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Dreams For My Son
03-03-2013, 01:08 AM
I am reading tweets and blogs from literary agents, who probably think they own the world. Isn't this thing a business deal? Why do they have to be obnoxious?
I understand it is tough to find a needle in haystack. They have to find something they could sell to a publisher. But making fun of a writer? Give me a break.

waylander
03-03-2013, 01:43 AM
If you saw some of the utter garbage that they get sent in the unsolicited submissions then you might well struggle to remain polite to writers.

Katrina S. Forest
03-03-2013, 01:46 AM
There are some agents I don't query because I don't like their policies. Best just to avoid who you want and don't waste your time or energy worrying about it.

Dreams For My Son
03-03-2013, 01:54 AM
If you saw some of the utter garbage that they get sent in the unsolicited submissions then you might well struggle to remain polite to writers.
Isn't that their job? It is easy to just hit the "delete" button and move on to the next one. Instead of blogging about how the letter was written, reading the MS would help.

MockingBird
03-03-2013, 01:57 AM
Isn't that their job? It is easy to just hit the "delete" button and move on to the next one. Instead of blogging about how the letter was written, reading the MS would help.

I agree with you, if they didn't want to have shovel through bad letters, they shouldn't have taken the job.

bearilou
03-03-2013, 02:05 AM
Are we talking about all agents or just a select few? I'd hate to think we are painting them all with this brush.

mccardey
03-03-2013, 02:17 AM
Are we talking about all agents or just a select few? I'd hate to think we are painting them all with this brush.

What the bear said. It's important to note that most agents aren't rude. They wouldn't get very far if they were.

Torgo
03-03-2013, 02:35 AM
Are you talking about things like Slush Pile Hell? What that's about, if so, is something like catharsis. I am sorry to say that when publishers or agents are sent something that is truly bizarre, it may be passed around the office or posted on the wall in the breakroom. The letter from the man who wanted us - a children's publisher - to print a book of his collection of Victorian pornographic postcards. The guy with the incredibly mad Christian Noah's Ark story involving a London landmark. The filthy story about the rabbits. Eye-popping letters from prison. We're not exactly proud of it, really, because we don't want anyone to get the impression that we peal with cruel laughter about submissions in general, paper-aeroplaning them from one gimlet-eyed sadist to another; but when you work very hard to be polite and professional all the time, there's room for galleys humour.

Things like SPH are anonymized and exist as a slightly problematic pressure valve for people in our industry. I think it'd be sad and unhealthy if we couldn't snark a little bit, in a low-key way, about the occasional epic cluelessness of authors; but then it never looks very good for us to be caught at it. I don't want to use, say, my Twitter feed like that even though I don't identify myself or my employer. I just click through a link or two now and again when I feel the need for a small hit of schadenfreude.

bettielee
03-03-2013, 02:45 AM
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b40/bettieleetwo/this.jpg

Look, I was researching how to get published away back in the early 90's before the web was really the place to go, and those writer's markets were probably the reason I had no hope - because I could not bear to think about approaching these people who held writers in such disdain...

And then the web came along and I got better access to agents and heard more stories, and it's not the professional, consciencious writers they are snarking and bombasting against - it's the crazies.

Have you read Slush Pile Hell?

http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/

read a page or two of the crazy letters this guy gets and you will start to feel pity. Real pity. I'm no longer terrified of agents. I finally queried - I had polished as well as I could, researched my target agents, specified my query letters to suit their submission guidelines and followed the rules. Every response (queried about 90 agents, 60 responses) all no-thanks, but every response I got was polite and professional. No one made me feel like a dumbass that was wasting their time for querying - which was the sense I used to get from reading those writer's markets.

Follow the rules. Follow the submission guidelines. Research your genre and target agent. Treat them as you would like to be treated and you will be regarded as a professional, not a crazy.

Dreams For My Son
03-03-2013, 03:08 AM
Torgo and Bettielee, thanks for explaining their pain. The funny ones are fine. But some can not control their sadistic behavior.

Dreams For My Son
03-03-2013, 03:18 AM
You guys won. After reading that 'Slush Pile' thing, I am waving the white flag.

ap123
03-03-2013, 03:35 AM
I've never seen SPH before, thanks for linking it.

Is it real?

LindaJeanne
03-03-2013, 03:40 AM
Torgo and Bettielee, thanks for explaining their pain. The funny ones are fine. But some can not control their sadistic behavior.

Keep in mind that twitter is going to have a disproportionate number of "loudmouths", and they are going to tweet disproportionally more. Many agents don't tweet, and the ones without the snark have fewer people following when they do, so you might not know about them.

