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Xvee
05-27-2010, 10:15 PM
I haven't been here long and been hanging out mostly in Query Hell section.

I've noticed that some people get a lot of help and attention for their posts in query hell while others get little or no help. Some of the posts do not even rack up that many views.

Just curious to get your thoughts and theories on why that may be. What are the people getting lots of responses doing right, and what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?

Cella
05-27-2010, 10:23 PM
since I don't frequent that forum a whole lot, I can't say specifically, but I know it's been discussed before.

It could be that some of the people not getting many hits are new members who have only posted asking for help, often times over and over again on the same thing, only to disappear a short time later. It's beneficial to go around the board and take part in discussion, even offer crits of their own.

:)

Mr Flibble
05-27-2010, 10:24 PM
Hmm. Well when I hang out in QLH I'm more likely to crit if I know the genre reasonably well (though not always) and I think I can offer a useful crit.

And that's my main reason for not posting - I don't feel I have anything useful to add. It's not because anyone has bad internet breath or anything :D

Midnight Star
05-27-2010, 10:25 PM
It could be that some of the people not getting many hits are new members who have only posted asking for help, often times over and over again on the same thing, only to disappear a short time later. It's beneficial to go around the board and take part in discussion, even offer crits of their own.

:)

This.

Amadan
05-27-2010, 10:29 PM
A combination of randomness and the fact that not many people want to spend much time on a query that's truly hopeless (because there are really only so many tactful ways to say, "Go back to the drawing board").

A distinctive subject line helps.

suki
05-27-2010, 10:34 PM
I haven't been here long and been hanging out mostly in Query Hell section.

I've noticed that some people get a lot of help and attention for their posts in query hell while others get little or no help. Some of the posts do not even rack up that many views.

Just curious to get your thoughts and theories on why that may be. What are the people getting lots of responses doing right, and what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?

There can be a great many reasons for disparity in response - from the nearly random ones of timing of the original post and how often it lands on the top few updated threads to the subjective reasons including how popular the genre and subject matter are, to then very personal reasons.

First, an example of the luck factor - sometimes a thread just gets posted at a time when it gets lost in the shuffle, and isn't seen as often compared to another thread.

Second an example of the sort of subjective: If there are a lot more writers of certain genres, queries/excerpts of those genres have a larger pool of potential critiquers.

Third, some of the more personal reasons:

People who actively and constructively critique others' work often get more critique for their own work. In the alternative, someone dropping into QLH, posting a query, and not interacting in any other way, may see less response.

People who have more posts, and have been posting around the forums longer, may be better known and have already shown they want to be a part of the community instead of just driving by for some quick critique and then will disappear. And the more known someone is, the more potential critiquers may know a bit about the poster's personality and seriousness about writing, which can also encourage more critique. A potential critiquer may skip over a whole lot of posts and just critique one for someone they've interacted with positively in another thread.

And sometimes some posts just encourage more critique because they have easily identifiable issues, or they are nearly there, etc... On the other hand, too long posts, posts with a lot of basic issues or a lot of issues that are hard to identify and suggest corrections for, etc., all may seem like too much work. And when a post seems to come from someone who didn't bother reading any of the readily available reference threads, that may also cause difference in response rates.

And on the very personal front, sometimes someone demonstrates they are not ready/not receptive to critigue - that person will likely see less critique on later posts.

And these are just some of the reasons. There are loads of others. Probably too many to list.

So, sometimes it's just luck and timing, and sometimes there are other things going on.

But for anyone who isn't getting as much critique as other similarly timed and styled posts, it's worth asking him/herself if they are making themself a part of the community and demonstrating a willingness to critigue/assist/interact positively with others, in addition to asking for critique.

~suki

Twizzle
05-27-2010, 10:45 PM
And on the very personal front, sometimes someone demonstrates they are not ready/not receptive to critigue - that person will likely see less critique on later posts.



This. But more importantly, the flip. Some people are just so nice and so receptive you go out of your way to help. They have these shiny, wonderful attitudes about the process. And that's not so easy to possess in QLH. :) You want to help them.

aadams73
05-27-2010, 10:48 PM
Just curious to get your thoughts and theories on why that may be. What are the people getting lots of responses doing right, and what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?

It's a good question. I think there is no one-size-fits-all answer, though.

What Cella said, for starters. :)

I don't often crit on the boards, but I still read a lot of the QLH posts just because I'm curious about what others are trying to sell at any given moment. But although chances are I won't make any comments publicly, I still crit the piece mentally. Here's what I look at:

- Do I know the poster? Are they active in the AW community?

- Are they new and--possibly--just here for crits and not interaction?

- What genre are they writing?

- How marketable does the story sound?

- Is it filled with punctuation and spelling errors? (That's a deal-breaker for me. It means they're too sloppy for me to waste my time on, and their manuscript isn't going to be any better.)

- Do I like it?

Sometimes it's obvious what they've written is irredeemable. Other times it's obviously good enough that they don't need my help or I have nothing useful to say because someone else has already said it--and better. :D

Beyond that...

It's no secret that we're weighted more heavily towards SFF here in terms of sheer numbers, so those queries seem to get more commentary. I think, too, some posters are uncomfortable critting outside of their preferred genre.

Really, to anyone looking for critiques, the best thing you can do is be a part of the community. Interact, critique others, participate. I've done several crits off the boards recently for people I know and like--people who are active members of this community.

Cella
05-27-2010, 10:48 PM
yeah, timing is one I'd forgotten about. I've posted things at various times, and even though this board has people from all timezones in it, I've found that my posts in the morning seem to have gotten more attention.

suki
05-27-2010, 11:03 PM
This. But more importantly, the flip. Some people are just so nice and so receptive you go out of your way to help. They have these shiny, wonderful attitudes about the process. And that's not so easy to possess in QLH. :) You want to help them.

