How to Be a High-Powered Literary Agent, by a Crazy Person

Earlier today, our office receptionist got a call from a secretive man demanding my phone number, though he wouldn't say why. (She thought he sounded angry, though perhaps he was just excited.) He settled for my email address, and sent the following message:

I'm contacting you to ask if you've considered writing a book, possibly an expansion of one of your posts. I'm an agent. Thanks.

The domain name from which he emailed is listed as "under construction," strange for a working agent. Googling "Mark Kelley Literary Agent" brings up only the barest traces of his existence. Vague! I wrote back:

About what in particular?

His reply:

Please give me a call if this might interest you. Tomorrow is better. [Phone number] or [cell number]. Thanks.

If what might interest me? Still very vague! I was always taught that when you ask someone on a date, you should at least tell them where you're going. I wrote back, "If you want to propose something to me, feel free to email me.Thanks, Hamilton."

How dare I?

Why would I do that? I know nothing about you. I don't know you. And you don't know me. Let me get a little Gawker sarcasm going - you mean I can spend some time laying out the game plan for a book in an E-mail that's convenient to your E-mail missives although you may not have the chops or the focus or the genuine interest to put together a book - without actually being your agent? Gee, thanks! That's an agent that you don't want. Maybe posting snark in repackaged configurations is the sum total of your talents, know what I mean? Not to mention that I don't know if Gawker has any official policy regarding such efforts. Books are a whole different species my friend. It doesn't look like you're familiar with what it takes. Am I wrong?///Sincerely, Mark Kelley

Look for my book, "An Expansion of One of My Posts," in the spring of 2012. Once I had the inspiration, I didn't need to pay an agent a cent!

[Image of Mark Kelley in my imagination via Shutterstock]