Writer Beware has a great post, Should Writers Worry About Blacklisting, a practice I’ve never really heard of beyond the over-the-top and infamous Joe Eszterhaus/CAA imbroglio where Michael Ovitz was quoted as telling Eszterhaus â€œYouâ€™re not going anywhere. Youâ€™re not leaving this agency. If you do, my foot soldiers who go up and down Wilshire Boulevard each day will blow your brains out.â€ I guess that’s a little more hardcore than blacklisting when your agent actually hunts you down and blows your brains out, and so it remains Michael Ovitz’s most memorable quote!
In the real world, there’s no blacklist kept by publishers or agents, though I would caution writers that editors have long memories and they migrate everywhere, meaning the editor you cursed at five years ago may suddenly appear at the house you’re pitching today. My advice: be smart, be kind and be thoughtful above all, but don’t allow yourself to be bullied. Of course at Writer Beware, the context is always in the realm of “legitimate agents don’t blacklist you.” That’s right, legitimate agents most often say no, sometimes may beg, but they probably won’t threaten you 🙂