Yes, this, too. Good reminder. :)

And sometimes it's also just the mood of the critiquers. I tend to go into SYW these days less and less. Sometimes I'm drawn in for one specific post, and end up looking at ithers, too. Sometimes I have some time and feel like paying it forward, and so I crit a bunch. But when you're clicking through threads, deciding what to crit, there is choice. And sometimes it's just the fickle vagaries or clicking through.

~suki

Wayne K
05-27-2010, 11:18 PM
I stopped critting in QLH because I got tired of defending what I suggest. It's not always the OP ....Actually, it's rarely the OP. It's other posters.

I do query letters privately if anyone wants help. I'm damn good at it.

CACTUSWENDY
05-27-2010, 11:32 PM
I have done a few...but since I'm still in the learning process I don't feel I have the brains to offer towards such an important task. The ones that help are very good at what they do and point out some really great information. I don't read many of them any more as time does not allow me to. I tend to stick to the area that I love reading....the horror areas of the works, as I can tell if I really like something or not.

Being a member of the AW is more then just signing up and 'getting' help. It is a clutch of folks with such a vast amount to offer and if they feel as though someone is only posting to be on the 'getting' side of the coin, then I can understand why they pull back from helping. (Have seen way too much of the 'drive bys.)

Again, This is only my opinion.

Chasing the Horizon
05-27-2010, 11:34 PM
I don't crit in QLH very often. When I do, who I crit is based on a) do I have something constructive to say? and b) are they an active forum member who I know is serious about what they're doing and likely to appreciate of my time?

Genre definitely makes a difference too. You don't want me critting your woman's fiction query. Unless you want advised to add magic and explosions to make it more interesting. :D

firedrake
05-27-2010, 11:41 PM
I'm crap at query letters. Now and then I'll have a stab at it. But way too many times I've seen letters that reflect a novel that is nowhere ready for querying. Critiquers have gently suggested to these writers that they need to take their time. Yet, a few hours later, they're back with another version of a letter which still shows flaws in the novel.

I get tired of seeing advice being ignored or writers getting defensive. I also get tired of the drive-by posters who see AW SYW as nothing more than a free critique service and offer nothing or very little in return, in terms of becoming more involved in the AW community.

Hence, I tend to stay away from QLH. It's just not worth sending my blood pressure into the stratosphere any more.

Devil Ledbetter
05-27-2010, 11:43 PM
The only time I provide crit is when I have something to add which I think will be helpful, and which hasn't already been stated. You could be my online best friend but if someone has already said what I would have said, I'm not going to chime in just to repeat them.

As for QLH, I've had precious little luck with my own queries and therefore don't have a lot of confidence that I'd know what I'm talking about when critiquing someone else's. It's not a matter of being selfish; it's just that I'd be the blind leading the blind.

Just one person responded to my last QLH query up for critique, but she made a good point that made the query stronger.

It's not quantity of replies, but the quality.

ishtar'sgate
05-27-2010, 11:55 PM
I check it out from time to time. A couple of things stop me from reading - overlong posts or posts that claim up front to be pretty rough. I prefer reading something the writer has already taken a bit of time with before putting out there for everyone else to read.

I admit I don't critique all that much. A couple of reasons for that. One is that I'd only be repeating what other critiquers have said and the other is that there's so much to deal with I just don't know where to start and give up. Fortunately posters are lucky as there are a number of people willing to put in a fair amount of their time to give a line-by-line critique. But they can only do so much.

Chris P
05-28-2010, 12:07 AM
I've not posted or critted in a long time. Part of it is time, but part of it is that I can only provide input on my taste of what I THINK will get an agent's attention; I have no experience (I've never even been asked for a partial, but I only queried about 6 agents before it was clear that the novel had problems that couldn't be solved by a query letter).

I'm somewhat the opposite of others in this thread. I tend to give more in-depth crits to newbies who might not yet have a network of critters and betas established. I know certain people here are going to get oodles of input and are further along than I am in their skills. Perhaps that's not helpful, but that's what I find myself doing.

Phaeal
05-28-2010, 12:09 AM
I tend to stay away from QLH threads from someone with a very low post count. I don't think it's fair to sign up to a community only to glom some free help.

My own ethic re communities is: Participate and give some assistance yourself before asking for assistance. But, hey, I'm a hardass.

;)

Don Allen
05-28-2010, 12:22 AM
I definitely think that someone whose been around a bit on the boards gets a preference because, like its been said, you're part of the community and are truly looking for some feedback. Writing is a bitch,, not cliche' seriously and its hard to critique newbies just for the sake of a critique.

Also, it should be noted that there are some very talented people on these boards, and if you're lucky enough to get a look from some of them, it's a pretty big fucking deal... so a little work and commitment can go a long way...

Devil Ledbetter
05-28-2010, 12:36 AM
I definitely think that someone whose been around a bit on the boards gets a preference because, like its been said, you're part of the community and are truly looking for some feedback. Writing is a bitch,, not cliche' seriously and its hard to critique newbies just for the sake of a critique.
I don't know, Don. I've been here around for a bit and take writing seriously, yet had only one person respond to the last query I posted for crit. But as I said, I am fine with that.

Namatu
05-28-2010, 02:30 AM
When I have time to crit, I'll look first for what sounds interesting by subject line, and a close second at threads that don't have much response. If something that sounds interesting already has several responses, I'll skip it. But sometimes I read and don't crit because the feedback required is more than I have time to give. When I was able to crit more regularly, I would soon get tired of people with single or double-digit posting numbers seeking query advice and would start to skip those (at times they dominate). Also, I'm not huge on fantasy so those tend to lose me pretty quickly.

