Sunday, April 1, 2012

Silver Threads

After my rather disastrous conference last month, I returned home to lots of buzz on one my writers' loops about ageism in publishing. Evidently, a young agent blogged that she would never take a client over forty because they would not be able to produce enough books to make a good career or enough money for her. Truth be told, I would rather have an agent with some silver threads in her hair, lots of clout and contacts, rather than the baby agents sent to small conferences to start their careers-but I know this is not likely to happen as more mature agents already have long lists of writers to represent. At least, I'd give a young agent a chance to show her stuff.
Let's see. At forty, I had just given birth to my third child, consequently moved into a larger house with a bigger yard needing more upkeep, was running a county library system with eight branches, and had a husband to keep happy. Time to write - zero. Ten years later, I eeked out some short stories, rewrote two old novels, and over the next five years, wrote two more. By the time I got published, I had twelve books in my closet, now up to twenty though six have been sold and two more will most likely be printed. So, lack of productivity as one gets older, I don't think so. You actually get back some of that time and energy that formerly went into family and career.
I don't know if that is what happened at the conference, if the young agent took one look at my silver threads and stopped listening to two pitches for very viable books. It is the first time I went through that excruiating process and was not asked for at least a few chapters. I do believe if that is the case, I am done pitching in person.
I did have a last laugh. Before going in to pitch, I spoke to another person in waiting. She had twenty inspirational novels ready to go and was at least ten years older than me. When her name was called, she went in on her walker. Good for her! I wish her luck.