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View Full Version : [Critique services] Marketing the Muse (Marla Miller)



roseangel
12-12-2011, 06:25 AM
http://www.marlamiller.com

She has posted a few times, thought I'd check on everyone's views.

pfinucan
12-12-2011, 08:40 AM
Wow, I think it is amazing how far removed unpublished authors are from editors now. How is there a market for help just to get an agent. An agent who isn't even the person buying the book.

They say, in the old days authors would sell books to editors.

roseangel
12-12-2011, 08:47 AM
????
Have you ever used her crit service? If so, was it any good?
What about her writers classes? If so, how were they?
What do you think of the services she offers? Are they reasonable? Are there any red flags?

Terie
12-12-2011, 10:45 AM
Her replies in this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=231865) are, um, interesting.

Old Hack
12-12-2011, 01:40 PM
I don't share the views Ms Miller expressed in the thread Terie has linked to:


Just saying:
If people think agents are only interested in talent, they haven't hung around this industry long enough----
It's who you know as much as anything else---otherwise, we wouldn't have SCADS of mediocre to poor reading books out here....
Marla Miller
www.MarlaMiller.com (http://www.marlamiller.com/)

That's both disrespectful to the writers who have got published, and the agents who represent them; and it's simply not my experience. The agents I know are all keen to find talented writers.

I note from her website that Ms Miller has worked as a psychiatric nurse practitioner/teacher, and was Assistant Director of Santa Barbara Writers Conference for some time (how much is not made clear). She also writes,


My personal life includes leaving a longtime marriage that produced three fine daughters, now young adult women. I'd like to think that all the writing I did during their 'wonder years' will eventually find the light of publishing day

That implies to me that Ms Miller has not yet had a book published: so I'm not entirely convinced that she's qualified to teach others how to do it.

Terie
12-12-2011, 02:17 PM
That implies to me that Ms Miller has not yet had a book published: so I'm not entirely convinced that she's qualified to teach others how to do it.

According to her bio, she's had one book published (by S&S), and looks like a large number of magazine articles.

Momento Mori
12-12-2011, 03:42 PM
pfinucan:
Wow, I think it is amazing how far removed unpublished authors are from editors now.

It depends on what you mean by editors and who they work for. There are a lot of small/independent publishers out there who will still look at unsolicited submissions from writers, but you need to be prepared to wait because they'll be working through the slush pool.

However if you want to be published by one of the Big 6 and you don't have an agent, then your best bet is to go to a writers conference where named editors from the Big 6 are attending. Many such conferences offer pitching sessions where you can meeting them and pitch straight to them and in the YA market, I know of 3 authors who got their deals that way.

Your best bet though is still to try and get a good agent because sadly, there are so many writers out there trying to get deals for their manuscripts that a degree of filtration is necessary as the big publishers simply don't have the time or the manpower to go through their slush piles.


pfinucan:
They say, in the old days authors would sell books to editors.

And in the really old days, authors could serialise their novels through magazines and pamplets so what's your point? Times change. Writers need to move with them. If you're not prepared to do that then you can always investigate self-publishing. A lot or authors are going into self-publishing these days with varying degrees of success.


Terie:
she's had one book published (by S&S), and looks like a large number of magazine articles.

Her books credit was in 1999 for a non-fiction book about the US women's football team (which looks to have been a tie in to their victory in the Women's World Cup). I'm not picking up anything since then in terms of book writing credits but it looks like she's been active in writers' groups and events in California.

Whether that amounts to a qualification for helping write query letters ... I dunno. I think her response to the question raised in the thread that Terie linked to are plain wrong and, in fact, demonstrate that she didn't read the OP's post correctly. There is no use in mentioning a second cousin who's a famous writer in a query if you don't know that cousin and they aren't prepared to vouch for your work.

MM

shaldna
12-12-2011, 04:46 PM
That website is horrible to try and navigate around. It's not very user friendly, and doesn't have a lot of useful content. I spent ten minutes just trying to work out what the point was.


EDIT: Okay, I FINALLY figured out what was on offer - it's under the 'store' page on the webiste, where there are a list of 'crits' available for 99c

However, on closer inspection they don't appear to be individual crits, but rather a crit of another authors query letter. Not sure how much use that would be to the individual, and is probably nothing you can't get for free elsewhere.

Old Hack
12-12-2011, 08:04 PM
Indeed. There's the fabulous Query Shark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/), for example, where you can not only read other people's queries, you can find out what a leading agent thinks of them, and how she'd rework them; and you can join in with the resulting discussions, too. All for free.

Filigree
12-12-2011, 10:21 PM
I wouldn't trust this woman to critique my grocery list.

writersMAMA
12-12-2011, 11:21 PM
you have no reason to say this and it's also not very nice--I'm have a great reputation in the writing community--please don't say negative things about me that you have no base for saying.
Marla Miller

writersMAMA
12-12-2011, 11:29 PM
Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me. I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.
don't be mean to other writers-it's bad karma-this business is tough enough.
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com

Theo81
12-12-2011, 11:39 PM
I have a question.

Do you think it's important that a person soliciting business for their critique service demonstrate an understanding of punctuation?

I do.

roseangel
12-13-2011, 12:20 AM
Yea, I'm not the greatest at grammar and punctuation, but your posts, Marla, kinda make me cringe.
Also, what makes you better than QLH or QueryShark?
How many of the queries you've critted have gone on to material requests?

BenPanced
12-13-2011, 12:41 AM
Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me. I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.
don't be mean to other writers-it's bad karma-this business is tough enough.
The questions that have been raised are only the sort that have been raised over other publishers and critique services. More often than not, the people running these businesses have come here and answered the questions with grace, style, and dignity. They've also come here and accused us being big ol' meanie boo birds without offering a rebuttal, so now's your chance to let us know why we should consider your service. Yes, your queries have gotten work for yourself but who else has benefited from your critique? Have they gone on to be published? With whom? I would think that you'd rather mention those credits.

CaoPaux
12-13-2011, 12:49 AM
Indeed. There's the fabulous Query Shark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/), for example, where you can not only read other people's queries, you can find out what a leading agent thinks of them, and how she'd rework them; and you can join in with the resulting discussions, too. All for free.And for those wanting an editor's POV, there's the likes of Evil Editor (http://evileditor.blogspot.com/).

Katrina S. Forest
12-13-2011, 01:27 AM
Marla,

I know plenty of people who contribute huge amounts of time to their local writing communities and are very much respected by said communities for it. Time and dedication are wonderful things.

However, if you're going to sell people a service, the number of years you've been writing doesn't matter nearly so much as how much success you've had. If you told me you'd only started writing five years ago, but you'd sold three novels for five-figure advances in that time, that's a lot more impressive than writing fifty years but selling zero.