Reasons, as you've seen, vary by person, but there are some common themes.

firedrake
05-28-2010, 02:33 AM
I have to say, after today, I'm done with SYW.

Unless it's an AW member I actually know can accept criticism in the spirit in which it's intended.

KTC
05-28-2010, 02:38 AM
I don't say much in QLH because I'm horrible at writing queries. I read them. I don't think I have any advice to add in that forum...I'm sadly lacking.

As for the rest of SYW...I used to crit a lot more. I almost never do, now...just because I'm so busy and quite often the posts are just too long. I'd love to see one or two page posts...something I can whip in, crit and leave. But when the posts are 2-3 K words...I just don't have the time. I miss critting sometimes, though...and go back every now and again.

underthecity
05-28-2010, 03:10 AM
I visit QLH on a weekly basis and critique them when I can and have a chunk of time. Sometimes I'll do one, then want to do another right away, sometimes not.

More often than not, I see a member with very few post counts. Sometimes I do those, sometimes not for the same reasons everyone has already stated: Many of these are drive-bys, simply looking for a critique service, then never bothering to come back. That irritates me, especially when I crit the multiple versions as the query progresses.

I immediately lose interest when my advice is ignored. If spend a half hour critiquing someone's query with what I feel is sound advice, then I read the newest version and everything I said was disregarded, I don't post again and will usually not post when that member reposts with something else later.

AW is a give-and-take community. If you get help, you should give help, even if you don't feel you are experienced enough to give sound advice. You can still read the query and point out one thing that you think doesn't work. It could be something everyone missed. But don't post with "Looks good to me!" Because it probably isn't.

Xvee
05-28-2010, 03:56 AM
I immediately lose interest when my advice is ignored. If spend a half hour critiquing someone's query with what I feel is sound advice, then I read the newest version and everything I said was disregarded, I don't post again and will usually not post when that member reposts with something else later.



I learned a lot reading your critiques of other people's work. But sometimes I think the writers are so green that they have trouble putting your advice into practice rather than ignoring it.

ishtar'sgate
05-28-2010, 04:42 AM
I've not posted or critted in a long time. Part of it is time, but part of it is that I can only provide input on my taste of what I THINK will get an agent's attention; I have no experience (I've never even been asked for a partial, but I only queried about 6 agents before it was clear that the novel had problems that couldn't be solved by a query letter).

I'm somewhat the opposite of others in this thread. I tend to give more in-depth crits to newbies who might not yet have a network of critters and betas established. I know certain people here are going to get oodles of input and are further along than I am in their skills. Perhaps that's not helpful, but that's what I find myself doing.

It doesn't matter whether or not you have experience. You're a reader and readers have a great ability to see what isn't working and why it isn't working. It's up to the writer to deal with the how of making it work.

cbenoi1
05-28-2010, 05:29 AM
> what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?

My top 5:

5) Low post count. Usually indicates a possible drive-by.
4) Unattractive story. Various reasons. Genre. Story. Style. Obvious plot holes & inconsistencies. Or just too convoluted to do anything constructive.
3) Fast churn rate. I'm late by two versions by the time I'm done reading.
2) Not receptive to crits. Or asking for a 'gentle' crit, whatever that means.
1) Not reading the stickies. Duh!

-cb

Xvee
05-28-2010, 05:55 AM
I'm glad I decided to pick all your juicy brains. Lots of useful info here, especially for newbs.

At first I thought there might be a secret AW handshake to get good response.:e2kissy: And that people being ignored got caught pissing in the AW water cooler or something.:e2slap:

jclarkdawe
05-28-2010, 05:56 AM
To be upfront with you, I don't critique to benefit the poster that much. Just like some people do crosswords for fun, I critique queries. Despite the somewhat similar nature of the problems, trying to be creative and seeing how fast I can figure out what's wrong provide me with entertainment. So I don't look at post counts or how long someone has been a member. Nor am I bothered by temper tantrums at me. Or other people, for that matter. I'm doing critiques for me.

One reason that some threads have higher counts than others is how the OP approaches things. Sometimes, the OP responds to each comment. Sometimes the OP posts several versions as they make changes. Some of these threads can go on for a rather long time as a result, and get high counts.

Another reason a thread can get a high count is some issue develops in the query that interests people. The issue might in fact have little to do with the query.

Sometimes a query has a low count because it only takes one or two responses to get the point across. There's very little benefit in saying the same thing twice. Although sometimes the same thing has to be said numerable times to get the point across.

After you've been doing this for a while, you know which queries have a high potential to bite you in the ass. I've been asked several times by other members of the forum to respond to something because I have a cast-iron ass, so biting me in the ass just hurts the biter's teeth.

This forum has expanded a lot since I first came here. Sometimes I'll see ten or so queries that have had comments since my last time of being on. Yeah, like I'm going to look through that many! But there is an ebb and flow to the place as far as volume and that's a factor.

QLH is not normally something you're going to stay with. There's just a couple of people left who still post regularly who were on when I started. The problems are the same, and you don't need to write that many queries in your writing career. You have the right mentality, and they can be somewhat entertaining, but nearly all of them are boring. I've seen so many orphans through the portal to save the world for no good reason that I should dream about the damn things.

Titles to threads help, and having friends help, but random chance can probably do as much to explain the counts as anything else.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

blacbird
05-28-2010, 06:57 AM
I don't say much in QLH because I'm horrible at writing queries. I read them. I don't think I have any advice to add in that forum...I'm sadly lacking.