Torgo
03-03-2013, 03:49 AM
I've never seen SPH before, thanks for linking it.

Is it real?

Nothing I've seen on it strikes me as unlikely.

ap123
03-03-2013, 04:18 AM
I would need a snark outlet too.

It must be difficult to resist signing each and every one of the producers of those golden words. :tongue

Filigree
03-03-2013, 04:27 AM
The SPH is real, but identifying markers are scrubbed. I read an agent's slush pile as an intern, and the gaffes are fairly standard. If anything, the internet has enabled far, far worse examples than the ones I dealt with two decades ago.

That said, certain agents went through an epic fail on Twitter a year or two ago, which taught most of them to be a little more restrained in their public comments.

As a submitting author, use those comments as part of your agent database. There are a couple of agents I decided not to sub to, based as much on their public personae as well as track record. Vicious Snark + Impeccable Sales, I can support happily. Vicious Snark + No Real Track Record, indicates a diva I don't want to support.

cathyfreeze
03-03-2013, 04:40 AM
Aug272012

Deer agent, …
For the love of all that’s holy and good in this world, please kill me.



Bwahaha! Apparently she's tired of representing deer.

Buffysquirrel
03-03-2013, 05:37 AM
I actually found the 'epic fail' on Twitter to be incredibly useful and informative, and I thought the fallout was ridiculous. But a lot of writers took it very personally.

It is undoubtedly useful to venture into a slush pile yourself to discover why jaded tends to be the default for the gatekeepers in the industry :).

Cyia
03-03-2013, 05:40 AM
Isn't that their job? It is easy to just hit the "delete" button and move on to the next one. Instead of blogging about how the letter was written, reading the MS would help.

Actually, no, it's not their job at all.

Their job is to represent their clients; reading queries, whether they respond to them or not, is something they don't get paid for at all. They read on breaks or after work, rather than taking their down time. And when you've read 200 queries in a single day, 90% of which obviously didn't bother to read any of the query guidelines provided, then it can get frustrating.

Yes, there are people who write bad queries, but the ones that usually get singled out (with the exception of very few agents on Twitter / slush pile hell's tmblr) are the ones that don't do their homework. They either don't take the time to find out what they're supposed to send, or they think the rules don't apply to them. Oftentimes the person submitting is caustic and/or flat out rude, even to polite rejections.

Kitty27
03-03-2013, 06:44 AM
Not all agents behave like this.


This is why I consider Twitter and other social media to be a very important tool for writers. I have seen comments that led me to look elsewhere for agents to submit to. Now that I am no longer looking for agents,I tell all my writer buddies to keep a careful eye on agents. Just as writers can slip and act messy,so can agents.

Axordil
03-03-2013, 08:19 AM
I view the tweets and query blogs as a public service. They're saying: "Don't write a query like this. No, really, do NOT write a query like this."

Because, as the samples show, people write queries like that.

Jennifer_Laughran
03-03-2013, 08:46 AM
Why are some authors so rude?

Why are some accountants so rude?

Why are some funeral directors so rude?

Afraid there are SOME rude people in every walk of life. Most agents are pleasant and personable. (Well... compared to me, anyway. I'm mean.)

#notreally

#wellkinda

Susan Littlefield
03-03-2013, 08:48 AM
I am reading tweets and blogs from literary agents, who probably think they own the world. Isn't this thing a business deal? Why do they have to be obnoxious?
I understand it is tough to find a needle in haystack. They have to find something they could sell to a publisher. But making fun of a writer? Give me a break.

Look in any profession and you will find obnoxious people. There are also obnoxious writers out there who act like agents owe them.

Besides, if there are agents you perceive as obnoxious or "think the own the world," then this is valuable information for you to choose whether you want to work with that agent or not. ;)

Susan Littlefield
03-03-2013, 08:50 AM
You guys won. After reading that 'Slush Pile' thing, I am waving the white flag.

No, NO, don't wave the white flag! This is a great conversation. :D

Amadan
03-03-2013, 08:59 AM
Every profession that has to deal with the public is going to be full of stories of some of the more "challenged" and challenging individuals they have to deal with. It behooves them to be careful about scrubbing identifying details and not crossing the line from humor to bitterness (it's okay for an agent to have a sense of humor about the real howlers they receive; not so okay for them to give the impression that they hold most would-be writers in contempt), but if you see too much of yourself in what they are poking fun at, maybe you should work on your query letter some more...

