STATUS: Started off the day with 80 new e-mails in the inbox. That’s a tough Monday.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? GOLD by John Stewart
When we obviously have nothing better to do….
Last year, I had dinner in the home of a client and her husband. After the dessert, we decided to play a game that they often do with their friends.
From a bookshelf in their office, the player grabs a published book from the shelf. Any book. Once back at the table, the player reads aloud a page from anywhere in the novel.
The question is two-fold. For the non-agent players, would they have continued reading? Why or why not? For the agent, would I have offered representation for the book based on that one sample page?
It was eye-opening and hilarious. The basic idea is that a novel should be able to hold up to intense scrutiny even if a random page is selected from anywhere in the story.
For my part, I would have passed on a well-known romance writer (oops!). To be honest, the writing didn’t hold up. I was completely surprised when the author was revealed.
For several readings, I admired the writing but knew I wouldn’t have represented it–despite the obvious quality of it. Sorry Cormack McCarthy! (Remember, taste really does play a factor in this!)
And out of the all the readings we did that night, there was only one that when the reader came to the end of the page passage, I said, “absolutely! I’d have offered rep for that in a New York minute.”
That author was Margaret Atwood.
Kind of interesting, don’t you think? I wonder how much we are swayed by recognizing an author’s name and reputation. In this game, you didn’t know and had to make a judgement based solely on the words on the page.