As this is a background check forum, people are going to be blunt about whether or not they think a service is useful to writers. And while you may be a wonderful, dedicated person to the writing community, I agree with the above that I could not recommend your service to people here.

The command of grammar in your posts is weak, and your website states "basics of queries" that simply aren't true. For example, here you claim that a query letter should be 500-600 words:

http://www.marlamiller.com/mtm-curriculum/single-entry/query-letter-fundamentals-lesson-one#extended

600 words wouldn't even fit on a single page. If you do not know the proper length for a query, you should not be taking money for a critique service, no matter how long you've been writing.

Momento Mori
12-13-2011, 02:08 AM
writersMAMA:
Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me.

Marla, your very first post on this community was to promote your query letter abilities. If you're going to try and use this community to promote yourself for a paid service, then you should be aware that you're going to get scrutinised for it. If you don't like it, don't post.


writersMAMA:
I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.

If you're trying to get your services out there, do yourself a favour and pay lip service to capitalisation and punctuation. It's your friend.

As regards your experience, I don't doubt that you're got a lot of experience within writing magazines but your actual publishing experience seems sparse. I can't find anything on your website about writers who got an agent thanks to your query writing advice - that should be there because it goes to establish your credibility.

Your advice on the other thread you posted in here was simply bullshit. If that's the kind of advice you give to people and charge them for, then they're not getting value for money.

Finally, if you're going to slag off people here for criticising you with snide comments about getting published, you should make sure you do your research first. There are a lot of people on this thread and in these forums who have been published, work in publishing or have agents. I'm one of those writers who has an agent and I didn't have to pay someone to help me write my query letter in order to get one.

MM

Filigree
12-13-2011, 02:36 AM
I apologize for my initial harshness, Marla. It was too vague and subjective. As I have never intended any of my grocery lists to become viable money-making products, I've never sought paid critiques of them.

We're here on AW to share information. To cut through the endless levels of bullshit, rejectomancy, magic formulas, and snake-oil sales that plague the newer writers' quest for publication. I personally love it when an editor or agent offers clear, rational reasons for the value of their services; verifiable backgrounds, qualifications, and associations; and open lists of their clientele. Finding an agent is like a job interview for both agent and writer. I wouldn't trust my artwork to an ignorant or unscrupulous gallery owner who might vanish overnight with it. Likewise, I wouldn't trust an agent or editorial consultant who didn't have a great reputation as well as vast knowledge of their industry.

Oh, and informative as writers' magazines can be, I run their positions through a lot of fact-checking, as I would any industry-subsidized trade magazine.

writersMAMA
12-13-2011, 09:01 AM
-i won't be bothering you again--
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com

BenPanced
12-13-2011, 09:35 AM
Yup. Stay klassy. :Thumbs:

Theo81
12-13-2011, 02:03 PM
-i won't be bothering you again--
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com

I would strongly recommend that you do. It's not going to be long before this thread appears on the first page of Google search results for your name. The board is read by plenty of people who aren't AW members. You are not doing anything to help yourself here. This thread exists and it's not going away. If you want to run a business, you have to control your reputation - we all do it, too - and having a flounce on a message board is not what I want to see from anybody asking for my money. Why would I want to work with anybody like that?

You haven't had an 8 year column with a magazine through luck, so what are your qualifications? You obviously think you have the expertise to charge for your services; tell us more about what makes you know more than I, who offer my opinion in return for having a place to procrastinate, do.

If you offer a valuable service, this is a great place to get known and find business. I would submit to Musa Publishing in a heartbeat if I had anything suitable, simply because I have a huge amount of respect for Mscelina.
I hope you are feel able to come back and become part of this community. We're not here to rail on you, we're here to gather the information which allows us to make informed decisions about what we're doing with our work.

shaldna
12-13-2011, 02:09 PM
Marla,

I'm going to assume that you are still following this thread, even if you decide to no longer respond.

Here's the thing, we see a lot of services like yours every day. The first stop is to look at the website, see what's on offer and to check out the people involved to see what sort of experience and / or qualifications they have to offer said service.

In your case there were questions asked because you website is not clear, and the 'services' on offer appear to be pay-per-view videos critiquing other people's query letters, rather than assessing the individual that comes to you.

Now, you may well have other services that you offer which are more tailored to the individual, but I, for one, was unable to find these on your website. The services that you do offer are ones that are available eslewhere on the internet for free, so, as potential customers or clients, we would want to know what you are offering that is unique. So far I have drawn a blank, but please correct me if I am wrong.

In terms of qualifications and experience, your bio and a rather exhaustive search on Google provides me with the facts that you have been involved in organisation of literary festivals and have published many magazine articles. But what I am seeing is a lack of experience as a professional editor, or a literary agent, or, to be honest, book publishing in general. So I would like to know what makes you qualified or experienced to provide this service?

Finally, when touting your services on a board that is populated by professional writers, editors, publishers and agents it would be wise to bear in mind that those potential clients will be judging you on the editing skills you claim to possess. Your posts, however, have not been kind to your professional repuation. A note you may wish to bear in mind.

When people here, very politely and with interest (bar one or two exceptions) raised queries or concerns or questions, you chose to attack rather than to answer them in a professional and couteous way.

The internet is forever, and these forums always come up very high on Google searchs, and I doubt you would want anyone searching your name to see your attitude here, which has been less than professional and certainly has not been friendly.

Just saying.

Now, if you choose to address any of the concerns, queries or questions that have been raised than I, for one, would be most grateful. If not then that is entirely your perogative.

There were concerns raised over some of your posts in another thread, which called into question your understanding of how the publishing industry actually works, and as such called into question your credibility to be providing such a service. That particular thread also contained responses from professional and widely respected agents, who, one would assume, know what they are talking about and what they, being agents, actually want.

Perhaps you should spend some time getting to know the people here before you shoot them all down.

If you feel that people are taking potshots at you then I'm sorry, but as I said above, the vast majority of people who responded to your posts raised questions that a potential customer really should get an answer to.

The post below is an example of what I mean. It's not helping your reputation, and it's not helping to mark you out as someone with the capabilities to be critiquing professionally, given the scattershot punctuation and random line breaks.



Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me. I have 25 years of freelance writing which means I've pitched queries for that long; long enough for established magazines like The Writer to run my columns for last 8 years--
sorry that i'm just trying to get my services out here---being unkind and demeaning me may make you all feel better but it won't get you closer to publication.
don't be mean to other writers-it's bad karma-this business is tough enough.
Marla Miller
www.marlamiller.com (http://www.marlamiller.com)

LindaJeanne
12-13-2011, 07:19 PM
f you offer a valuable service, this is a great place to get known and find business. I would submit to Musa Publishing in a heartbeat if I had anything suitable, simply because I have a huge amount of respect for Mscelina.
Likewise. Nothing inspires confidence like watching someone handle a worst-case scenario with grace and aplomb.


