A while back I sent an essay to LIVES—stories about daily lives of unknowns like me, in what used to be the last page in the NY Times Magazine (before they went with their horrible new format for additional ad space). A few days later I got an email back from the editor of the column accepting my essay. Or so I thought, until I read it all. That's when I noticed it wasn't addressed to me. It was to a literary agent. The email I mistakenly received was chatty, congratulating the agent for landing the new author. “Happy to run the piece before her book releases,” the email said. It ended with, “Always nice to hear from you, and I'll update you when we schedule the essay for LIVES.”
This is the real world of publishing. I was under the delusion that LIVES was written by unknowns, about unknowns, not back door deals worked out with New York lit agents to promote their authors.
My first novel, REVERB, I published through an indie publisher. It did not go well. I blogged about it: The Problem with Indie-Publishers, in an attempt to warn other authors off of ending up in the same mess I did. Apparently, according to agents, authors aren't allowed to share their experiences if they are bad:
— Laurie Abkemeier (DeFiore and Company), from: Literary Agent Interview: Laurie Abkemeier of DeFiore and Company