Exactly this.

caw

Libbie
05-28-2010, 07:03 AM
Clearly a conspiracy is afoot! ;)

Nah, just kidding. I think it's a) people who offer crits are more likely to get them and b) lots of folks are hesitant to offer crits for stuff that's out of their genre/comfort zone. We have more people here writing YA and fantasy than memoirs, for example -- YA or fantasy queries are likely to get more attention just because there are more board users interested in those genres.

Don Allen
05-28-2010, 07:04 AM
I don't know, Don. I've been here around for a bit and take writing seriously, yet had only one person respond to the last query I posted for crit. But as I said, I am fine with that.

You have been, and i believe well respected to boot.

Smish
05-28-2010, 07:16 AM
I critique query letters occasionally, but usually only when one pops up in the new posts and is for an MG or YA novel (that's what I read and write. I'd have no idea what works or doesn't in other genres).

And it's a small thing, and probably just a personal pet peeve, but it turns me off every time: colored text. If I open the thread and it's written in any color other than black, I exit immediately. :)

poetinahat
05-28-2010, 07:21 AM
Great thread topic, XVee.

We've had the same questions come up many times in Poetry, and we've come up with similar answers as this thread has attracted. Our general answers (and I'm not suggesting you don't already do these):


Make your work as good as you can before posting it for crit
Participate! Give other people feedback and be part of the community. It does not matter if you're not an expert; at least show you care, and you're willing to give as well as take! People will be more likely to give feedback to people they know, and they like to help people who have made the effort for others.
Acknowledge the feedback! You don't have to use it, but a crit is a gift freely given; as such, it should be accepted with grace. If it's not valuable, acknowledging the critter's effort with a "thank you" still goes a long way.
Don't argue with the critters. If you do it once, they're not going to be as likely to make the effort next time. And you may lose others in the bargain.
Don't flood the boards with works for crit; put up one, maybe two at a time; otherwise, you're diluting the audience for each one. If I'm going to spend time giving feedback and I've got time to do, say, five crits, I'm sure not going to do five from the same person. I'll spread them out.
If you don't get as much feedback as you like, it may not mean anything at all. Maybe if you bump the thread once, it'll help. But if you still get nothing, it may be Nature's way of telling you to try again.


Here's a list of the Poetry Forum's threads on critiquing (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68106); it's similar principles, even if the objectives are different. Good luck!

cllorentson
05-28-2010, 09:03 AM
> what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?

My top 5:

5) Low post count. Usually indicates a possible drive-by.



Just out of curiosity, what is considered a low post count? Anything under a hundred? Or under fifty?

I just want to know how much catching up I have to do...:) I've seen some with tens of thousands of posts to their name, and I know I have a VERY long way to go to get anywhere near that kind of street cred...

But I'm still curious what's considered dismally low...

Brindle Chase
05-28-2010, 09:40 AM
To the original question, I think its been answered. People are different. Skill levels different, timing, current events... etc... all play a part in responses.

Personally, I don't receive more than average responses to my query help requests... but I do get great responses. I think others read the responses and think... well, they already nailed the all too many flaws. No need to beat a dead horse... *lol*

What I can tell you, is I have put up 4 queries (more than one version per query, but 4 individual projects) for help in query hell. 3 have sold and the 4th is pending... so if you listen, and understand not all the advice or suggestions you receive will help... you can craft a great query and get good results. And I know my success rate is not because I'm a great writer... without the help I got in QH... I wouldn't have sold a thing!

shaldna
05-28-2010, 04:09 PM
It's just one of those things.

underthecity
05-28-2010, 04:21 PM
I learned a lot reading your critiques of other people's work. . . Well, thank you for saying so. :) Nobody's ever told me this before.


Just out of curiosity, what is considered a low post count? Anything under a hundred? Or under fifty? I personally consider "low post count" to be under 10 or 15. Even worse is when the post count for the query in the OP is 1.

Namatu
05-28-2010, 04:21 PM
I should add that my comments above are all in regard to QLH. I don't visit the other areas of SYW. I don't want to get that involved in actual content. Queries are much more contained and I don't have to worry about the big picture.


I personally consider "low post count" to be under 10 or 15. Even worse is when the post count for the query in the OP is 1.This.

cbenoi1
05-28-2010, 05:04 PM
> Just out of curiosity, what is considered a low post count?
> Anything under a hundred? Or under fifty?

I've seen many queries where the post count was below 5, all in the same thread. It's typical of a drive-by. I let others have a crack at it. And if the poster turns out to become an active member of AW, then my interet in their posts grow as well.

I've helped people with low post count before. It's not an absolute for me. I even went as far as rewriting the query as an exercise; being in marketing, writing a sales pitch comes naturally. And sometimes an alternate perspective shakes the poster's muse into action.

Like others I've also been bitten by drive-bys, so I pick my fights carefully now. Especially in QLH where emotions tend to run higher than in any other SYW forum.

-cb

EagerReader
05-28-2010, 05:42 PM
As a newbie, this thread is very helpful. I haven't posted or critiqued anything yet, simply because I'm still learning the ropes. This is a wonderful forum and seems to cover all the questions I can think of and then some. I have to admit it can be intimidating to jump right in when there are so many knowledgable people casting their gems of wisdom about.

I wasn't even aware of drive-bys and whatnot. I'll definitely make an effort to participate more when I can. 'Cause this place is pretty awesome if you're navigating through new territory.

firedrake
05-28-2010, 06:20 PM
As a newbie, this thread is very helpful. I haven't posted or critiqued anything yet, simply because I'm still learning the ropes. This is a wonderful forum and seems to cover all the questions I can think of and then some. I have to admit it can be intimidating to jump right in when there are so many knowledgable people casting their gems of wisdom about.

I wasn't even aware of drive-bys and whatnot. I'll definitely make an effort to participate more when I can. 'Cause this place is pretty awesome if you're navigating through new territory.