On the other hand...

Look, I don't care if you think i'm good enough to help all of you or not-I offer a good service and am widely respected---
that you all like to take potshots says WAY more about you than me.
...nothing erodes confidence like someone having a pout (followed by a flounce) because people on the internet dared ask for clarification on why they are qualified to offer a service they are charging money for. And to ask for clarification on specifically what service is being offered.

People in this thread have raised valid questions -- questions that anyone contemplating using your services is going to want to know the answers to, but those answers aren't currently findable on your website. This thread is a wonderful oppertunity for you to clarify what you are offering, why you are qualified to offer it, and answer any questions or concerns that potential customers might have.

It's your choice whether you make this thread positive marketing or negative. People aren't going to judge you based on what other people ask or the tone they take; they are going to judge you based on how you respond.
.

Filigree
12-13-2011, 07:34 PM
What Linda and Shaldna said. Yes, I admit I was harsher than needed, but I'd just spent 15 unproductive minutes looking through the Miller website and checking references.

Bottom line: if I can, with only the effort of reading, sort through query examples on QueryShark, AW's QLH, my local library, and other free sources, why am I going to pay to see an analysis of *someone else's* query? From a source whose very advertising posts don't inspire confidence in her grasp of language mechanics?

Like most newer writers, I know I need help with many issues. But I want to learn from sources I can trust, too.

writersMAMA
12-13-2011, 07:59 PM
I just reported this thread to management-it seems to be run by bullies and i think one of you just threatened my reputation---since i seem to be one of few using my name here, i take this very seriously.
and if ur pros, god help us.
marla miller
www.marlamiller.com

Terie
12-13-2011, 08:07 PM
I just reported this thread to management-it seems to be run by bullies and i think one of you just threatened my reputation---since i seem to be one of few using my name here, i take this very seriously.
and if ur pros, god help us.
marla miller
www.marlamiller.com

If we're pros? You might want to check some sig lines.

And you reported this thread to management? If your skin is this thin, you're in the wrong business.

You've opened a business offering services in exchange for money. You should expect your business to be scrutinised. If you can't handle scrutiny, you'll have a hard time.

Also? You're asking people to pay you money for help they can get in many other places for free. Most of us here take a dim view of such services.

After all, we believe in Yog's Law: Money flows to the writer.

LindaJeanne
12-13-2011, 08:08 PM
This thread is a wonderful oppertunity for you to clarify what you are offering, why you are qualified to offer it, and answer any questions or concerns that potential customers might have ... People aren't going to judge you based on what other people ask or the tone they take; they are going to judge you based on how you respond.
.


I just reported this thread to management-it seems to be run by bullies and i think one of you just threatened my reputation---since i seem to be one of few using my name here, i take this very seriously.
and if ur pros, god help us.
marla miller

:Shrug:
...and that's all I have to say.

Bubastes
12-13-2011, 08:18 PM
If you offer a valuable service, this is a great place to get known and find business. I would submit to Musa Publishing in a heartbeat if I had anything suitable, simply because I have a huge amount of respect for Mscelina.

Bullies? Hardly. You're asking people to give you their hard-earned money. It's fair for people to ask what they'd be getting in return.

ETA: OK, to save you the trouble, here's an example of how a publisher handled tough, legitimate questions here at AW:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6646212

Now might be a good time to ask yourself if you're handling questions with the same level of professionalism. If not, why not? How is your conduct here helping your business?

amergina
12-13-2011, 08:18 PM
I just reported this thread to management--it seems to be run by bullies and i I think one of you just threatened my reputation.---sSince i I seem to be one of few using my name here, i I take this very seriously.
aAnd if ur you are pros, gGod help us.
mMarla mMiller

:popcorn:

Can't wait to see what the Absolute Write management has to say. :D

Got to love a "pro" who thinks the Shift Key is optional when typing. I don't care if you're on a mobile device. Take the time to use the language correctly if you're selling your services as a writer or editor.

JulieB
12-13-2011, 08:19 PM
If we're pros?
You've opened a business offering services in exchange for money. You should expect your business to be scrutinised. If you can't handle scrutiny, you'll have a hard time.


Quoted for truth. This holds true for ANY business.

honeysock
12-13-2011, 08:22 PM
and if ur pros, god help us.

You're trying to appeal to writers with this . . . on a public board? Wow. Maybe you shouldn't be so worried about others damaging your reputation.

CaoPaux
12-13-2011, 08:24 PM
Management awaits receipt of report with bated breath.

Momento Mori
12-13-2011, 08:31 PM
writersMAMA:

-i won't be bothering you again--

You'd actually learn a lot if you stuck around here, but have it your way. I appreciate the irony of seeing someone who advocates the importance of "finding your tribe" running away like the clappers from the very people who should be her tribe.

More seriously, I honestly get so sick of seeing people flounce and pout on these Forums just because someone's dared to point out that what they're doing isn't reallly as useful/unique/special/wonderful as they think it is.

ETA:


writersMAMA:
I just reported this thread to management-it seems to be run by bullies and i think one of you just threatened my reputation---since i seem to be one of few using my name here, i take this very seriously.
and if ur pros, god help us.

Grow up, Marla. The only one torpedoing your reputation is you. Your antics reveal you to be a thin skinned, petulant, pathetic woman with poor puncutation, poorer communication and non-existent PR skills.

MM

Terie
12-13-2011, 08:59 PM
For the record, I've received a PM from Marla, which includes accusations of us being bullies and not using our real names. I've forwarded the message to Mac.

For the record, I post under my real name.

Marla, we're not doing any damage to your reputation as a publishing professional; you're doing it yourself.

LindaJeanne
12-13-2011, 09:03 PM
i think one of you just threatened my reputation---
Since I was puzzled by this, I did a search for every prior post (barring yours) in this thread that contained the word "reputation". Here are all the places where the word "reputation" occurred, in context.

I'm curious to know which you interpreted as a "threat."



I personally love it when an editor or agent offers clear, rational reasons for the value of their services; verifiable backgrounds, qualifications, and associations; and open lists of their clientele. Finding an agent is like a job interview for both agent and writer. I wouldn't trust my artwork to an ignorant or unscrupulous gallery owner who might vanish overnight with it. Likewise, I wouldn't trust an agent or editorial consultant who didn't have a great reputation as well as vast knowledge of their industry.


If you want to run a business, you have to control your reputation - we all do it, too - and having a flounce on a message board is not what I want to see from anybody asking for my money. Why would I want to work with anybody like that?



Finally, when touting your services on a board that is populated by professional writers, editors, publishers and agents it would be wise to bear in mind that those potential clients will be judging you on the editing skills you claim to possess. Your posts, however, have not been kind to your professional repuation. A note you may wish to bear in mind.

...

