moneyThe best things in life are free

But you can keep them for the birds and bees

Now give me money

That’s what I want

“Money” was originally written and recorded for Motown records, but I only remember hearing The Beatles’ version released in 1963. It seemed an interesting contrast to their 1964 hit “Can’t Buy Me Love,” as in money can’t buy me love. Paul McCartney later said maybe he should have called the song “Can Buy Me Love” given what fortune and fame had brought him.

At the beginning of the school year, people think about budgets, our pastor said in this week’s message. For the past several weeks, his messages have focused on recognizing and imitating the generosity of God. Generousness: being willing to give your time or money. Institutions also focus on budgets, Pastor said, but our hearts give to the Lord for different reasons. “We have a need for the Lord to receive. In giving to the Lord, the Spirit is exercising our need to give.”

Following church yesterday, Keith and I attended an afternoon seminar called “Agent 101” offered by Jeff Kleinman at WriterHouse in Charlottesville. After introductions, Mr. Kleinman sketched a rejection table on the whiteboard with the following topics: Agent Name, No Response, Form Rejection; 3 Chapter or 50 page Request, Full Manuscript Request, Contract.

The biggest reason why authors get no response or a form rejection is either the premise is not clear or strong enough, or the market is flooded, or the writing is not strong enough, Kleinman said. “People who can’t break in usually can’t write well enough.”

If agents request 3 chapters or the first 50 pages, they are interested in the character. But it’s not unusual to get a rejection saying, “I didn’t quite fall in love,” which means the character’s voice was not strong enough – the character didn’t quite exist.

Request for the full manuscript means the agent likes the premise. If the book has narrative momentum, if it’s a page-turner, the agent might fall in love, weep and gush. But…

Is there a market for this book? Can the agent and author work together? Will the agent be able to sell the book to a publisher? “Agents get paid only if the author gets paid,” Kleinman said. “I’ve only got so much time, and I’ve got a 16-year-old daughter and bills to pay.”

Your lovin’ gives me a thrill

But your lovin’ don’t pay my bills

Now give me money

That’s what I want

We’re all on a spiritual journey, our pastor often says. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have credentials, Jeff Kleinman said yesterday, as long as you are involved in the developmental process as a writer. You can pay editors and self-publish, but money can’t buy you love.


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