Wednesday, April 27, 2011

in which Bob Dylan tells us all the chill the #^$% out

As writing conference season approaches, INTERN has noticed a corresponding rise in anxiety among her editing clients and writer-friends who are hoping to woo an agent at one of those horrifying events called speed-pitching or agent-bombing or Freeze Tag: Agent Edition.

They remind INTERN of newly-minted diplomats being sent to have dinner with an inscrutable and vaguely sinister foreign dignitary, obsessing over the information they read in their briefing:

"The King of Zanzibar will be ENRAGED if you use the little spoon to put sugar in your tea."

"The King of Zanzibar will consider it a MORTAL INSULT if you look at him with your left eye."

"The King of Zanzibar will think you are a BLITHERING IDIOT if you wear any clothing that has a zipper."

When the time comes to meet the King of Zanzibar, our diplomats stumble in twitchy, one-eyed, and fumbling with buttons.

"'Sup," says the King of Zanzibar, who is sitting on the couch in a tracksuit drinking a Sprite.

INTERN was going to write a post about how friendly and non-sinister most agents are, but her good friend Bob Dylan (himself a literary agent at B.D. Literary Management, LLC) offered to do it instead. So here's Bob, telling it as it is:

I ain't lookin' to compete with you
Beat or cheat or mistreat you
Simplify you, classify you
Deny, defy or crucify you
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

No, and I ain't lookin' to fight with you
Frighten you or tighten you
Drag you down or drain you down
Chain you down or bring you down
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

I ain't lookin' to block you up
Shock or knock or lock you up
Analyze you, categorize you
Finalize you or advertise you
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

I don't want to straight-face you
Race or chase you, track or trace you
Or disgrace you or displace you
Or define you or confine you
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

I don't want to meet your kin
Make you spin or do you in
Or select you or dissect you
Or inspect you or reject you
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

I don't want to fake you out
Take or shake or forsake you out
I ain't lookin' for you to feel like me
See like me or be like me
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

INTERN: Wow, Bob! Thanks for being so frank about what literary agents really want from authors.

Bob Dylan: No prob, INTERN. *strums guitar*

INTERN: So you're saying all you really want to do is be friends with authors? Lifelong friends with a fruitful relationship built on trust and creativity and lots of wonderful books?

Bob Dylan: That's about right, INTERN.

INTERN: Far out.

Bob Dylan will be available for speed-pitching at BEA, Backspace, and other major literary conferences this summer*.

*neither of which, to INTERN's knowledge, actually feature speed-pitching. Except if you happen to be Bob Dylan.


  1. a newbie to this social media thingie, as well as a Dylan fan, I am pretty excited.

    "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" YEAH!

    Please tell Bob we would be honored to have him sing at a benefit for the Bryce Daniels Preservation Society.

    If his schedule is full, he is more than welcome to just follow me.

  2. Anytime Bob Dylan gives advice I listen. The man knows what he's talking about.

  3. I think this is the norm, though I have heard horror stories of agents who, while they may not even be aware of it, mortify, embarrass, and belittle writers. I'm thinking of one in particular who shall remain nameless. Oh, but the rumors fly about that one...

  4. Unfortunately, the last verse Dylan never published was:

    I don't wanna to take your book
    Don't like your look or the hook
    Gonna cut you, edit you
    Paraphrase and precis you
    All I really want to do
    Is, baby, get shook of you.