I think your post should be made a sticky. I wish more 'newbies' were like you!
Welcome to AW. I think you'll like it here. :D

kaitie
05-28-2010, 06:41 PM
I actually choose crits based on how many the person has received. That means I'll usually do something that doesn't have any others, or with only one or two.

I've got two more things to add to the mix (though one was sorta said already). The first is that sometimes people post elsewhere mentioning they're having issues with something, and we say, "Try posting it in SYW so people can take a look at it." If the person then does so, a lot of us who posted in the original thread suggesting it will then go check it out to offer our help. That's one of the best ways to get a crit out of me, personally. Sometimes I just have some free time and want to help, but generally seeing someone stating elsewhere they need help draws my attention to the need and will send me over to offer opinions.

The second thing is that, and this is more in the general SYW area as opposed to the query area, quality matters. I think the ones that tend to get abandoned are the ones that require the most work. I also think there are two reasons: 1) people don't have the time to sit down and point out every basic writing issue someone might have, and 2) people often critique something because they find it interesting. If the writing level is particularly low and it has a lot of issues, you might have the agent reaction--reading the first paragraph and realizing that the person has started with someone waking up to an alarm clock with a poor understanding of grammar. They don't want to read two thousand words of it, so they don't. I'm not trying to sound harsh, and this isn't always the case of course, but it happens quite a lot.

I'm someone who is uber patient and who doesn't mind doing crits even on something I wouldn't necessarily read for pleasure, so it doesn't bother me to go seek out the ones that other people might have overlooked. I will admit, however, that I get really tired of seeing YA fantasies. If I'm looking through queries and have a few options, chances are that's not going to be the one I go for.

So really it's a ton of factors and is pretty subjective. I certainly don't think people actively avoid certain members as an attempt to push them out of the group, or anything like that.

shaldna
05-28-2010, 06:43 PM
I know that I get put off when the poster has only questions in his posts and not answers.

kaitie
05-28-2010, 06:45 PM
Oh yeah, format! Someone mentioned not reading the stickies, but if you have a big block o' text, it's gonna get overlooked. Spaces are good. :D

firedrake
05-28-2010, 06:51 PM
Oh yeah, format! Someone mentioned not reading the stickies, but if you have a big block o' text, it's gonna get overlooked. Spaces are good. :D

That and posting a 4k piece without spaces will definitely put me off!

Bufty
05-28-2010, 07:07 PM
So will a tiny font.

And in passing - I hate reading crits that are littered with different colours. Some are dreadfully hard to read.


That and posting a 4k piece without spaces will definitely put me off!

cbenoi1
05-28-2010, 10:31 PM
> The second thing is that, and this is more in the general SYW area as
> opposed to the query area, quality matters. I think the ones that tend
> to get abandoned are the ones that require the most work.

Or worst they have a query and a first chapter posted in SYW and it's clear from reading that sample chapter that the quality is far from submission quality, so any work on the query is a moot point anyway.

Then there is this bizarre untold rule that we should only examine the query/synopsis and overlook obvious plot holes and inconsistencies in the novel itself. It's sometimes an unavoidable discussion. Some posters take this to heart and the thread never ends well. Again, another reason why I tend to pick my fights carefully on QLH.

-cb

scarletpeaches
05-28-2010, 10:39 PM
As a newbie, this thread is very helpful. I haven't posted or critiqued anything yet, simply because I'm still learning the ropes. This is a wonderful forum and seems to cover all the questions I can think of and then some. I have to admit it can be intimidating to jump right in when there are so many knowledgable people casting their gems of wisdom about.

I wasn't even aware of drive-bys and whatnot. I'll definitely make an effort to participate more when I can. 'Cause this place is pretty awesome if you're navigating through new territory.
I think your post should be made a sticky. I wish more 'newbies' were like you!
Welcome to AW. I think you'll like it here. :DWhat she said.

Of course, newbies should bear in mind veterans are only giving a combination of opinion and experience, so could be wrong.

Well, I mean...they could be. I never am.:D

Kweei
05-28-2010, 11:57 PM
I tend to be drawn to shorter posts. So if I am in SYW, I like to go to the chunks that are shorter. It's easier for me to digest. I have a harder time sitting down to do a critique if the excerpt is long.

However, I don't tend to go to those sections very much yet. I still consider myself a relative newbie to the site, and I've been doing a lot of reading and deciding where I best fit on the board.

As I figure out some better time management--ha ha--I'll be participating more in that section.

But I have noticed a high volume of drive-bys in SYW. I haven't been to the Query one yet as I am not at that stage in my writing career.

Rhoda Nightingale
05-29-2010, 01:09 AM
I reckon your question has been answered sufficiently already, but since you were kind enough to offer your advice on my most recent query, I'll throw in my two cents anyway:

-I don't venture into QLH to crit, because I'm still in the process of learning how to write a good one myself.

-Elsewhere in SYW, I tend to look at genre first. I don't go in there that much either, but when I do I look for fantasy/sci-fi, horror, and YA, because that's what I write.

-I don't like reading samples without a word count posted in the title, because I want to know what I'm getting into.

-If it's a tl;dr with shoddy formatting, I won't read it.

-If it's posted in the wrong genre, I won't read it.

-If more than 10 people have already commented on it, I won't read it because I figure they're already had their way with it.

-Oddly, I don't look at join dates or post counts because I just don't notice them, but I realize I'm in the minority there. Also, I think around 3 or 4 posters reading and commenting on a given piece is plenty. Those higher responses don't usually add much to the editing process.

