Agents – who’d have ’em?

John Barlow
Author John Barlow

There’s been some interesting discussion about literary agents recently, not least following the letter from the AAR to the DoP, which got a good old fashioned mauling from Joe Konrath.

For a decade I had a New York literary agent. I recently switched to a London-based agency, although having decided to give indie publishing a try I have yet to produce anything that she might actually sell, and clearly this puts us both in an awkward position.

The question for indie writers, given the current state of the literary market, is how exactly an agent might fit into your plans. Do you need an agent at all? Let’s be clear: Joe Konrath has not sacked his agent, and Barry Eisler is married to his. The role of agents might be changing, but I don’t think they’re going away any time soon. Continue reading “Agents – who’d have ’em?”

A Perfect Rejection

Author John BarlowThis post is about rejection. More specifically, it is about a rejection letter that I received from an editor at Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown (Hachette).

My noir mystery What Ever Happened to Jerry Picco? was submitted to Mulholland by my (then) agent because it seemed to fit the imprint’s profile for intelligent, inventive crime. The book involves the disappearance of a midget porn star. However, it is not an explicit book; it’s about a missing pornographer, a sort of noir-romp with a few references to Shakespeare and fairy stories. NOT sexually explicit. Bear that in mind. Here’s the letter:

Thanks so much for the chance to consider WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JERRY PICO? I took this under very close consideration; there’s much to like here. The writing, throughout, is pitch-perfect; Flores* is clearly in command of a masterful, thorough knowledge of the genre, and it shows in both his prose and in the bizarre, fringe characters with which he populates this well-executed novel of investigation (Pico’s wounded, needy and binge-drinking bombshell of a lover is especially appealing). Continue reading “A Perfect Rejection”