The post below is an example of what I mean. It's not helping your reputation, and it's not helping to mark you out as someone with the capabilities to be critiquing professionally, given the scattershot punctuation and random line breaks.


Edited to add: For the record, this is my real name, as well.

Even people who use obvious "handles" here often have links in their signatures to blogs, published works, and the like. So they are rooted in an actual identity, not sock-puppets.

And while some choose not to have their identity on this board connected to their identity elsewhere, I haven't seen anyone on this thread behave in a sock-puppetish manner.

Momento Mori
12-13-2011, 09:28 PM
Like, Terie, I too was treated to a PM from Marla, which I reproduce here because I don't tolerate poorly written crap from emotionally overwraught women seeking to try and lay a guilt trip on me.


PM from WritersMAMA:
My advice?
as opposed to urs which is so spot on, i'm sure
u guys r bullies--& no i don't cap & yes, i'm pretty good @ what i do-
karma....
it's also a very small writing community out here---
i notice most don't use ur names.
ur a bunch of bullies & should be ashamed of the way u treated me here-

If this is an example of your letter writing skills, Marla, then I think you're a sub-literate hack and if anyone here should be ashamed then it's you. You're charging people for a dubious service when you have all the communication skills of a rotting kumquat.

I don't post under my real name because I don't want to and I don't have to because the issue of operating under your real name is that twits who may or may not be like Marla can decide to follow you around the net engaging in harrassing behaviour. However, long term users of the AW boards will know where I post and know that I do link to areas where I do operate under my real name as a couple of AW stalkers who decided to troll my blog/Twitter feed can attest to.

MM

CaoPaux
12-13-2011, 09:33 PM
Management is in receipt of aforementioned report. Management requests all big fish/small pond bullies who live on AW to stroke your writing egos to please refrain from further meanness.

amergina
12-13-2011, 09:48 PM
I will note that every link in my signature leads to my real name.

Filigree
12-13-2011, 09:51 PM
Oh, good, Momento Mori posted a copy of the PM already.

I sum up this entire thread as a fine example of irony.

IceCreamEmpress
12-13-2011, 10:19 PM
I don't use my name here (though I disclose it to anyone who asks me via PM), because I want to be crystal-clear that I'm not using my participation on the board to solicit business in any way (and when people from here have asked if I can work with them, I've given them a bunch of referrals to other and probably better editors whose work I know well).

So the irony of being accused of being an anonymous bully by someone who is here to solicit business, and who's doing so by inappropriate and ill-informed postings on the board to boot, is delicious.

Momento Mori
12-13-2011, 10:25 PM
IceCreamEmpress:
So the irony of being accused of being an anonymous bully by someone who is here to solicit business, and who's doing so by inappropriate and ill-informed postings on the board to boot, is delicious.

Also ironic is the fact that Marla's bitching elsewhere about us being all "lord&master" when she came here to "lord&master" over us with her poor advice based on one book released over a decade ago and her being really, really big among SB's writing circles. I really hope she does a blog post about it because I can do with the lolz. In the meantime, given that she's offered to privately tell her friends about us, I'm counting down to imminent sockpuppet arrival ...

MM

James D. Macdonald
12-13-2011, 10:29 PM
I wouldn't trust this woman to critique my grocery list.

1) Alphabetization: "Squash" should come after "Radishes" and before "Tomatoes."

2) Capitalization: "Carnation Instant Breakfast" is a trademarked name, and should be capitalized.

3) Spelling: "Sugur" should read "Sugar."

4) Possible error: Item #12 seems to be missing; the list goes directly from Item #11 to Item #13. Is this intentional?

5) Cleansers containing chlorine (e.g. Item #3, Clorox) and cleansers containing ammonia (e.g. Item #8, Mr. Clean) cause hazardous fumes when combined. Suggest you delete one or the other from your list.

6) It is unlikely that your local grocery stocks "Zebra Haunch Roast (fresh)." Suggest you re-write to change this to "Beef" or "Chicken."

LindaJeanne
12-13-2011, 10:56 PM
Kind of a tangent, but here's an interesting piece (in the wake of the Google Plus must-use-real-names fiasco) talking about why using real names isn't the point. Stable identities within a community matter (i.e. not showing up each day with a different name), not whether that name can be connected to a real-world identity.

"Donít Suspend Scout Finch, Mr. Schmidt. Itís Wrong and Itís Bad for Business." http://technosociology.org/?p=530

(I know I'm preaching to the converted, but it's an interesting article. And relevant to a tangent we're already on.)


1) Alphabetization: "Tomatoes" should come after "Radishes" and before "Squash."

:Wha:

Filigree
12-13-2011, 11:11 PM
Oh, you're correct. I did leave out item #12 from the grocery list. I believe it was 'Tranquilizer Gun for imminent sockpuppets'.

Am I being a bully? A bit, and I truly apologize for rattling a cage and appearing to take enjoyment from it. I don't enjoy this. I want to see success stories like Musa Publishing's, as it rises from the ashes of AMP. I want to see savvy businesses offering must-have services for writers.

This is a tough industry. Agents, editors, and marketers don't have any time to soothe the wounded egos of newer writers bruised by form rejection after form rejection. Stung by a system they perceive as predatory rather than impersonal, these new writers often buy into the services of folks who claim to be mentors, editors, book doctors, etc. Some are well-meaning, others are outright criminals. Their secret formulas and shortcuts may not exist, or are no longer applicable to current markets. Such 'professionals' can do lots of damage to a writer's work, career prospects, and self-respect.

Why do so many self-help, multilevel marketing, and cult apologists never get past the phase of uncritical adulation? Because once they've sunk time, money, and reputation into the process, they never want to admit they were taken.

AW, Writer Beware, and other forums exist because responsible professionals are trying to give newer writers access to hard-won tools and knowledge. I've been stung more than a few times by AW posts, but I've always understood the poster was trying to help me.

Old Hack
12-13-2011, 11:49 PM
From Ms Miller's website (http://www.marlamiller.com/marlas-musings/single-entry/about-marla-miller):


During my years as Assistant Director of Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I established the Young Writers Program and MC'ed many literary agent panels.

I'm not sure when she was involved with the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference, but if I had been associated with it I'm not sure I'd brag about that (http://www.independent.com/news/2011/jan/20/santa-barbara-writers-conference-reborn/).


It was questionable whether the conference would ever see life again after the 2009 conference was called off amid bankruptcy, controversy, finger-pointing, and complaints from those who had signed up only to lose their deposits.

There's more about the problems involved with the conference here (http://www.independent.com/news/2010/mar/15/sb-writers-conference-grabs/) and here (http://www.independent.com/news/2010/mar/29/monte-schulz-bids-sb-writers-conference/).

Filigree
12-13-2011, 11:56 PM
Ah. Daylight.

