Unprintable: The LitReactor Podcast Episode 8 - Inside The Mind Of A Literary Agent (Guest: Bree Ogden)

Every month, Unprintable will take an irreverent look at books, the publishing industry, reading, writing, and more; featuring the know-it-all geekery of LitReactor columnist Cath Murphy, Education Director Rob W. Hart, and Managing Editor Joshua Chaplinsky.

Episode 8 - Inside The Mind Of A Literary Agent (Guest: Bree Ogden)

In a (somewhat futile) effort to class up the show, we invited literary agent and LitReactor instructor Bree Ogden to join us!

We start off with a bang, discussing Finnegans Wake, reading as therapy, and the two least controversial figures in modern literature: Orson Scott Card and Bret Easton Ellis. 

Come the what-we're-reading section, Josh read about meat, Cath read about Nazis, and Bree is reading a galley copy of a scary book coming out later this year. Rob geeks out over a Boston-based crime novel (even though he hates Boston). And Bree and Rob explain why you can build a great reading list solely from literary agent Stacia Decker's client list. 

We close out by picking Bree's brain—how she got into agenting, what kinds of credentials win her over, how she handles revisions, what you should expect of a literary agent. Lots of ground covered, lot of good info. Get some!

Please be aware that Josh sounds like he's recording his audio from a Cold War-era bomb shelter in Siberia. 

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As always, if you enjoy the episode, please rate us on iTunes, and if you're feeling extra specially generous, write us a short review. The few we've gotten so far have been great. They help us sleep at night!

Any questions? Comments? Criticisms? Suggestions? Help us help you. Email them to podcast@litreactor.com.

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Cath Murphy writes for a bunch of literary and film websites (where “bunch” isn’t quite as many as it sounds), offering unwanted opinions on anything that appears in her crosshairs. She is a co-host of Unprintable: The Official Podcast of LitReactor.com, and along with the fabulous Eve Harvey she also podcasts very rude stuff on Sluttylemon.

Rob W. Hart is the associate publisher for MysteriousPress.com. His short stories have appeared in Dogmatika, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Crime Factory, and Shotgun Honey, and he is the author of The Last Safe Place: A Zombie Novella. He lives in New York City. You can find him on the interwebz at www.robwhart.com.

Joshua Chaplinsky is the Managing Editor of LitReactor. He also writes for Twitch and has written for ChuckPalahniuk.net. He might still be a guitarist in the band SpeedSpeedSpeed and is the poison pen behind thejamminjabber, although he's not so sure he should admit it.

Special thanks to Gordon Highland for the intro and musical cues. Visit him at gordonhighland.com.

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Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Library Books March 7, 2013 - 9:53am

My audio sounds like shit!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies March 7, 2013 - 10:21am

Thanks for all of that, guys. Great insight. Helped me a lot.

Unfortunately a lot of great literary journals don't pay at all, but like you said, if they are known, they still register on the radar. For example, BOMB and Black Clock are two great publications that don't pay, and I'd definitely list them in my bio.

Bree Ogden's picture
Bree Ogden from Seattle is reading The Bunker Diary March 9, 2013 - 9:33am


Yea, the paid thing is a SUPER bonus. Obviously you wouldn't say in your query "...and I was paid for my piece in Wired..." 

By "paid" I mean it's a solid enough publication that they pay for submissions. So really, it speaks well for the publication which speaks well for you. 

But like I said, there are some crap publications that will take any submission and still have the funds to pay like 5 cents a word. So you really have to use your intuition. The point is to NOT overwhelm the agent with stuff like that.