How Not to Attract an Agent
A World War 2 Trilogy - By FRED NATH (Novelist and Neurosurgeon)
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How Not to Attract an Agent

OK I’ll tell you how stupid I really am. I don’t have an agent. No big deal, I have a publisher and maybe that’s more important. I’m desperate to get an agent to represent my Roman fiction books though (there are a lot of them!). There I am, at a friend’s 60th last week.
A friend drags me off and says, ‘Fred I want you meet XX, she’s a literary agent.’
After four glasses of champs and no food, I was , I admit it, a little over-refreshed. My friend had already given the poor agent a card of mine about The Cyclist and she looked up at me and said, ‘It’s self-published, is it?’
For some reason the comment rankled. I don’t know why, but I responded so stupidly.
‘Certainly not. It’s a bona fide publisher, new and start-up but it’s better to be part of a growing venture than part of an old jaded fosil publisher.’
‘Oh. I’m a Literary Agent.’
‘Oh right.’
‘I’m So-and-so’s publisher actually.’ (A well-known writer of many Roman Historical Fiction books, published by very big publishers).
‘I always find her books never really get going. I like Cornwell when he’s writing well.’
‘I hate Cornwell.’
‘Oh.’
‘Not my thing at all.’
‘You wouldn’t like my Roman books then. They’re mainly pacy action without any purple prose.’
‘Suppose I wouldn’t. Is this a career of yours?’
‘No, I’m a full-time Neurosurgeon.’
‘Oh.’
Silence. Feeling like a flake. Looking around the party, people’s laughter reverberating in my ears. A slight flush to the cheeks and a wry smile.
‘Right, well, must go and rescue my better half.’
‘Yes. You better had.’
I thought nothing of it until next morning when, with greater clarity of thinking, I realised why I don’t have an agent.
Always engage brain before mouth.
 

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