Terie
12-13-2011, 11:58 PM
I'm not sure when she was involved with the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference, but if I had been associated with it I'm not sure I'd brag about that (http://www.independent.com/news/2011/jan/20/santa-barbara-writers-conference-reborn/).

I hadn't heard about the recent troubles (being as I haven't lived in California for over a decade now), but the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference was once considered to be one of the more reputable writers' conferences in the US.

That said, having terrific organisational skills doesn't automatically equal having strong writing, editing, and/or critiquing skills. One with the former might or might not have the latter. And one with any or all of these still might lack basic business skills.

IceCreamEmpress
12-14-2011, 12:12 AM
Per her LinkedIn profile, Ms. Miller started work at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference in 2003, the last year it was under the founders' management, and is still working for the conference (unless the LinkedIn profile is out of date). (On edit: indeed, Ms. Miller is still working with them. (http://www.sbwriters.com/conference/staff.html?staffid=19))

That does suggest that the bulk of her work experience with them was when it was under the management of Marcia Meier, during which time the conference went bankrupt and attracted the negative press attention Old Hack quotes.

Bicyclefish
12-14-2011, 12:21 AM
From her about page (http://www.marlamiller.com/marlas-musings/single-entry/about-marla-miller):

Two clients authored best-selling books. One went through a conventional publisher and one self published which turned me into a believer in self publishing’s potential.What are the names of those bestsellers?

[edit 1] While trying to find the names of these books, I noticed Mrs.Miller is a follower of Writer Beware (she comments occasionally) and interviewed Victoria and Ann (http://www.marlamiller.com/news-and-announcements/single-entry/on-the-radio-with-writer-beware-co-founders-victoria-strauss-ann-crispin)*. It has nothing to do with her credentials, but I'm disappointed to see someone who supports the site's goals behave in such a manner.

*Although when I checked their blogtalkradio account (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marketingourmuse) I only found an interview with Ann.

[edit 2]
There's more about the problems involved with the conference here (http://www.independent.com/news/2010/mar/15/sb-writers-conference-grabs/) and here (http://www.independent.com/news/2010/mar/29/monte-schulz-bids-sb-writers-conference/).

On a tangent, I think the conference illustrates how a lot of people don't consider all the information and costs when starting or taking over a business.

Foinah
12-14-2011, 12:22 AM
Patience and kindness work better than sarcasm. Sorry for my snark yesterday.

Marla, please take a step back and realize that you are doing yourself a disservice by replying in a sarcastic way here.

AW is a great community where you can thrive and learn, only if you are willing to do so.

Unimportant
12-14-2011, 12:28 AM
Whether a rejection letter says "This is quite good, but not exactly what I'm looking for. Changing the POV to Character 2 would really strengthen the story" or "This is dreadful. Why would you be so dumb as to write the story from the POV of stupid boring Character 1 rather than fascinating compelling Character 2?", the same advice is proferred, and it's valuable advice for the author. I think that Ms Miller needs to take a look at whatís being said, rather than how itís being said, here in this thread.

Everyone here is a professional author (who knows what they're talking about) or an aspiring author (who is a potential client for Ms Miller). The comments to date are:

1. Ms Millerís website is confusing and hard to navigate.

2. It is not clear what her credentials are for providing the services sheís selling. She has credentials, yes, but they arenít really applicable. Writing and selling short non-fiction articles, and publishing a non-fiction book, is great, but how does that make her an expert in writing query letters to agents for novel-length fiction?

3. Authors expect anyone in the editing business, particularly those charging for their services, to use impeccable spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Failure to do so is a major turn-off.

4. Ms Miller appears to be selling critiques of query letters, a service nearly identical to that given away for free by industry professionals such as Query Shark and Evil Editor.

5. Ms Miller appears to be unwilling to take any criticism, constructive or otherwise, or to engage in dialogue about perceived problems. This suggests that any client of hers who has a disagreement with her will not find a happy resolution. Writers want to work with people who are professionals, and Ms Miller is not projecting a professional attitude.

6. Ms Miller has provided some incorrect information, such as the expected word count of a query letter. This casts doubt on her credentials and her ability to perform the services sheís selling.

Everyone here is, in effect, offering free advice as to how Ms Miller can improve her website and obtain more clients. And given the collective wisdom and experience here at AW, it would be to Ms Millerís benefit to consider these things. A polite ďThank you all for your suggestions!Ē would also go a long way to restoring her credibility.

roseangel
12-14-2011, 12:34 AM
Well, that answers my questions.
I think I'll stick with the readily available free and professional options.

Terie
12-14-2011, 01:03 AM
PM, round the second:


last year alone, i gave away 125 FREE video quick query critiques----i only sell my workshops that have been filmed at major writers' conferences....for .99 cents...buy one, u might be impressed---i pay my bills writing/editing/teaching-i don't have time to post perfectly written comments---i just don't and it hasn't been a problem--this little cabal is mean spirited---u've all been here a long time--u have ur pecking order, no doubt---
BTW, i also have a vlog for women writers to promote themselves that i created and offer FREE, too----i do all this to help writers-I'm considered a writer's advocate----I also find sites that i can jump in on, introduce myself and invite all of you to submit a query that i will crit for FREE as long as u subscribe--i role model to authors on the road to publication just what has to be done to establish/expand ur brand online cuz that's the only way MOST writers will become published---
to jump to conclusions about someone because they don't create a complete sentence or dot their i's & suggest i'm picking writers' pockets is so unkind---i'm beyond hurt that you all could be so mean spirited---isn't this writing life tough enough? or is that why you all lord over this site--to feel important.
one of you just came to my FB site to continue the trashing...i don't take this well--call me thin shinned...absolutely correct--when my character/work is assassinated and then when one of you threatens to viral this out in space to further let the world know what a schmuck i am, i'm gonna let u know how i feel---& i'm gonna let my peeps know that they should proceed on this kind of sites with great care.
i'm making money off writers? oh yeah, millions--just be careful of the conclusions u draw-in public-just because we can't see each other doesn't make us invisible or
unaccountable to each other.

Marla, here's another piece of *free* advice: own your words. Stop hiding in private messages. If you have something to say to us, say it in public.

And why the HELL would I need YOUR advice on query letters? What makes you think I don't have an agent? I'm actually someone who helps a lot of people with their query letters and synopses, including some who've got major deals. And guess what? I don't charge a penny.

mmallico
12-14-2011, 01:07 AM
Wow, reading all of these replies is just as entertaining as watching a reality show.

Mclesh
12-14-2011, 01:25 AM
I noticed the phrase "perspective agent" on her website. It's a bit of a rookie mistake.

roseangel
12-14-2011, 01:27 AM
I dropped by her facebook and posted the link to this thread, that's it, nothing else.
She deleted the post and blocked me, but I hope there was a chance for those reading it to see the link and see how she acted here and draw their own conclusions.

