Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your Life Depends on Answering: Portfolio or Paper Bag?

Portfolio Peeps dress to kill, attend the better writing schools, plug into the right networks, turn out uninspired but competent books they pitch like pros with rules absorbed from manuals for PPs.

They get most of the jobs, they land most of the book sales, they live in nice homes in the hills.

Paper Baggers, though, are their nemeses.  PBs are fierce, high-flying hawks that have sharp eyes for the main chance and can plunge from the sky at astonishing speed...and soar back up with rich rewards snatched from the maws of PPs.

Example:  The scene is a waiting room in a prestigious advertising agency.  Six PPs with hairdos no fingers are allowed in sit there in their killer suits, tapping their palms on their plus portfolios, all loaded with ads that are all by the book.  Who's that fellow in the corner, though, the one in the jeans and Doc Martens?  When's the last time he had his hair cut?  What are those, love beads, round his neck?  And, my gawd--really, nooooooo! Instead of a portfolio...could he possibly be holding a small brown paper bag?  What's going on here?  Could that crumpled paper bag contain one sample of his work...the only sample needed? 

Example:  Query letters.  The bigger agencies receive hundreds of queries a week--and agents have started complaining that many of these sound the same.   But of course!  Most of the PPs who've sent them have read the same guide books or been to the same web sites.  Grab your socks, though, and hear this:  one of the nation's top agents recounts that once she received a three sentence query on cheap stationery that knocked her right out of her chair.   She did not reveal the sentences that led her to say yes.  But we can be certain that a Bagger had sent her the query.

Today I think with pleasure on the great Baggers I have known.  The great Baggers I have read.  And I draw both comfort and inspiration from there.

Down with the PPs--up with the PBs!


  1. Thank you to all you unique, genuinely talented literary artists. Writers like you, Reb, who produce spellbinding literary works, are the reason I LOVE to read!--- Felicia/@MzGemini1978

  2. Thanks so much, Felicia. I've become a complete paper bagger by now. And I'm thrilled to have readers like you.


Your comments are welcome. Just keep them civil, please.