My LA agent had been sitting on my book for a couple of months. I’d gotten no feedback from him, only the studied silence of a poised insect. I decided to breach the stillness and give him a call.
The Phone Call
David: Happy New Year. It’s David.
Agent: Know how many Davids I know?
David: I know my full name shows up on your phone.
Agent: So kill me. What’re you calling me for?
David: Did you read my book yet?
Agent: Sure, I loved it. Some great s— in there.
David: So you want to represent the dramatic rights?
Agent: Hold on. I’ve a phone call coming in.
Papers shuffling in the background. The Agent cups the phone and yells at his Assistant. A minute or two later.
Agent: What were we talking about?
David: You representing the dramatic rights of my novel.
Agent: Yeah, no, well, I’m not sure just yet.
David: You didn’t read it, did you?
Agent: F— no. It’s over 200 pages.
David: That’s short for a novel.
Agent: The only thing I ever read over 10 pages is a lawsuit.
David: What about screenplays, do you read those?
Agent: I read the coverage.
Note: Coverage is the appraisal of a book or screenplay by a reader and usually includes the plot, characters and commercial potential.
David: And you’re looking at the coverage for my novel right now, aren’t you? That’s what your assistant just brought in.
Agent: A dolphin, a fireman, fishermen, Greece. Not exactly Iron Man.
David: The female lead is very intriguing. You could find an actress involved in environmentalism and animal rights and start from there. Actually, I think it’s a timely and resonant story that-
Agent: -Know what you need… a shark. A shark on a f—ing plane. There’s your title too. That I could sell. The thing starts from the back and eats only people in coach. Write that.
David: I’ll think about it. In the meantime, my novel…?
Agent: I give you a million dollar idea and you ask about your f—ing novel? Put some orphans on the plane, and an old lady with an oxygen tank, and a cute little dog. All sitting in coach.
David: If you’re trying to make a statement about economic inequality with a, uh, shark thriller, maybe it should eat the people in first class instead?
Agent: That’s the dumbest f—ing thing I’ve ever heard? Think about it. If the shark eats the people in first class, who will finance the f—ing film?
My novel, THE LAST ISLAND, can be purchased here.