Thursday, July 21, 2005

So Many Events, So Little Time

Scott of Conversational Reading and Ed of Return of the Reluctant went to see Rebecca Solnit at Cody’s Wednesday night. They sure didn’t have a good time. One thought the audience’s questions were silly, the other thought the author was silly.

These kinds of fierce opinions are what make literary blogs part of the literary canon, Scott explains in a new essay in the summer issue of Rain Taxi.

Solnit will be talking this Saturday at the not-to-be-missed Books By The Bay festival at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. So will authors Karen Joy Fowler, Joshua Braff, Kevin Smokler, Michelle Richmond, Gus Lee, and many more. The daylong festival raises money for literary programs around the Bay Area (there will be grant applications available in the booths). Thanks to the Northern California Independent Booksellers’ Association for putting on this event.

I would be remiss not to mention a poetry reading Friday night to benefit the scholarship fund for the Poetry Workshop of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Lucille Clifton, Robert Haas, Sharon Olds, and others will read their work at 7:30 pm at the University of San Francisco on Turk Street.

For some fun reading, check out this new blog: Agent007. She reveals how literary agents really think. Here’s her take on daily mail call, when reams of proposals hit an editor’s desk.

“Some of them are pretty, with orange boxes or red folders or green folders. Every agency has some sort of folder/box-calling card. One agent has grey. Another has white. Everyone knows who has yellow. And navy blue.

If the editor sees a color that piques her interest, she’ll pull the stack toward her. Maybe the gray folder is on the bottom. She pretends she’s not hungry. First she skims the one on top. If her assistant is good, the one on top is one that she’s been waiting for, or one that is right up her alley. If not, it’s the one in the red folder.
As our editor scans the cover letters, she assesses.

This one is a pass (that agent never understands what I’m looking for). I’ll have my assistant write the reject and post-date it for a week from tomorrow. This one sounds awful but the agent always sells this crap so I’ll put it aside. If he calls me to say he’s got interest, I can say I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet and then read it immediately. These two sound boring, so I’ll give them to my assistant to read and write reports about. Why would I give her anything that sounds promising? If it sounded really good, I’d read it myself.

Soon, her heart quickening, she arrives at the gray folder.

But this one… This one I’ll look at tonight. I like the title. The author sounds great. Interesting concept…”

But, as Agent 007 reveals, that little gray folder’s hopes soon disappear. It gets bumped when the celebrity book proposal arrives ….

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