How NOT To Get a Literary Agent!

If you’re a mediocre writer and want an agent to sign you….marry one. But if you’re a talented writer, all it takes is getting your book into the hands of the right literary agent and BINGO….instant representation! Just don’t do as I say and definitely don’t do as I do below….

  1. Binge watch all I Love Lucy episodes and realize your intense desire to have an agent discover your writing talent is just as fierce (if not more) than that of the famous, hairbrained redhead wanting to break into show business at Ricky’s nightclub.
  2. Decide you need your own equivalent of “The Tropicana” and register for a Writers Conference, where there are sure to be a ton of hot agents scouring to sign new, fledgling authors like yourself.
  3. Go on the internet to check out the hotel layout and notice they have lots of elevators. Forget taking the stairs for health reasons! Craft a captivating elevator pitch! Practice a witty escalator pitch too, just in case the elevators are out of order.
  4. While waiting in the airport for your plane, research “what to say in person to grab an agent’s interest.” Discover they love it when you liken the plot of your book to a mixture of two well-known exciting movies.
  5. Unexpectedly cross paths with a real live literary agent seated across the aisle on your flight. Blurt out, “King Kong Versus Godzilla!”
  6. Recall how Lucy Ricardo received lots of attention implementing creative publicity stunts. Eye the tall roof of the hotel with visions of “landing as a woman from Mars.” Consider the conference swimming pool as a place for a staged drowning so an agent can rescue you as you sputter out the opening line of your new novel, along with spitting chlorinated water.
  7. Wander upon some colorful tables set up in the lobby with established authors sitting behind large colorful stacks of their newly released books, cheerfully autographing covers for (what looks like) hungry agents.
  8. Open your backpack and impulsively place ten of your own self-published books (that’s all you’ve brought to the conference) on a nearby janitor’s supply cart so that (much like a bowl of unattended Halloween candy left on the porch for trick-or-treaters) every last copy will be gobbled up by influential individuals in the book industry.
  9. On the way up to the 12th floor to change clothes for the evening’s festivities, “accidentally” lean against the emergency button, (lurching things to a stop between floors 8 and 9) so that this group of agents are now a captive audience for your book pitch, and bonus — you won’t have to keep it under 30 seconds.
  10. Apologize when you find out they’re just other wanna-be-authors much like yourself, only angrier because you just made them late to the banquet dinner.
  11. Arrive in your room to see the red light lit up on the desk, indicating people have been trying to reach you. Wonder how many agents read the novels you left in the lower lobby, salivated, and have now beaten a path to your hotel room phone leaving messages like, “Let’s meet before dinner so you can sign my exclusivity representation agreement!”
  12. Call the front desk and retrieve a single message, “Nine of your books have been turned into the hotel Lost & Found. Please see the concierge to claim.”
  13. Daydream that the missing 10th book is under the pillow inside a prominent agent’s hotel room and he’ll be kept awake all night, turning pages.
  14. At the banquet, decide on a new tact that doesn’t involve displaying your books prominently in front of the cream-puffs on the dessert buffet. Resolve instead to place into the palm of any agent (reaching with an outstretched arm to shake your hand during introductions) a copy of your novel. What? ? Like they’re gonna rudely just let it drop on the floor?
  15. Pick your book up off the carpet. Shout, “So nice meeting you!” to the agent’s backside as he hurries toward the stairway, because it’s recently been announced to “ride elevators at your own risk” at this particular writer’s conference.
  16. Walk into a workshop called, “Speed Pitching To An Agent” where the idea is to play musical chairs, quickly discussing your book with 15 different agents. Talk very fast! You’ve got this movie comparison thing down pat now. Tell them it’s a cross between “When Harry Met Sally” and “Planet of the Apes.” Claim you heard Nicolas Cage is dying for the lead role when your bestseller becomes an actual movie. What?? Do you think they have Nicky’s number and will call to confirm??
  17. Tell all the male agents “You wouldn’t understand my book, it’s geared toward female readers who want to become multi-orgasmic.”
  18. Sing your pitch or recite it in Pig-Latin.
  19. Contemplate launching into the VitaMeataVegaMin routine or lighting the tip of your fake nose on fire with a lit cigarette.
  20. Check-out of the hotel on Monday morning thoroughly encouraged because the janitor chased you out to the valet stand to thank you for leaving him your book with his cleaning supplies. He wants to know if you’ll mop all the lobby floors so he can find out how the book ends. Say, “Yes!”

Congratulations! You should now know exactly what NOT to do. Best of luck.

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