Almanac Literary: A letter to my agent


Sonja hi,


I haven’t heard from you in a while, I hope you’re well. As my agent I thought I’d take a moment to explain a few things.


I am grateful for your efforts to get me this small franchise gig, and polite insistence I do it, but years ago, decades, even, I was offered a job as a sports writer for Australia’s biggest broadsheet newspaper. An in to a life of journalism. A fair wage. Security. I obviously adore sport, and thought about it, briefly, but declined. Sports, journalism in general, editing departments, teacher’s ranks, are full of writers who chose security. People who headed east to go north, just for now, and never righted. I did not want to be one of them. I could not be one of them.


While I appreciate the gesture, and the $3000 this job will bring in, I have a job. I am a bush worker. All this franchise job is doing is taking up my writing time. My writing head space. I am belting out a corporate template for a corporate editor. It is not writing, and has zero to do with creative ambition.


Beyond that, I desperately need an agent. I have so many novels I have never bothered to push. It is not in me. A few rejections and I am busy focussing my energies on the next book, the next idea.


I have seen authors, a dog to bone, look under every nook, every cranny, to find a home for their work. Slobber and froth over press, reviews, writer’s festivals. I am envious of them, but have no interest in any of that. Just ambition.


To write beautiful things. As many as possible.


If one or two of my books took off, I could do that without backbreaking exhaustion. I could do that more. I could write plenty. Find that balance between bush and words.


I signed on with you, despite a few misgivings, because you agreed that one, maybe two books a year is a limited approach. You were all for three or four or five. I don’t care if it’s with some dinky little publisher or one of the giants. Just get them out! Move on, next idea. I’m in!


It feels like we have been paired for about a year, yet we have not landed a single contract. All you have done is mediated an already existing deal, thus depriving me of my author/editor bond, which I feel is vital.


I have just taken two days off bush work to finish the latest draft of your franchise recommendation. $600 pay. It feels wonderful to be writing without end-of-day bone weariness and mud. Yet the waste of it feels horrendous. Oh, the creative things I could write with $600 of time!


It has been half a year since I first asked you to read my YA novels and graphic novels. What is the status of my latest batch of kids books? Have you submitted them?


I am not getting younger, but remain painfully ambitious.


Please inform me how my works are going?






More from Tommy Mallet can be read Here.



More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE



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  1. Good luck, Tommy

  2. Self publish Tommy? Or too expensive?

    The lot of the writer seems to be forever at the mercy of the judgement of others.

    Good luck.

  3. John Harms says

    Ahh, the life of a writer.

  4. John Harms says

    The self-publishing part is OK. The distribution part is tricky.

  5. all the best Tommy.

    Your letter has me wondering. The traits that make for an interesting, engaging, creative writer are largely different to the traits that make for a successful salesperson. Can one person fill both roles? How well?
    And where does the energy and time and attention and ability-to-sit-with-ongoing-mental-load required of each role come from? The surroundings? Weet-bix?

    Pretty big ask for one person to fill both roles. I’m glad you’re writing.

  6. Tommy Mallet says

    E.regnans, my take is; there are no rules. Each writer has different motivations, energies, abilities, yet, for some reason, people remained determined to say; Writes do this, writers do that. Some are more than capable of doing both, and cannot for the life of themselves, understand how others can’t. Others tend to be good at one or the other. Many a wonderful book has rotted on the vine of a writer who could not sell themselves, and many a piece of pulp has made it to print through dogged determination. And visa versa and so on. Many just want to write, and let the beyond of that take care of itself. R- Tommy.

  7. Frank Taylor says

    Ahhhh… the life of an artist.
    (Yes, the life of a salesperson…..??)
    It’s a tough gig where ingrates and formulaics often succeed where others more gifted or committed fail commercially.
    Luck and circumstance are elusive, while pretenders fill the gaps.
    Good luck Tommy, your writing has something above the mundane copy.

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