Lyxdeslic
05-30-2010, 09:02 PM
Just curious to get your thoughts and theories on why that may be. What are the people getting lots of responses doing right, and what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?Interesting. I'm hardly loved by many on this site, including Mac herself, but for some reason I hold the record in QLH for the most responses on my query. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100365)

Judging from my history of being somewhat argumentative, going against the grain, flat out not conforming to any of the cliques we have around here, I'd say the key to receiving help in QLH is pouring your all into your query. You have to be genuinely open to all feedback, and take the time to respond to each and every point offered you, whether you agree or disagree. And share your growth and revisions as well. If you go to the trouble of asking for help, then the best reward/payment you can offer in return is to show those helping you the fruits of their labor.

Or something like that. :)

Lyx

PS

Yeah, nothing ever came of this query, but the final version is good...or at least leagues beyond its origin.

shadowwalker
05-30-2010, 11:22 PM
I haven't been to QLH at all because I simply don't know anything at all about them - I'm nowhere near that stage yet.

But one thing I noted - a couple people said they won't comment if someone else has already said what they would have. I, personally, would prefer to see even just a "I agree with XXX about YYY" - it gives the advice/suggestion more weight, as it were. One person - maybe they're right, maybe it's just them. Two or more - I *really* need to think this over. Not that I disregard a single comment versus multiples - that would be dumb - but I'm definitely less married to my original version when I get those multiples.

Monkey
05-31-2010, 06:53 PM
There can be a great many reasons for disparity in response - from the nearly random ones of timing of the original post and how often it lands on the top few updated threads to the subjective reasons including how popular the genre and subject matter are, to then very personal reasons.

[...]


Suki nailed it on the first page, IMO.

firedrake
05-31-2010, 07:24 PM
Judging from my history of being somewhat argumentative, going against the grain, flat out not conforming to any of the cliques we have around here, I'd say the key to receiving help in QLH is pouring your all into your query. You have to be genuinely open to all feedback, and take the time to respond to each and every point offered you, whether you agree or disagree. And share your growth and revisions as well. If you go to the trouble of asking for help, then the best reward/payment you can offer in return is to show those helping you the fruits of their labor.



this, this and this.

Whenever I've posted in QLH, I've posted each revision on the same thread. It makes sense for both me and the people who've taken the trouble to provide feedback. We can all see how the query has progressed and I'd like to think that kind of thread helps other people who are about to post their letters in QLH. It's always been hard work but the end result is a letter I feel happy to send out.

Kalyke
05-31-2010, 08:12 PM
I think the answer, if you stick around for a long time is that this is a voluntary group of writers of various skill levels from various questions-- huge generalization, but, the majority are not published, and don't post much-- they are just as in the dark as you are. Basically, if you break down the demographics, I'd say from what I have seen that most are high school age and probably as frustrated as you are. There are all sorts of factors about niceness and phrasing of questions. I'd say "re-invent yourself. Get a really nice avatar make-over, and write really interesting posts, not just questions. Maybe you will get a following? For example, XVee, (Captain Sucks) is not really very friendly and inviting. Market yourself-- which is what the whole query hell is about anyway. (I am not a good example to look at for this advice either).

Xvee
05-31-2010, 09:40 PM
I'd say "re-invent yourself. Get a really nice avatar make-over, and write really interesting posts, not just questions. Maybe you will get a following? For example, XVee, (Captain Sucks) is not really very friendly and inviting. Market yourself-- which is what the whole query hell is about anyway. (I am not a good example to look at for this advice either).

The question arose not because I was being ignored (although I'd understand why people would do so :D). I've noticed members, some fairly new, and some who have been around for a year or two, not getting help or even that many views to their thread and wondered why that might be. And none of these people were off-putting in anyway I could see.

An insect humping a doll = awesome in my book.

brainstorm77
05-31-2010, 09:53 PM
The question arose not because I was being ignored (although I'd understand why people would do so :D). I've noticed members, some fairly new, and some who have been around for a year or two, not getting help or even that many views to their thread and wondered why that might be. And none of these people were off-putting in anyway I could see.

An insect humping a doll = awesome in my book.

Did you go through their post history? It may not be in that post(s) you have read. I do find some shy away from newbies who come in and immediately go to SYW looking for help.
I rarely post in SYW myself because I have betas that do well enough for me. I don't crit because I don't feel I'm at that stage yet.

Xvee
05-31-2010, 10:26 PM
Did you go through their post history? It may not be in that post(s) you have read.

I've done that a few times and very rarely found anything questionable. But I totally understand your point that some folks might have a history of bad attitude or not bothering to help others.

brainstorm77
05-31-2010, 11:16 PM
Or just lack of participation in the community.

bethany
06-01-2010, 12:09 AM
I posted a query recently (three months ago) and only got responses from people I know/am in contact with regularly.

I have a lot of posts, and but I figured people saw that I got help and maybe didn't have anything to add? I mean the query could've been so bad they had no help for it, but it had good results, so I don't think that was it.

I like critting queries, but often get frustrated by helping people who don't get what a query is all about.

Xvee
06-01-2010, 01:04 AM
I like critting queries, but often get frustrated by helping people who don't get what a query is all about.


Don't these people deserve our love the most? :Hug2: But I understand what you're saying. Hard to help people you can't get through to.

scarletpeaches
06-01-2010, 01:07 AM
Don't these people deserve our love the most? :Hug2: But I understand what you're saying. Hard to help people you can't get through to.No; they deserve a kick in the face.

Xvee
06-01-2010, 01:13 AM
No; they deserve a kick in the face.


:roll: And for some reason I could actually picture you doing that for real. That will learn them some query.

bethany
06-01-2010, 05:34 AM
Well, if it's someone whose stuff I've read, and they're a good writer who can't seem to write a good query, that's one thing. But...there are levels of hopelessness where once you patch together the query, by committee or whatever, then you feel sort of sorry for the agent who decides to request it.

