a call from the secretary of the owner of that publishing group. The owner would call me at a mutually agreeable time within the following week. That's fine with me, and a few days later I received the call.

I was told that I wrote a great story but it was too long and I needed a third voice. No problem for me. I bought a few of the books she wrote just to stay on friendly terms in spite of the fact that she wanted me to pay one of her writers $28,000 to rewrite my story. If someone else wrote my story it wouldn't be mine. Right? Then again, according to her, some people earn six figure incomes using that method.

As the old saying goes: “If you give people enough rope sooner or later they'll hang themselves. " I told her that I'd have to mortgage my house, and without a guarantee of publication, I couldn't do such a risky thing. No problem, for $9,800 she would spend three days in a hotel room with me and together we'll put the story together. Who thinks about writing when a beautiful woman is willing to share three days in a luxury hotel? Not me. I love women.

I said that I'd think about it, and she asked me to rewrite the first chapter using her suggestions. I did it her way even though I didn't much care for the end result. To make a long story short, she called again and told me that my original version was better, and again pitched her writer deal. I told her that I'd work with any of her editors if she agreed to publish my story. It was her deal or no deal.

I asked a few questions and the answers I got clearly told me that she didn't read my story. I might be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

what this publisher wanted me to do

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