Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Term of the Week: Beauty Contest

Jane Smith submits her book to a bunch of agents, and ends up getting lots of favorable responses and offers of representation. Now she has to decide which agent to go with, and so she either meets with them personally for lunch or drinks, speaks with them on the phone, or corresponds via email to obtain more information. She asks all the important questions - agent biography, submission plans, commissions, general agenting strategy, etc., and then decides which agent to go with.

Agents call this a "beauty contest." We've all been in them, and we've all won some and lost some. They're no fun for us, but great for Jane Smith and writers everywhere. Editors have no sympathy for agents regarding this since they are constantly in beauty contests of the agent's making - i.e. auctions.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though short, this was good information. If I am ever in that situation (which I hope to be), I will remember this. Thanks. mbd

Travis Erwin said...

Oh how I would love to be in a beauty contest.

But alas ... I'd probably get bested by the fish.

Church Lady said...

I would like to share a beauty contest story:

I grew up in a small town, and we had very little money. I read a lot and basically kept to myself. When I was 17, my father brought home an application for a beauty contest. I tossed it aside, but after a few days decided to give it a try so I could laugh at the others and their makeup (me and my sick sense of humor). Well, I won the contest. (would NOT happen today, trust me!) So my first 'duty' was to ride on a firetruck in a parade. They taught me how to hold my right hand in a certain way and wave like that (It's tough on the wrist).

So I'm thinking to myself, what do I do with my other hand? I know...it's a parade, and their will be kids. I'll bring CANDY! Yes, that's it. I'll bring a few bags of candy and toss them at the kids with the other hand.

So on the day of the parade, I climbed up on the truck (none of the firemen said anything about the candy) and got into candy-chucking position. Initially, I really was thinking nice thoughts. But after my third or fourth toss hit a couple of the kids, I thought to myself 'this could be fun.' So while waving with one hand, I started aiming lollipops and snickers at the kids and throwing them as hard as I could. Don't even ask what came over me. But the kids LOVED it! Go figure. Some of the candy fell out of my hand along the way, so kids were darting dangerously close to the moving firetruck.

Not only were the kids being pummeled with candy, but they were almost run over by the firetruck.

The parents hated me, and I didn't have any more duties for the rest of the year.

The end.

Rosemary Harris said...

I certainly never thought of it this way. What I have thought of is how much work you guys have to do before you see any serious money on a newcomer. My agent's done so much for me, I hope I make her a few bucks one of these days!