Saturday, December 10, 2011

100 sites for fiction writers: #87 - Bad Agent Sydney T. Cat

This is an ongoing series looking at websites that can be of help to fiction writers with their craft and career.

Bad Agent Sydney T. Cat

Did you know practically anyone can be a literary agent? It's true. There is no college degree or government agency or anything similar that qualifies one as a professional literary agent. Admittedly there are a handful of professional or semi-professional organizations which supposedly list "good" literary agents, but these groups are made up of agents and agencies themselves, so it's kind of like a writer writing about how good he or she is. It's not objective, in other words.

Since anyone can become a literary agent, a few years back authors J. Steven York and Christina F. York decided their cat wanted to be an agent. Thus was born the blog Bad Agent Sydney T. Cat.

To help show there are no qualifications to being a literary agent, every few days there is a blog post which proves the point. Sydney T. Cat makes all kinds of wild and crazy statements. There's nothing too serious here, just a lot of fun, though there might be a kernel or two of truth here and there.

Besides just being a fun site, how can this blog be useful to fiction writers? By opening their eyes to the very real silliness of the world of literary agents and agencies. I'm not suggesting all agents or agencies are bad or useless, but I do think it's time there was some very real regulation of some kind. There are plenty of good agents out there, but there are also plenty of bad agents, and there are few ways for a writer to know which is which.

Also, sprinkled throughout this blog are tips, advice and words of wisdom when it comes to dealing with literary agents. Chuckles abound here, but fiction writers can also learn a few things.

If you happen to be a writer with a love of animals, especially cats, you will enjoy the blog of Bad Agent Sydney T. Cat. But even if you aren't a big animal lover, you will find information here worth knowing.


Charles Gramlich said...

Never heard of this site. will have to check it out for a good laugh.

J. Steven York said...

Thanks for mentioning the site. I'd like to add though, that the "all kinds of wild and crazy statements" are each and every one based on something done or said by a real agent (or at least someone CLAIMING to be an agent)!

We created Sydney's blog as a candy-coated guide to all the ways in which the author agent relationship can (and most often, has) gone wrong. The romantic mythology of the literary agent is so powerful that people simply couldn't process the information when it was presented directly, and we thought by presenting it as the silly misadventures of a cartoonish cat, it would make it easier for people to take.

In some cases, we've combined similar incidences, and simplified or switched around the framing events a bit, but the essence of what we've presented is always true!

Of course, it's possible we've erred too far in the other direction. Some of the real-life misadventures of agents are so outrageous, it's easy to mistake them for wholly-created jokes!

I'd also like to add that Sydney's wisdom has been collected, edited, updated and expanded in an ebook from Tsunami Ridge Publishing called, "Bad Agent, No Catnip! Bad Career Advice and Questionable Misinformation from the World's Worst Literary Agent, Sydney T. Cat." It's available from Amazon, Nook, Smashwords, and coming soon to other major ebook vendors.

Thanks again for the mention!

Ty Johnston said...

Steve (is it alright if I call you Steve?),

Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for the lessons about literary agents. I just wish more writers would pay attention.