How to Be a High-Powered Literary Agent, by a Crazy Person: Vol. 2

Yesterday we introduced you to Mark Kelley, the literary agent with a particularly forceful, unsolicited brand of flair. Did Mark Kelley send a lengthy follow-up email last night, CC-ed to a bunch of investigative reporters, for some reason? Of course he did. Should we share this with you? Eh, why not.

I guess the only thing I would note is that I have never called, or attempted to call, or even desired to call Mark Kelley. Quite the contrary! Other than that, this one speaks for itself. Aspiring literary agents, take notes:

From: "Kelley, Mark"
To: Hamilton Nolan
Cc: Nikki Finke [Deadline.com], Frank DiGiacomo [NYDN], aem@cbsnews.com, Jane Mayer [The New Yorker]
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 10:24 PM
Subject: Re: Literary

I was somewhat surprised that you can not be reached by telephone at your office - no voice mail; nothing. Your insistence that I suggest something in writing without any kind of connection at all on the telephone I found off-putting. The idea for the book is certainly not exclusive to you. If there were no interest on your part in doing a book - or you do not have the time or the ability with your job to take on such a task - or the specific topic would not interest you...; it's possible also though that I would then have been put in the position of pointing out a really great idea which may have just flown right by you; have started perhaps to get you started thinking about doing the book; put myself in the possible position of not being able to do a book on the same subject with someone who actually has a phone on their desk that they choose to use because you have decided to pursue the idea with another agent - I would conceivably not only turn out not being the agent for such a book but I would have been a party to achieving this without having either talked to you let alone met you. You may already be in touch with other agents who you like a lot about representation (or have a preexisting understanding or relationship about representation) and could go to them. Happens all the time.

There isn't an agent, a book editor, or a publisher anywhere who doesn't wish to avoid being cornered into such a possible position or eventuality if they can help it. Someone will do this book (probably not me as an agent and maybe not you.) (It's an ephemeral subject therefore timing is a factor.)

I enjoy Gawker. I have noticed your writing style and I like it.

If there's a next time you call me as a Caller I.D. "Unknown Caller" before you write about me - yep I picked up the phone myself and just said "hello" - I did indeed expect some kind of response from you but nothing quite so dramatic... (your phantom call and no website confirmed to you my lowly status, correct Jimmy Olson?)... if there's a next time that you telephone me - and not because I baited you about the "sum total of your talents" in order to rattle your airless and sequestered clipping service of a completely unearned and sanctimonious sarcasm cage - don't hang up. Say hello.

Do so with any literary agent. You never know where a great conversation or professional relationship might lead.

I think Gawker serves a purpose in journalism. But not necessarily to the long-range interests of the writers who work there (who I actually think consider themselves reporters because their primary concerns are legal vetting and fact checking - those are surrogate lawyers and fact checkers writing - not reporters.) Because of the projected timeliness and timing of the subject I was thinking about Gawker's policies regarding outside projects would also be important - but you didn't even sense or get that in reference to my first E-mail. In the way that you've proceeded, while I guess in theory you've embarrassed me by calling me a "crazy person" in a headline, I could care less. Believe me I've been called worse. If anything I believe that you've illustrated the impractical inexperience that I sensed in the way that you were handling my originating phone call. I'm of the opinion that you've confirmed all of my suspicions about the concept of working from E-mail exclusively, if not necessarily of you - although probably - on this obviously very slow news day upon which you've chosen to call attention to yourself. Oh. And Mr. "razethat@yahoo.com." (That's the E-mail address attached to yours after I contacted you via Gawker. Strange. What exactly is the origin? What is it supposed to mean?)

Why don't you do a post about Nathan and Jack Berman's MetroLoft Managrment in the Financial District? (You're a "reporter" that doesn't make or take phone calls? Or I guess Gawker just blends and vends other reporters' work then finesses other people's efforts through a house style and official "voice" of dismissive tone implying superiority.)

If you would like to know why - just call me.

Anyone who mentions your post to me will get a copy of this E-mail. Pursuant to full disclosure there's one blind copy as well. If you choose to post this please do so in its entirety. If you do so please note where it is that I've indicated to you or anybody that I'm "high-powered" or any other cliche that Gawker assails daily and which I often look forward to. Be well. And profuse thanks for the lavished attention. Have happy, healthy, and prosperous holidays Sherlock. It's "high-powered" agent for you - or nothing, right? The "sum total of your talents" dictates such. Which apparently you are more than a little insecure about.///Sincerely, Mark Kelley

[Previously]