decolonizing writer representation – the agent challenge!

You guys. You are amazing. Thank you. I can’t believe this is maybe becoming a thing, and so I really want to make it A Thing now. And I was asked to maybe make it for editors, too, so that’s A Thing now as well!

Lost? Read the Storify. Then come back. Also, don’t be scared by the troll below. #sorrynotsorry by my responses. People like that are part of the problem.

Still lost? Here is some background (more links to come):

So here’s what I’m asking you to do. Publicly commit to spending a decent period of time (I would think three months seems enough to make a dent but also not change your worklife forever, since slush piles are also important) closing down your slush pile and using your existing contacts and Twitter followees to find people who #amwriting and are tweeting about diversity, marginalization, multiculturalism, and intersectionality.

If you cannot find those people naturally, you’re not following enough people. You are maybe new to Twitter, which is fine, but you will have to work to get better at it fast. Follow more people, and follow who they are following and retweeting. Twitter will also give you suggestions, and sometimes they are clearly sponsored to say that you should follow Donald Trump, but other times their algorithm is decent.

However, these are some of my favorite people, organizations, and websites to follow who have already made a point of promoting equity and social justice and retweet the voices of the people. These links are all to their Twitters. That’s because Twitter is Really Fucking Important. It’s where kidlit and YA people gather and socialize, for one, and it’s a platform that really does a lot better at welcoming and amplifying the voices of marginalized folks, so it’s important that you use it.

Some DOs and DON’Ts of this challenge:

Do

  • Be willing to be listed here and thus accept that writers from marginalized backgrounds may solicit YOU, and if they mention this challenge, you should accept their submission during this period. Rules. This is my thing I made up, so this is a rule now.
  • Cut it the fuck out with “diverse” or “multicultural” and start using the term “marginalized” to describe people and “social justice” or “equity” to describe what it is we’re trying to change. Also, learn what hegemony means. Also, recall that “diverse” when used as shorthand for “marginalized” includes race, ethnicity, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and religion, among others, and you’re either cool with all of those things or you’re not welcome here.
  • Make sure that your website, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc note prominently that you are specifically doing this challenge so that people don’t worry that you’re an illegitimate agent for soliciting authors directly. I’m not trying to ruin your reputation here, really. You could even say I’m trying to make you a hero, really.
  • Ask the marginalized people you’re following, especially if they are already represented and published, if they have referrals for you. Published writers have unpublished friends, all of them. And then you can avoid the whole “this agent is soliciting me out of nowhere, so they must be illegitimate” thing.
  • Consider working with people with partials? That’s something you have to decide for yourself, and I’ve never worked in publishing (wanted to intern, never got the opportunity) so I have no idea just how overworked you are (but like teachers, I can make the assumption you are overworked and underpaid unless you represent Stephenie Meyer), but I would think that if you’re into nurturing voices that have been marginalized, you maybe want to consider mentoring them, not just taking on a fully developed manuscript, though that’s based on your time and your interests and stuff. But at the very least I would hope that you’d also work with the people you solicit submissions from and help them find opportunities for MFAs, online courses, mentorship programs, or whatever. You have connections, and there are additional ways to utilize them for good beyond offering representation.

DON’T

  • Say you’re going to do it and then back out. Say exactly when you’re going to do it. I’ll post that along with your information.
  • Pat yourself on the back too much. This is a #nocookies zone. I will pat you on the back and say thanks for participating, and I will mean it 100% sincerely, and then you will sit back and just do your job. This is your job.

Here is where you can sign up: http://goo.gl/forms/NhalP4TKlR

If you’re an editor, please make the applicable slight changes to the DOs and DON’Ts to make them apply to your work, and then sign up here: http://goo.gl/forms/8T9QSf5OxM

Participating Agents:

Lydia Moed, the Rights Factory (the emerita! The original signup!). Closing her slush pile from June to September. lydia @ therightsfactory . com

Participating Editors:

tk

cool things again!

Aside

More cool things in my life! It’s early, but 2016 seems to have less suckage attached to it than 2015.

Today The Establishment had a moment of weakness and bafflingly decided to run my essay on why my Birthright Israel experience was terrible. That is so cool of them! And thanks to everyone for their wonderful responses.

My consulting business is starting to take off, so if you’re interested, check out my page here. One gig that’s not confidential is that I’ll be helping the gifted and talented department of the local school district here put together their Spanish-language literacy boxes for elementary schools!

Nerium_IBP_logo[3]

Also, in the spirit of trying new things, I’ve become the person you hate, but I really hope you don’t hate me, because I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t care. I’ve joined Nerium International and am now your one-stop shop for skincare! Forgive me, but I’m lucky enough to have decent skin, and if you’ve spent five minutes with me, you know how vain I am about maintaining it. But now after being a product whore for ages, I can tell you that this is all I need, plus a little facewash and cold cream. Also, I don’t believe in supplements, but these definitely got me away from my second daily dose of caffeine, and now I’m back to one. So if you care to take a look, here is the thing I’m doing. You know it’s legit and quality, because we only sell four products. That’s it. There’s no need for other stuff. I’ll have a better blog post with photos and stuff soon, but here’s the link to the storefront if you want to try it out. (30 days trial or your money back! #sorry #donthateme)

you’re welcome

Aside

A thing I’ve done recently is write a guest post for Forever Young Adult.

I’ve also been making the behind-the-scenes preparations for this cool new thing (so that I stop annoying my friends on Facebook about fitness!).

Also I’m working on my novel, which will absolutely definitely be on on sub in 2016.

2016 will also be The Year In Which I Take Up Running As A Regular Activity So Help Me.