Momento Mori
12-14-2011, 01:33 AM
Marla Miller PM:
last year alone, i gave away 125 FREE video quick query critiques

OK. How many of those 125 video critiques resulted in the query writers securing an agent?


Marla Miller PM:
i only sell my workshops that have been filmed at major writers' conferences....for .99 cents...buy one, u might be impressed

Presumably those writers' conferences are aware that you are selling videos of those workshops and you've had any and all authorisations and clearances required under US law?


Marla Miller PM:
i pay my bills writing/editing/teaching-i don't have time to post perfectly written comments---i just don't and it hasn't been a problem

I can't believe that you don't have time for the shift key. No one is that busy.


Marla Miller PM:
this little cabal is mean spirited---u've all been here a long time--u have ur pecking order, no doubt---

Oh please. Don't play the "mean group clique" routine. Not only is it old hat, but it's also more than a little hypocritical given that you seem to like running around with your own clique, preaching to your choir.


Marla Miller PM:
BTW, i also have a vlog for women writers to promote themselves that i created and offer FREE, too-

I'll let the pope know that you're ready for canonisation.


Marla Miller PM:
i do all this to help writers-I'm considered a writer's advocate

Who considers you a writer's advocate? Did you realise that many of the posters here (including Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, Jim McDonald, Macallister etc etc) are all considered writers' advocates too?


Marla Miller PM:
I also find sites that i can jump in on, introduce myself and invite all of you to submit a query that i will crit for FREE as long as u subscribe

Don't you research those sites first? Because if you'd spent 5 minutes doing that for AW, you'd see that we already have a Forum for letting people put up their query letters where they can get feedback (including from industry professionals with credentials superior to yours) for free. What you're basically doing, Marla, is spamming. There are laws against that.


Marla Miller PM:
-i role model to authors on the road to publication just what has to be done to establish/expand ur brand online cuz that's the only way MOST writers will become published---

Who have you mentored to publication? What books have been published commercially as a direct result of your mentoring?


Marla Miller PM:
to jump to conclusions about someone because they don't create a complete sentence or dot their i's & suggest i'm picking writers' pockets is so unkind

No, it isn't unkind. You might not like it but it goes to the heart of your credibility. Most of the people who post here are writers. We seek to communicate efficiently. Take a look around, Marla, and you'll see that there aren't many people here who fail to capitalise or use punctuation.

As regards picking people's pockets - those are your words, not ours. My opinion is that you're charging people for a service that they can get for free elsewhere for people with better credentials than yours.


Marla Miller PM:
i'm beyond hurt that you all could be so mean spirited

Yes, I can see how hurt you are from your FB post about it. All that passive aggressive hurtness that you're experiencing in seeking sympathy.


Marla Miller PM:
isn't this writing life tough enough? or is that why you all lord over this site--to feel important.

Yes, writing is tough enough without giving money to someone for something they can get elsewhere for free.

I don't doubt that you enjoy lording it over people with your "credentials", so I'm going to assume that the rest of your sentence is really just projection on your part.


Marla Miller PM:
one of you just came to my FB site to continue the trashing...i don't take this well--call me thin shinned...absolutely correct--when my character/work is assassinated and then when one of you threatens to viral this out in space to further let the world know what a schmuck i am, i'm gonna let u know how i feel---& i'm gonna let my peeps know that they should proceed on this kind of sites with great care.

If someone came to your FB site then you should report that to Mac here because whatever you may think about AW, it does frown on trolling.

As for this going viral, you're the one in control of that. Stop being so thin-skinned. Stop stoking your followers. Stop PMing people here because it just makes you more pathetic.


Marla Miller PM:
i'm making money off writers? oh yeah, millions--just be careful of the conclusions u draw-in public-just because we can't see each other doesn't make us invisible or
unaccountable to each other.

The irony is that if you were doing it for free, it wouldn't attract much comment - there are lots of people who do that, hence the fact that we're commenting on the fact that you're charging. If you're not doing it for the money, then why do it at all?

As for that little veiled threat at the end, is that really the best you can do?

MM

Filigree
12-14-2011, 01:59 AM
Careful, careful. Some of us are graphic designers, too, and we're probably only a few posts away from hammering together a 'Banned by Marla Miller' button.

Gravity
12-14-2011, 02:01 AM
God almighty, I hate textspeak, and consider it the refuge of slack-jawed teens and the functionally illiterate. The fact the OP thinks it's fine to use for business correspondence speaks volumes.

James D. Macdonald
12-14-2011, 02:09 AM
i role model to authors on the road to publication just what has to be done to establish/expand ur brand online cuz that's the only way MOST writers will become published---

As you "role model to authors," do you tell them to use text-speak in their queries?

How does that work out for them?

(I'll tell you how this text-speak of yours seems to me: Nearly unreadable, and borderline illiterate. Is that the impression you're trying to give?)

Unimportant
12-14-2011, 02:16 AM
(thought better of it)

Katrina S. Forest
12-14-2011, 02:25 AM
Honestly, my main objection isn't so much to the 99 cent thing, but the fact that you've taught workshops on query letters. If you're teaching conference attendees the same material that's found on your website and that you've repeated here, you are giving them incorrect information and doing them a disservice.

Gravity
12-14-2011, 02:51 AM
No fair typing in tongues, Unk.

Michael Murphy
12-14-2011, 03:03 AM
Query letter how tos? Come on, there's all the information you'll ever need about querying agents online and it's free.

Barbara R.
12-14-2011, 03:06 AM
Management awaits receipt of report with bated breath.

Please, exhale. It may be a while.

James D. Macdonald
12-14-2011, 03:08 AM
Let's not have a pile-on.

Terie
12-14-2011, 11:59 AM
Marla Miller PM:
last year alone, i gave away 125 FREE video quick query critiques

OK. How many of those 125 video critiques resulted in the query writers securing an agent?


More to the point, are these the critiques copies of which she's now selling? If so, that's hardly what I'd call generous.

Or does she mean that she gave away 125 copies of critique videos she made of her critiquing someone else's query? I wouldn't really call that generous, either.

I have no doubt that Marla can give reasonably good critiques, considering her background. But I haven't seen anything yet that suggests her services are worth paying actual money for. After all, the actual agent Janet Reid gives away free query critiques on Query Shark. I think it's safe to assume that Marla's crits aren't worth more than Janet's.

Jupiter
12-14-2011, 02:16 PM
Hi
Before I read this thread, I'd never heard the word SCAD used to describe quantity. At least I've learned something. I can't see imagine a scenario where I'd use the word, but I've filed it away for reference. It may come in handy one day, you never know.

P.S For great, free advice from a real agent, go to QueryShark. She knows what she's talking about.

Grace.

shaldna
12-14-2011, 02:21 PM
i think one of you just threatened my reputation---since i seem to be one of few using my name here, i take this very seriously.