And most of the clueless query writers could stop being clueless from doing some research and reading some stickies.

Chasing the Horizon
06-01-2010, 06:14 AM
Interesting. I'm hardly loved by many on this site, including Mac herself, but for some reason I hold the record in QLH for the most responses on my query. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100365)
Nah, it can't be based on personality. If it were, I'd be completely ignored. And I'm not.

Either that, or my frequent avatar and profile changes keep people confused . . .

Xvee
06-01-2010, 07:05 AM
Nah, it can't be based on personality. If it were, I'd be completely ignored. And I'm not.

Either that, or my frequent avatar and profile changes keep people confused . . .


Who are you again? I feel like I should be ignoring you but don't know why.

mario_c
06-01-2010, 07:31 AM
Give, and ye shall receive.

Now where else can you actually do that? :D

Namatu
06-01-2010, 05:45 PM
And most of the clueless query writers could stop being clueless from doing some research and reading some stickies.Definitely this. People post queries that don't follow the format. Then they get some good general feedback that includes "read the stickies" and they post a revision that clearly illustrates they have not read the stickies. I've even seen more feedback given, with reiterations of "read the stickies", and again, no reading of the stickies or the query would have more than two new sentences in it and no changes to structure (random example). I only beat a dead horse once before I go find myself a nice lively pony.

Xvee
06-01-2010, 05:47 PM
Give, and ye shall receive.

Now where else can you actually do that? :D


Well, there's this whorehouse....

wheelwriter
01-02-2011, 11:52 PM
I must have been away last May because I missed this thread. Thanks, Jim, for all your tidying.

I didn't see this suggestion mentioned when I read through the thread, so I figured I'd resurrect--What has always worked for me when I am looking for query critiques is to add a request to my signature with a link to my query letter thread. Then when I critique other peoples' work (that definitely helps garner critiques too), both the original poster and other critters tend to migrate over to my query.

Lady Ice
10-11-2012, 01:55 AM
I return to threads quite frequently if the poster has posted an interesting query- that is, one that needs an overhaul or one that may have genius buried under trash.

The more open an OP is to criticism and the more versions they try out, the more replies they'll get.

Also, I don't post if the query has so much clutter and detail that I cannot see the story.

meowzbark
10-11-2012, 06:15 AM
I visit QLH on a weekly basis and critique them when I can and have a chunk of time. Sometimes I'll do one, then want to do another right away, sometimes not.

More often than not, I see a member with very few post counts. Sometimes I do those, sometimes not for the same reasons everyone has already stated: Many of these are drive-bys, simply looking for a critique service, then never bothering to come back. That irritates me, especially when I crit the multiple versions as the query progresses.

I immediately lose interest when my advice is ignored. If spend a half hour critiquing someone's query with what I feel is sound advice, then I read the newest version and everything I said was disregarded, I don't post again and will usually not post when that member reposts with something else later.

AW is a give-and-take community. If you get help, you should give help, even if you don't feel you are experienced enough to give sound advice. You can still read the query and point out one thing that you think doesn't work. It could be something everyone missed. But don't post with "Looks good to me!" Because it probably isn't.

I became frustrated and stopped visiting SYW when my critiques were critiqued by other members...basically telling the OP to ignore my advice. I might not be perfect, but I like people to respect my opinion and not blast it.

jjdebenedictis
10-11-2012, 07:05 AM
Zombie thread! RUN!!

It's a good topic, though! :)

I find that if the OP goes back, with a good attitude, and replies to commenters, it really helps bump up the response rate. People like knowing their concerns aren't falling on deaf ears.

thothguard51
10-11-2012, 07:05 AM
Timing is everything and the planets have to be aligned just right. Always consult your horoscope...

JKRowley
10-11-2012, 08:13 AM
This thread makes me feel guilty and want to critique queries in QLH, although I know precious little about queries.

I have been a drop, thanks and run poster in there. I didn't get a lot of response, but I got some valuable advice and gave some thought to that advice. I did not come back with revisions because I didn't know the routine, since I hadn't visited QLH until I needed it.

Those critiquers in QLH deserve some props for what they do.

Polenth
10-11-2012, 10:32 AM
I have been a drop, thanks and run poster in there. I didn't get a lot of response, but I got some valuable advice and gave some thought to that advice. I did not come back with revisions because I didn't know the routine, since I hadn't visited QLH until I needed it.

You don't have to show people the revised version. It some cases, it can be damaging to keep posting revisions.

If a query has major issues and needs a substantial rewrite, that's the time to post revisions. If a query is mostly there but people have some concerns, that's a time where you're likely to be better off keeping the revisions to yourself.

The issue with posting endless revisions is some people get caught up on the revision train. They keep editing and editing, trying to get a revision everyone loves. It never happens, so they keep on editing. Such threads do get a lot of comments, but that doesn't mean the thread is more useful or the final query is better. Often, the final query is a mess of bits of different versions and the poster will go on to post another thread for the same query a month later.

quicklime
10-11-2012, 04:13 PM
I haven't been here long and been hanging out mostly in Query Hell section.

I've noticed that some people get a lot of help and attention for their posts in query hell while others get little or no help. Some of the posts do not even rack up that many views.

Just curious to get your thoughts and theories on why that may be. What are the people getting lots of responses doing right, and what are the people getting little response doing (if anything) wrong?

there's a lot of reasons, I suspect....here's a few:

1. synopses tend to get less attention than queries. they just do.

2. very new posters often get less attention. If they hit 50 posts with "what she said" and "OMG, sounds awesome" posts, essentially gaming the 50-piost system, they are likely to get even less.

3. sometimes I skip queries that look really bad, because I don't have the heart to tell the person "your grammar is nowhere near ready for prime time."

