Responding to Piggott: August 15

Mark: You are clearly unaware that most writers are inept when it comes to minding the store. Hence, the whole agent thing. Like the church and state-like separation of advertising and editorial at a magazine, the agent ensures that the writer can carry on writing his novel without concern for how it might sell. For that is the agent’s business. If the agent is good, the agent will understand the writer’s temperament, work very hard to maintain a scenario in which both agent and author benefit, and figure out a way to make a manuscript marketable. Just about everything out there has an audience. It is not the writer’s concern to care about the scope of that audience, but to simply write as true as he can. It is the agent’s concern to translate what the writer has offered into something that the publishing industry requires: namely, a salable book. The current literary agent system creates a protective buffer, unless the writer is avaricious enough to write for the lowest common denominator and take matters into his own hands because he may have a perfectionist impulse. Chances are that such an individual is not really a writer, but is probably an agent incognito. You have obviously had some bad experiences with agents. Perhaps like other writers, you cannot mind the store. This is your problem. And you need to stop playing the blame game and take responsibility. The world does not owe you a living.

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