Oh, I think she's talking about me. You know, where I mentioned that having a meltdown and a tantrum on a public message board populated by the writers, editors and agents she hopes to work with was probably bad for business.

In addition, my real name is available to anyone who wishes to ask.



and if ur pros, god help us.

Pot, meet Kettle.

Again, I'll mention that you are touting a critiquing service and yet clearly either don't have the skills or the inclination to use the English language correctly. This is not inpiring confidence in your abilities.





And you reported this thread to management? If your skin is this thin, you're in the wrong business.

You've opened a business offering services in exchange for money. You should expect your business to be scrutinised. If you can't handle scrutiny, you'll have a hard time.

I just want to second what Terie said here. You WILL face the same scruitny no matter who you are trying to sell a service too. Hell, I wouldn't by a car without having a look under the hood, so I'm not going to pay for a service without finding out what is on offer.





How is your conduct here helping your business?

The answer is that it's not.



For the record, I've received a PM from Marla, which includes accusations of us being bullies and not using our real names.

And I thought I was the only one. I have posted what I recieved and what I replied below, because I HATE backroom antics. In addition, I would like to agree with Terie when I say that you are damaging your own reputation Marla, no one else is doing it.


From Marla Miller to me:


writersMAMA (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=55807)
New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: California
Posts: 7
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_pos.gif


my site & ur take
u guys r bullies--& no i don't cap & yes, i'm pretty good @ what i do-
karma....
it's also a very small writing community out here---
i notice most don't use ur names.

ur a bunch of bullies & should be ashamed of the way u treated me here-

btw, those 'crits' are videos from major writers conferences that i've been teaching @ since 2003--the writer reads their query & we crit--very helpful to writers and all for .99--yeah i know, i'm picking money out of ur pockets ....
go lynch someone else--shame on all of you






And my response, just in case Marla decides to report me for 'bullying' or anything, let's just have it all in the open:


shaldna (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=31074)
is now a married woman

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/avatars/Ulysses.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/member.php?u=31074)

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Belfast
Posts: 5,588
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_pos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_pos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_pos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_pos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_pos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_highpos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_highpos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_highpos.gifhttp://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/reputation/reputation_highpos.gif


Re: my site & ur take
I'm very sorry you feel that way Marla, but I can assure you that no on is 'bullying' you.

You posted on a public message board populated by writers and publishing professionals, touting your services to what you considered to be potential clients.

Said clients then asked you perfectly legitimate questions that you did not answer, but instead you embarked on a torrent of abuse and tantrum. When you were very kindly advised that you were potentially harming your own reputation, you further lashed out.

You are not helping yourself here Marla. Publishing is a very small industry, and writers tend to have long memories.

In addition, you mentioned 'real names' which is a valid point, however most of the members here either use their real name, or have their books linked in their signatures, so it's not hard to find out who people are if you really want to know.

However, the easiest way is simply to ask.

shaldna
12-14-2011, 04:01 PM
Ah, I'll admit I was bored, but I did a quick Youtube search and guess what, you can get videos of Marla Miller at said writing conferences giving the advice she is charging for on her site.

Such as the one below:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbfgaqQZp1c (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbfgaqQZp1c)

In fact, if you search for 'marketingthemuse' and 'quick query critique' on youtube you can get a whole list of those videos. for free.

AphraB
12-14-2011, 06:01 PM
God almighty, I hate textspeak, and consider it the refuge of slack-jawed teens and the functionally illiterate. The fact the OP thinks it's fine to use for business correspondence speaks volumes.

I used textspeak once. After? I felt shame. :(

shaldna
12-14-2011, 07:09 PM
I used textspeak once. After? I felt shame. :(

It's okay. Repent my child and your sins will be forgiven.

:)

Personally I find it takes more effort to write in text speak than it does to type out proper words. That and it makes my eyes bleed.

Theo81
12-14-2011, 08:40 PM
I got two messages. I think that means I win the internet. The first was the same one as I think we probably all got, the second was as follows.

Subject: coming back


ur kidding right? there are professional commentors, here based on the sheer # of posts--this is ur domain-protect it--keep it insular--that's the way to progress in our biz-big fish/little pond-
u guys r bullies--& no i don't cap & yes, i'm pretty good @ what i do-
karma....
it's also a very small writing community out here---
i notice most don't use ur names.
ur a bunch of bullies & should be ashamed of the way u treated me here-

Marla,

My apologies for placing private correspondence on a public message board. I do so because I refuse to be harassed in this way. I have no wish to bully you or victimise you. My question was a genuine one.

At the time of writing, I have 707 posts made over 18 months. That's an average of 1.27 posts a day - hardly falling into the category of a "professional poster".
This message board has an open membership, not insular at all. Anybody can join although Mac (board owner) will ban people who break board rules. Harassing people via PM or other means WILL earn you that ban just as we will earn one if our behaviour towards you crosses the line.

I'm sorry you feel we are bullies.

I'm also sorry you don't feel the need to observe board etiquette. Here we keep swearing to a minimum, place Adult Content Warnings in thread titles and use the best English we are capable of. It's part of the central tenant: Respect your Fellow Writer.

There are two reasons I don't use my name here. First, safety. Anybody can read this board. If you knew my name, you could look me up on the electoral roll (which is, again, available on-line without a need to login anywhere), find out my telephone number and my address. They could identify my family, my friends, the businesses I frequent - I'd generally prefer it if anonymous people didn't do that so, no name.
Second - I am here in my personal, not my professional capacity. If I wish to participate on this board under my professional name, I will make a request for that to be done.
In the event I am called upon to account for myself, I will happily do so.

With regards to Karma: I am a Protestant Atheist. I also do not appreciate having your own belief systems repeatedly shoved at me in the manner of a threat.

Yours Sincerely

Theo81

cryaegm
12-14-2011, 10:36 PM
This will probably sound mean, but I'm going to be blunt here:

Marla, as a young writer who will stick her feet in the query pool soon, in order for me to take you seriously and professionally, like all the other, for the lack of a better word, authentic agents and publishers, please, PLEASE use proper grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. Please, just please, stop with the shorthand.

You might be great at your job, but in order for me to believe that, I need you to show that to me. With dashes as punctuation, like periods, commas, and question marks, and lack of capital letters, it tells me you're not taking it seriously or you just want my money. I can understand an error or two when typing--I do it all the time; however, if I want to use your services, I need to see your work. Displaying it the way you have in this forum, it's not helping you.

Now, you can disregard me because I'm young, but seriously, Marla, the way you've acted so far in this thread, it's not professional. People have questions, and you know they do because they've posted said questions here. Answer them with a bit of professionalism, not like you have thin skin. Every single publisher and agent, and then some, are scrutinized here. You're not getting bullied. We want other writers to succeed, not to fall in the wrong hands that will take advantage of them because they know they can and because they've done it before to other writers.