MacAllister
03-03-2013, 09:02 AM
I'm not an agent, guys. But just in the last seven days I've received no less than thirteen complete manuscripts with demands that I introduce people to editors/publishers/agents. I've received over 150 links to self-published books, with requests/demands/pleas that I review them and feature the covers on AW, with prominent links. I've received over fifty query letters, requesting that I read manuscripts and make recommendations about where the author should submit.

It's enough to make the baby Jesus weep.

And this wasn't a particularly bad week. So when it's been a bad week? I have a really, really hard time not getting exceedingly snarky about this on Twitter or Facebook, I have to confess.

Agents are human beings. Some of them are delightful, charming, and terrific company over martinis and West Coast seafood. Some of them make me roll my eyes more than a little (St. XXXXXX of teh Internet, anyone?) but they're still human beings --just like writers are human beings, even though some of us are complete douchebag assholes -- doing a job they care about.

MaryMumsy
03-03-2013, 09:10 AM
Dang! I didn't know I should have been sending my stuff to you Mac. A superb opportunity missed.

Just pulling your chain. I don't even write.

MM

Chris P
03-03-2013, 09:14 AM
My dad got a truly nasty reply to his manuscript: "Just because you're a technical writer what the hell makes you think you can write a novel?" I've also read some pretty snotty blogs: "I will ONLY rep people with MFAs in literature," or (my favorite) "See my blog for submission requirements" only to wade through five pages of "My trip to the Smokies," "How 'bout them Braves?" and finally "Stop posting comments asking for my submission requirements! They're on my agency's website!" I've seen pictures of huge slush piles, and I believe SPH is all true. Judging just 40 short stories for an AW contest was grueling enough, so I understand how that would wear a person down.

But here's the thing bugging me lately: if the agents work for us, then how come we have to spend all our efforts pleasing them? Rare is the agent who says "Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title." Just like I would need to do in a job interview. I agree we need to describe our projects accurately so the agent knows if he or she can help us, but too often it feels like "I just wasn't pulled into the story, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"

Amadan
03-03-2013, 09:44 AM
My dad got a truly nasty reply to his manuscript: "Just because you're a technical writer what the hell makes you think you can write a novel?"

Every profession has a bottom tier.

Also, everyone has bad days. And maybe the agent was being (too) honest.


But here's the thing bugging me lately: if the agents work for us, then how come we have to spend all our efforts pleasing them? Rare is the agent who says "Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title." Just like I would need to do in a job interview. I agree we need to describe our projects accurately so the agent knows if he or she can help us, but too often it feels like "I just wasn't pulled into the story, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"

it is a peculiar kind of relationship. It's more akin to being a job applicant when you are in high demand and multiple employers are courting you. You still have to interview with them and some might decide you won't actually work out after all, but if you have competing offers, it is possible for the employee to be the one with the leverage.

Bookewyrme
03-03-2013, 10:08 AM
Dere Mr. Mac.
Plz to be showing my attached 50 thousand wurd short story to all ur agent an EDITOR friends. It s clearly teh aweszomest best story in the hole wurld & everyone will read it.
Much love,
your BBBBFFL (Bestbestbestbest friend for life)
P.S. Don't steel it, it's copyrighted cuz I emailed it to myself too. Also, plz to be letting Angelina Jolie know she will play leading lady in movie.
P.p.s.s. For realz, my book is gunna make more sales than 50 Shades of Twilight.



(Did I get the essence, Mac? :tongue )
Seriously though, I look at the things like SPH as amusing and informative all at once. Most of the things agents snark about, I probably wouldn't do anyway, because I'm n ot crazy. But...one never knows what one might have done out of ignorance. It's always nice to see that no matter how bad my query letter might start out, it's probably not that bad.
And then there's all the agents who take timeto do things like #tenqueries and #askagent on Twitter and elsewhere, where they give examples and answer questions about things that do and don't work for them. That's just awesome, IMO. Above and beyond the call, as they say.

bettielee
03-03-2013, 10:11 AM
My favorite on Slush Pile Hell was about the guy who is going to send Keira Knightley $150k to read his first two books.

MacAllister
03-03-2013, 10:14 AM
Dere Mr. Mac.
Plz to be showing my attached 50 thousand wurd short story to all ur agent an EDITOR friends. It s clearly teh aweszomest best story in the hole wurld & everyone will read it.
Much love,
your BBBBFFL (Bestbestbestbest friend for life)
P.S. Don't steel it, it's copyrighted cuz I emailed it to myself too. Also, plz to be letting Angelina Jolie know she will play leading lady in movie.
P.p.s.s. For realz, my book is gunna make more sales than 50 Shades of Twilight.



