October 15, 2004

Crapulence Update

Remember this house that I love? Remember the state of Georgia? That I love? Remember my family and Scott’s family that we love all clotting up the South right near us? And Sam’s good school full of good teachers that we love? Remember my church I love and all my friends I love and THIS HOUSE WE JUST BOUGHT THAT I LOVE? Remember all that? Well. We do too.

We have talked about it and talked about it and talked. And we don’t want to move.

Thanks, nice severance package.
Thanks, Warner Books.
We will be RIGHT STINKING HERE if you need us.

Tonight as we look at our finances and run numbers and realize that we don’t have to move, and that Scott has plenty of time – the kind of time that means he doesn’t have to FIND A JOB, but rather the kind of time that means he can be relaxed and particular and FIND A GOOD CAREER MOVE - I am thinking about my agent. Because we’re in this position BECAUSE of the nice severance…and my agent.

It’s a good time to blog him. I sent him to look at the website yesterday, so I feel today it is probably the safest moment to spill the beans on him. *grin* My reasoning: He just visited the site, and he triple-books his life, so he won’t be back for weeks, at which point this entry will have faded into gentle obscurity.

Here’s the thing: I know people always make jokes about their agents, and say they are sharks and blah blah, and it’s true that it takes a certain amount of ….what? Bravado? Aggression? Sheer Animal Will? SOMETHING to be an agent. But I LOVE mine.

Here’s why:

1) He’s OLD SCHOOL, handshake, man-of-his-word ethical. We have no contract. We never have. He TOLD me up front what he would do, how he would do it, what his cut was, and how he would work it all out. Then he went and did it. The end.

2) He’s the reason I wrote gods in Alabama. See, before gods, I wrote (excuse me) a DAMN GOOD BOOK called 40 Dead Horses. And YES, okay, YES, looking at it now? I can see three HUGE problems with it. One, I have the end dead wrong. BLINDINGLY hideously wrong. And two, I keep you VERY distant from the main character during two PIVOTAL sections, and if you do not EXPLICITLY understand WHY she is making these two bad choices, you are going to hate her. And three, I have about 10K worth of self-indulgent, prancing words in there that do not serve the whole, they just entertain ME. So. I see why it didn’t sell. But at the time, I REALLY thought it would.

Then it didn’t sell, and I quit writing and sank into a funk and cut every writer (‘cept Lily) I knew out of my life and vowed terrible vows about never putting myself out there to be killed again and wept and railed against fate. And I sat in a pit POUTING like a BIG WANKER and REFUSING to talk to anyone in the industry until my agent, out of the blue, sent me this letter that said, in essence, the following:

Dear Spoiled Brat,
When I am going to see your next novel?
Love, Your agent who picked you out of the slush pile and still likes you and your work even though you are having a MONUMENTAL and RATHER BORING SULK that has gone on MUCH LONGER than anyone who didn’t ADORE YOUR SORRY SELF would put up with.

Okay that was subtext. But still. That was the GIST. And I RALLIED and wrote him back and told him when he could see my entirely non-existing fictional “next novel” and then I put my butt in the chair and WROTE it.

3) And 3 was IN 2, if you were paying attention. He pulled me out of the slush pile. I am one of the few who actually DID find an agent cold querying. Lily and I hit him with a query for a children’s book we wrote together (subtext: drunk.) And he liked us and picked us up and stuck around for four or five years and several failed projects and said things to me like “You really are one of my favorite writers” and NEVER BILLED ME FOR COPYING FEES even though I made him exactly zero dollars for YEARS.

The only thing I do NOT love about him is that he is a good thirty years older than me, and, unless I win 30 mil in The Big Game, he’s going to stinking retire before I do. Although watching him MARCH UNSTOPPABLY across the entirety of Manhattan with me panting and gasping in his wake, you would suspect I might retire first. But probably he will. AND THAT’S JUST WRONG. Because I don;t WANT any agent but him. Ever. See? From April of this year on, any agent who wants to rep me will be looking at my sales record and factoring that into his/her decision. Jacques took me based on my writing. Period. Jacques believed in my work, more than I did at times. And how can I not freaking love the man for that?

Posted by joshilyn at October 15, 2004 8:29 AM

Hooray for having the time to make the right decisions instead of the "necessary" decisions.

Hooray for having someone who not only believes in you, but knows how to make others do it, too.

If I didn't love you so freaking much, I would be soooo hating you right now. ;)

Posted by: Mir at October 15, 2004 8:43 AM

Moving sucks. good show.

Is that children's book Mr. Bungaloo? I lurved what I read of it. Is it in print anywhere?

Posted by: Dianna at October 15, 2004 11:56 AM

Yay! You guys aren't moving. Yay!
*happy dance*

Posted by: Klint at October 15, 2004 2:45 PM

Glad the Crapulence got wiped out.

Posted by: KarenB at October 16, 2004 7:35 AM

So glad you can make this happen. Good luck on finding a great career move!

Posted by: Jensgalore at October 16, 2004 5:49 PM

Jaque, is it? Well, would he consider adopting me, too? I'm not too proud to beg.


Posted by: Sam Pakan at October 20, 2004 1:32 PM