And if you want my name, you can google my username or click on my twitter account.

Cyia
12-14-2011, 10:44 PM
Ah, I'll admit I was bored, but I did a quick Youtube search and guess what, you can get videos of Marla Miller at said writing conferences giving the advice she is charging for on her site.

Such as the one below:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbfgaqQZp1c (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbfgaqQZp1c)

In fact, if you search for 'marketingthemuse' and 'quick query critique' on youtube you can get a whole list of those videos. for free.


I popped over to the video and took a look. Based on this example, I'd have to agree with those saying Query Shark is a better bet.

You get concise information there with multiple examples and absolutely no pandering. All of the author explanation of what she can't find a way to fit on the page is useless.

Here's a freebie for the author in that vid: Legally blonde in the dogfood industry. <--- that's your story hook. It sets your tone; it sets your plot. The reader will automatically know you've got a seemingly naive girl who's out of her depth, likely doing the right thing, as it's in context of something familiar.

Also, after watching the video, the critiquer needs to check her information. Yes, young women are still buying books. Maye not chicklit, but they are still buying - a great number have gone to YA or women's fiction.

The "red herring" reference made me laugh, as that's what the entire video is. There's a lot of talking without much information being presented. I can't imagine the example writer, or anyone in the audience, came away with any valuable tips because suggesting that she go into detail that this story is a commentary on socio-political whatever it was isn't going to help her.

Also, after reading through this thread - a query is NOT 500-600 words. You get maybe 350. My best response was at 84, including salutation, word count and genre, etc. Long word counts on queries will sink you, not help you. I honestly thought the critiquer in question was a teen or in her early 20's. Seeing her on screen in the linked video was a shock.

Maybe the critiquer's information would have worked a few years ago, but not in the current markets.

cryaegm
12-14-2011, 10:52 PM
Looking at the vid, I NOW recognize who Marla is.

I watched this video before. I went on to watch other videos because it didn't help me at all (then I did more research and spent a good chunk of time on QueryShark instead of watching videos of how to write a query).

The word limit for queries is 250 words. A lot of agents don't want you to go over that word limit. If it's more than a page, it may be too wordy, and agents don't have a lot of time to read all 500-600 words.

ETA: Wait, since when were young women not buying books? I just bought four books in October, and I tried to get four books for my niece (Pinkalicious books, but still books; I knew she loved those books, figured why not buy them for Christmas. My sister said no and that she already had them without saying what titles she had). Yes, they were all YA, and so far, I know I'm getting a manga for Christmas from my boyfriend and a novel for my birthday, but I'm still getting books. Saying young woman do not buy books is wrong information. I don't know why anyone would say something like that.

Though, maybe I misunderstood what Cyia said. :D I'm kind of sick at the moment with a cold, so pardon me.

LindaJeanne
12-14-2011, 11:03 PM
I've been trying very, very hard to avoid publicly making this post. But my resistance has failed me.

I want to thank the parents, grandparents, and teachers who would call me out when , as a child, I would act in an oh-poor-me-I'm-so-victimized manner. I want to thank them for telling me to knock it off, and for making sure I outgrew it before I hit adolescence. There but for the grace of they go I.

And I particularly want to complement my Grandma on her sense of humor. Because when my sister, cousins, or I were young children -- if we ever acted this way, Grandma would respond by singing the first couple of lines in this song:

http://bussongs.com/songs/nobody_likes_me_worms.php

(Apologies. I'm not trying to be mean, really I'm not. Sometimes I can hear Grandma so loudly in the back of my head that I can't resist the urge to chime in with what she'd be saying if she were here -- this is one of those situations.)

Miss you, Grandma. Thank you for everything. <3


(PS-- I'm just a newb myself, not part of any sort of golden clique. I never would have survived elementary school -- let alone Junior High -- had my skin been this thin. This is considered bullying? I'm utterly dumbfounded as to how someone can make it into adulthood without learning to deal with criticism and questioning even as mild as what's been present in this thread.)

Edited To Add:Looks like several people have posted while I was writing and revising this post, (especially since I had to deal with other things in betwen) , making this one look like more of a pile-on than I intended it to. Contemplating whether I should just delete it.

victoriastrauss
12-15-2011, 05:45 AM
[edit 1] While trying to find the names of these books, I noticed Mrs.Miller is a follower of Writer Beware (she comments occasionally) and interviewed Victoria and Ann (http://www.marlamiller.com/news-and-announcements/single-entry/on-the-radio-with-writer-beware-co-founders-victoria-strauss-ann-crispin)*. It has nothing to do with her credentials, but I'm disappointed to see someone who supports the site's goals behave in such a manner.

*Although when I checked their blogtalkradio account (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marketingourmuse) I only found an interview with Ann.

Marla did interview Ann and me on her show. It was a pleasant, professional interview, and we got to talk about Writer Beware, which we are always thrilled to be able to do. I have to say I'm shocked by her responses in this thread and to members in PM.

- Victoria

Cyia
12-15-2011, 06:52 AM
Since the posts seem out of character, is it out of the realm of possibility to wonder if this is the person she claims to be at all? Anyone can link a webpage in a sigline, and as the poster herself has pointed out - repeatedly - the board's anonymous.

Bubastes
12-15-2011, 06:57 AM
Judging from her Facebook comment, it appears to really be her.

Unimportant
12-15-2011, 07:03 AM
The syntax, and particularly the heavy use of the em-dash, that is in the posts in this thread and elsewhere in the forum match her blog. So my guess is that it's all the same person.

Terie
12-15-2011, 10:44 AM
Marla did interview Ann and me on her show. It was a pleasant, professional interview, and we got to talk about Writer Beware, which we are always thrilled to be able to do. I have to say I'm shocked by her responses in this thread and to members in PM.

I think this goes to the heart of the difference between the ability to do a thing (anything) and the ability to run a business.

As I've said upstream, I think Marla can probably do reasonably good crits; she has the background for it. And her publishing credits show that she can write to a publishable standard.

What we've seen here is that her business skills are lacking....including the ability to recognise whether a service one offers (critiquing query letters) is appropriate to ask money for in the first place. Her insistence on purposefully using poor English while touting her editing services is another example.

Katrina S. Forest
12-15-2011, 02:41 PM
Judging from her Facebook comment, it appears to really be her.

I felt the same. If someone was impersonating her, she'd be making everyone aware of it.


As I've said upstream, I think Marla can probably do reasonably good crits; she has the background for it. And her publishing credits show that she can write to a publishable standard.

Her background is in nonfiction, though. Mostly in magazine articles. I imagine her skills would be best suited to guiding writers to write and sell in that area. She could also present herself as an expert in nonfiction at conferences and have the credentials to back it up.

But, as you said, that comes down to business sense.