(Did I get the essence, Mac? :tongue )
You actually pretty much nailed it.

Here's where it gets tricky, right? Folks send me their manuscripts in good faith, hoping that I can help them or at least steer them in the right direction. These are people who've worked really hard on their books. These are people who, against the odds, finished a book.

These are writers who deserve my respect and admiration. No matter that I'm tired and jaded and cynical. No matter that I actually can't help them, and about fifteen more minutes on Google would have helped them reach that conclusion. It's too easy to make fun of folks who don't do the follow-through with regard to how you research agents, publishers, and so on -- but an amazing number of reasonable writers don't. They write the book and their brains sort of shut down, right there, oddly enough.

I'm not perfect. I try not to let my snarky and cynical side be the side that responds to those emails -- but I'm not perfect.

I will confess, it's sometimes all I can do to NOT write back and say, "you spent three (or five or ten or whatever) years of your life writing this novel...but it's not worth more than seven minutes of Googling before you send it out in the world looking for a home?"

My only question is how agents manage to stay so very sane and professional and reasonable--and why the hell so many of 'em seem to actually like writers and like working with writers.

Chris P
03-03-2013, 11:07 AM
it is a peculiar kind of relationship. It's more akin to being a job applicant when you are in high demand and multiple employers are courting you. You still have to interview with them and some might decide you won't actually work out after all, but if you have competing offers, it is possible for the employee to be the one with the leverage.

Yeah, I agree it can't be like a typical job applicant situation. It wouldn't work to post the query letter on a Monster.com type thing and have agents apply to represent my work--I'd get all the vanity/subsidy spammers and people who "would love to do that" but have never done it or even know how. Instead, I, as the employer, seek out desirable applicants and make the offer to them. When they say "I'll pass on this one" it's like declining the interview, which I have done with ridiculous job nudges ("I want you to do a PhD-level job for a high school diploma salary in one of the worst cities in America"). That means that I, as the employer, need to make the project look as attractive as possible, just as I would ask the "worst city in America" employer sweeten the deal for me in order to consider it.

Filigree
03-03-2013, 11:09 AM
Thanks, Mac.

Fanatic_Dreamer
03-03-2013, 12:40 PM
But here's the thing bugging me lately: if the agents work for us, then how come we have to spend all our efforts pleasing them? Rare is the agent who says "Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title." Just like I would need to do in a job interview. I agree we need to describe our projects accurately so the agent knows if he or she can help us, but too often it feels like "I just wasn't pulled into the story, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"


I agree with this 100%.

Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front. I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.


On that note, I haven't personally encountered a rude agent. I think they're quirky.

Theo81
03-03-2013, 01:34 PM
I agree with this 100%.

Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front. I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.


On that note, I haven't personally encountered a rude agent. I think they're quirky.

I disagree with this entirely and I'm not sure what you'd prefer agents to say.

Nicola Barker's The Yips is a pretty good book and I'm itching for a "dialogue tags other than said" thread so I can point people at it (because I don't think she uses "said" at all and it took me 200 pages to notice). Did I enjoy it? Not so much - it just wasn't really my kind of thing, wasn't terribly interested in the story, all the things which would mean I'm not going to run up to people going "OMG, YOU HAVE TO READS THIS!!!!11!!!!"

An agent who isn't wildly enthusiastic about your book is not going to do the best job of selling it. Would you marry somebody who is a perfectly decent person but for whom you have no enthusiasm for?

In any case, the point is moot because those are stock phrases and you'd hear them whether they were true, or whether you'd sent something in green ink which lacked vowels.


On "rude" agents, I'm with everybody else: you, the writer, have the freedom of an opinion. There's an agency, for whom I keep a special place in my heart, who request exclusives because they are "not interested in beauty contests."

Here is a piece by UK agent Juliet Pickering (http://proactivewriter.com/blog/how-to-approach-a-literary-agent-written-by-a-real-life-ap-watt-agent/) (who is actually with Blake Friedmann now, although the piece says AP Watt) which I want to quote a bit of, to think on when you're frustrated.


Every single day I think about how much time and effort writers have put into their books, and I appreciate it. I get submissions from writers who have never shown anyone their book – a book that they may have taken twenty years to write, and who feel hugely vulnerable showing that book to me. It is a privilege to read a writer’s work, and I try to never forget that. And yes, sometimes some of our submissions are just plain mad or baffling, but that doesn’t mean I underestimate the effort that went into them.