4. Genre matters. folks write what they like, and often crit in kind--there's a lot of YA writers here, for example, who may be less likely to crit a period romance, or a vampire horror story

5. Buzzwords matter, as do first impressions. Generally anyone who says "be gentle" I pass by. I've passed a few stories because I got the impression from the query the book was a screed against muslims, a christian manifesto, or something else I would rather not touch. And anyone who says their work is literary fiction and leaves me convinced they only liked the lofty sound of the title, and aren't bringing anything beyond just "mainstream," is likely to get ignored because I've had several bad experiences with people who got so offended when I suggested it wasn't "literary" I might as well have suggested it was written in smears of dog shit.

6. bickering with the critiquer.....asking for clarification is one thing, but again, impressions matter....and usually when I see someone arguing with the critiquer I get the impression critiquing would be a waste, there's plenty of other threads with people who appear to be interested in actually listening.


I'm sure there's many other reasons people do or do not crit, but those are flags for me, at least.

quicklime
10-11-2012, 04:20 PM
damn the zombie-threads :-(

jclarkdawe
10-11-2012, 04:53 PM
The interesting thing with zombie threads is who is still around and who isn't. Several of the posters in this thread used to post quite a bit in QLH, and now they don't. By and large, QLH has a transient population. Of course, you do have to factor in the limited attention span of squirrels.

I want to mention Queriers, want a shortcut to writing a good query letter? (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=255806) (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/misc/multipage.gif 1 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=255806) 2 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=255806&page=2)) because that's the best way to increase your response rate. Now it might be my charming personality, but more likely its payback, but regardless, I always get a good response when I post a query for critique. Definitely critiquing other queries is a good way to get people to critique yours.

This morning when I finally got to QLH (it's most certainly not the first thing I look at when I turn my computer on in the morning.), I noticed there are six queries that have been changed since last night. If I take as little as five minutes a thread, that's half an hour. No way can anyone do all the threads anymore. But there are ways to improve the chances of your thread being picked by people when they go to QLH. And the suggestions in this thread are a good starting point.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Phaeal
10-11-2012, 05:52 PM
Timing is everything and the planets have to be aligned just right. Always consult your horoscope...

Yes, never ever post in SYW during a Mercury retrograde.

jjdebenedictis
10-11-2012, 07:29 PM
The interesting thing with zombie threads is who is still around and who isn't. Several of the posters in this thread used to post quite a bit in QLH, and now they don't. Yeah, I'm one of those. :e2shrug: I had a lot of fun doing query critiques in particular, but then I began feeling burnt out.

It's a valuable learning experience to critique other's work; I like to do it both as a way to living generously as well as to improve my own work. At the same time, I come on AW to have fun, so it's probably best to wait until critiquing feels fun again.

Buffysquirrel
10-11-2012, 10:14 PM
The issue with posting endless revisions is some people get caught up on the revision train. They keep editing and editing, trying to get a revision everyone loves.

I've seen this happen over at Evil Editor. Sometimes I try to give the author a heads-up that they're in a bad rut.

TNK
10-12-2012, 07:50 AM
damn the zombie-threads :-(


Don't damn the zombie threads. Some of us weren't around when they were alive. :Hug2:

Besides, zombies are cool. :D

Thanks for the info. ::goes off to read whole thread::

Timmy V.
10-12-2012, 07:59 AM
Whats a "zombie thread?"

Medievalist
10-12-2012, 08:05 AM
Whats a "zombie thread?"

And old thread that's been moribund, with no new posts for months or even years.

"Waking" one up by posting in it is sometimes called "necroing" a thread.

mccardey
10-12-2012, 08:05 AM
Whats a "zombie thread?"

See this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=241878)? It wants to be your friend. It's a perfect AW Dictionary - except it doesn't have "zombie thread" listed. Zombie threads were alive once, died and then got resurrected by a new post. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not all that helpful.

Timmy V.
10-12-2012, 08:17 AM
And old thread that's been moribund, with no new posts for months or even years.

"Waking" one up by posting in it is sometimes called "necroing" a thread.


See this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=241878)? It wants to be your friend. It's a perfect AW Dictionary - except it doesn't have "zombie thread" listed. Zombie threads were alive once, died and then got resurrected by a new post. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not all that helpful.

Thanks Medievalist. How are you McCardey? You're both the best. Actually I did check FAQs but never opened up the AW dictionary, how cool.

So is it ok to do the zombie thing? Or start a new thread? Medievalist you had suggested to read the old ones. Some of the old ones are really interesting. One that wasn't around for the old thread is inspired to respond to the old thread. I do see the point of the threader above. All the great threads, its like a candy store. Reeses peanut butter cups and M and Ms and Milky Ways and Three Musketeers...

Little Ming
10-13-2012, 04:34 AM
To be upfront with you, I don't critique to benefit the poster that much. Just like some people do crosswords for fun, I critique queries. Despite the somewhat similar nature of the problems, trying to be creative and seeing how fast I can figure out what's wrong provide me with entertainment. So I don't look at post counts or how long someone has been a member. Nor am I bothered by temper tantrums at me. Or other people, for that matter. I'm doing critiques for me.


Same here. I started critiquing because I thought it was fun and I was learning a lot about my own writing. I used to critique several queries a week. It was new and fresh and I loved the smell of broken writer souls in the morning. :evil

I've slowed down now, mostly from burn out, but also because I've become bored. It's becoming painfully obvious now when a writer shows up who hasn't read any of the stickies, hasn't cared to even look at any of the other threads, and might only have a passing familiarity with what a query letter is. It's also becoming obvious, usually within the first page of a a thread whether an author will really benefit from QLH. It's called Hell for a reason. ;)