Jan 16

End of an era?

Posted by A Writer


I don't have time for a long post today, but I had to mention something about this.  Looking at a few comments over at LROD (my favorite private dancer site) I noticed one posted by Gerard Jones, and the name stirred a memory…and then I remembered Ginny Good, and everything came back to me at once.  Back when I was first starting the submission game in 2004 I went looking for literary agent sites, and stumbled across Everyone Who's Anyone.  The site is technically a listing of literary agents…but it's actually way more than that.  Jones, a Haight-Ashbury refugee who's never gotten over the flowers in his hair, even though he sure as hell isn't a gentle person himself, starting querying every agent he could find in 2001 about his book Ginny Good.  And I mean every agent.  Seriously.  He sent out thousands of E-mails to agents…and got bupkis.  Well, that's not totally true–he did get some people to notice his style, which is, well, unique:

"Your children and grandchildren are gonna see your name among the thousands of chicken-hearted, money-grubbing schlock-peddlers and giggly twits and useless goons who dismissed my beautiful books and chose instead to go gaga over the unspeakably inane, mind-numbing twaddle that will become known as American literature and culture of the early 21st Century.  And you picked it.  Wow.  Should you feel good about yourself, or what?"

Heh.  Writer, Rejected, eat your heart out.

What really got Jones on the map, though, was his website Everyone Who's Anyone, where he listed every agent he had queried (and more he could find) on the site, including E-mail addresses.  He also put E-mail interactions with said agents on his site, and when they objected, er, rejected them right back:

"Hmmm.  That's a pretty insulting letter regarding Al Zuckerman that you've posted on your site!  Emily Kischell, Assistant to Al Zuckerman.

Dear Emily:  Really?  You think so?  I thought it was sort of funny myself.  Tastes vary wildly vis-a-vis humor, however.  Thanks.  G."

And when they asked him to remove their addresses, sometimes with ever-increasing annoyance, he would post all of those messages too.  In short: he ignored them, just like they tend (let's me honest, agents have something like a 90% rejection rate) to ignore us.  And boy, did that feel good for those of us who were getting tired of being told how "unenthusiastic" a given agent was about representing our work.  

Well, Ginny Good eventually sold, and since then Jones has gotten other books out there, but he's now announced that he's finally done updating his directory…which is kind of sad.  Even when I wasn't actively querying books it was nice to know that someone somewhere was fighting the good fight.  And as W, R points out, Jones really got a lot of the "who gives a damn" crowd a voice in writing, and that was a big deal too.  Of course Jones isn't dead, and he's not going anywhere anytime soon (God forbid!), but still…there's something a bit sad about not hearing as much from the guy who wrote "[My book is] about a billion times better than any of the giddy, contrived, touchy-feely, 'redeeming' horsepiss that have won pussy Pulitizers or namby-pamby National Book Awards lately, that's for sure. It's tough being the best writer alive when everybody's been so brainwashed by preposterous puke that nobody even knows how to read anymore. Thanks."

Thanks right back at you, G.  The rest of us clowns got a lot from you, even if we don't dig Scott McKenzie.