Monday, October 01, 2007

Martin Wagner on literary agents | News | Guardian Unlimited Books

So what does a writer do when told by his agent to "Write what you know"? He writes a play "The Agent" based on how shabbily he was treated by literary agencies. Writer Martin Wagner's play The Agent premiered at the Old Red Lion this spring and transferred to the Trafalgar Studios for a movie version in the summer (Martin Wagner on literary agents) Excerpt:

"As far as agents were concerned, I was unashamedly promiscuous as a young writer. Like most budding writers I had been hoping for instant success, spurred on by endless headlines of first books getting improbably huge advances, but, for me at least, reality was invariably very different: there was the agent who reluctantly agreed to send out three chapters of my first novel to two publishers to prove to me that it was no good (one got on the phone straight away, wanting to read more); there was the agent who kept forgetting the title of my screenplay (The Writer, is that so hard to remember?); and there was the agent who has yet to find time to read an 80-page novella I sent them some years ago. So when yet another ineffectual agent suggested that I write about what I know, I decided that the thing I know most about is ineffectual agents."

And Wagner's advice: If you are a writer you have to get things moving yourself, instead of waiting endlessly for agents to act. Sigh! And to think that they haven't yet replied to my submissions!

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