Thursday, April 21, 2005

What's in a (nick) name?

I'm going off topic for a moment.

I had a disturbing conversation with my agent yesterday. She tells me she thinks she is sinking (swimming with midlist authors) and that she needs something to kick up her profile.

I told her she doesn't need a breakout author. She needs a nickname.

For those of us blessed enough to be published, to have hit our editor on the perfect day, to have accidentally plucked a chord with perfect resonance, let me say an agent with a nickname is what we want. Sure, at first we say all I want is to get an agent, then it's all I want is to get a good agent, then it's all I want is an agent who has a good reputation and believes in me, and so on. Eventually, it's all I want is an agent with a nickname.


Dialogue at unstated Simon & Schuster imprint:

Secretary: Mr. Corduroy, you have an agent on line four.
Publisher: Which one?
Secretary: Binky.
Publisher: What!? Holy sh--, I, uh, okay, I, uh (licks teeth, clears throat, counts to three) Please pass her through.

Dialogue at unstated Random House imprint:

Secretary: Mr. Metaphysical? I've got some guy calling himself the Jackal on line--
Publisher: And you put him on hold!? You're fired! No-wait, pass him through. Thanks. Okay, now you're fired.

Dialogue at unstated Warner imprint :

Secretary: Mr. Chandelier? I've got an agent on line three.
Publisher: (Sigh) Who is it?
Secretary: Don Rosenblum.
Publisher: Who?
Secretary: Don Rosenberg.
Publisher: I thought you just said blum.
Secretary: Did I? Hold on. (Checks on agent) Dale Rosenstein.
Publisher: Who?
Secretary: Rosenstein.
Publisher: Do I know him?
Secretary: Her.
Publisher: I'm at lunch.
Secretary: It's 9:45, sir.

You see?

So we went on a hunt for the perfect nickname for my beloved agent. After four bar napkins and the martinis to match, here are the highlights of our tipsy results:

Superstar: Good.

Fallenstar: Bad.

Rainmaker: Good.

Remaindermaker: Very Bad.

Dealer: Fair.

NiceDealer: Better.

Bonecrusher: No.

Kickbacker: No.

Dealslut: Fair.

Dealwhore: Fair, though more on point.

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh: Good, but taken.

Simone Lipskar: Risky, but let's not rule it out.

Syd Vicious: Fair.

Bookburner: No.

Bookmailer: No.

Blackmailer: Yyyyyy . . . No.

Dominatrix: Our job is done.