Agenting is not a job people go into because they are mildly interested in books. Try not to forget that bit.

bearilou
03-03-2013, 04:41 PM
I disagree with this entirely and I'm not sure what you'd prefer agents to say.

Nicola Barker's The Yips is a pretty good book and I'm itching for a "dialogue tags other than said" thread so I can point people at it (because I don't think she uses "said" at all and it took me 200 pages to notice). Did I enjoy it? Not so much - it just wasn't really my kind of thing, wasn't terribly interested in the story, all the things which would mean I'm not going to run up to people going "OMG, YOU HAVE TO READS THIS!!!!11!!!!"

An agent who isn't wildly enthusiastic about your book is not going to do the best job of selling it. Would you marry somebody who is a perfectly decent person but for whom you have no enthusiasm for?

In any case, the point is moot because those are stock phrases and you'd hear them whether they were true, or whether you'd sent something in green ink which lacked vowels.


On "rude" agents, I'm with everybody else: you, the writer, have the freedom of an opinion. There's an agency, for whom I keep a special place in my heart, who request exclusives because they are "not interested in beauty contests."

Here is a piece by UK agent Juliet Pickering (http://proactivewriter.com/blog/how-to-approach-a-literary-agent-written-by-a-real-life-ap-watt-agent/) (who is actually with Blake Friedmann now, although the piece says AP Watt) which I want to quote a bit of, to think on when you're frustrated.



Agenting is not a job people go into because they are mildly interested in books. Try not to forget that bit.

I'm so glad you said this because in our bid, as writers, to get our work seen, read and hopefully bought, it does seem that on occasion we forget.

*strikes Mac off her list of agents to submit to*

ARoyce
03-03-2013, 06:09 PM
Okay, so I'm not trying to excuse rudeness. The responses Chris P mentioned are extreme (although I don't have a problem with the "stop asking about my sub guidelines--they're on the web site" (that one seems reasonable...it's part of a Writer's homework before querying).

But polite responses from an agent like "This just didn't draw me in" are standard form responses because, until they sign you as a client, they really don't work for you. It's not that you're the employer and they're a higprizefight employee. It's more like you're an actor auditioning. And you're auditioning in a field of thousands of others, ranging anywhere from "Does this person even understand the basics" to "good but not great" to "wow, must have this." Not everyone can make it on Broadway.

And responding to queries isn't even the money-making part of their job. Sure, many agents are looking for new work/writers to represent, but they have existing clients who they do work for.

So I agree this whole process can be frustrating, but I think we have to remember that agents don't really owe querying writers anything, except professionalism...until we are actually their clients.

Filigree
03-03-2013, 06:28 PM
I've had a couple of people ask me, over the last few years: "Well, then, if these folks sling abuse on Twitter and FB so much, I'm going to look for an agent without an online presence."

Whoa, tigers, slow down there. You pick an agent who has a strong track record in your chosen genre, wide contacts in the industry, experience with all the different and exciting ways they can make you money, adaptability to new technologies and methods, and a passion for your book. Because without passion, you might as well have not signed that agent.

An online presence can be a handy barometer to check how 'tuned in' an agent really is. Sure, you may have to wade through a few pages of tweets about pets, food, booze, and favorite TV shows, but you can also learn about agents' special calls, wish lists, and the things that make them happy. A lot of business gets conducted by email and Twitter these days.

Can an offline agent represent you effectively in this market? Maybe. Some of the best ones don't engage that much in social media at our level - but beware, they are on the internet, and they do pay attention.

Others who don't have a website, blog, etc. may be too far away from the pulse of the industry. They might be constrained by geography or getting ready to retire. They may still have their shingle out, but they're not taking on a lot of new clients. Conversely, they might be young and inexperienced. Personally, I'd worry about a new agent who 1) isn't online or 2) isn't based in the NY area. I don't lend my mms out to be someone else's training wheels, thank you.

It's our job as submitting authors to research the agents we plan to query. If they leave pieces of themselves all across the internet, for good or ill, that just makes our job a little easier. Let 'internet presence' be a factor as well as 'snark', but not the defining factor.

Chris P
03-03-2013, 06:51 PM
Okay, so I'm not trying to excuse rudeness. The responses Chris P mentioned are extreme (although I don't have a problem with the "stop asking about my sub guidelines--they're on the web site" (that one seems reasonable...it's part of a Writer's homework before querying).

That particular quote was after being told on the agency's website to look at the agent's blog. That's what annoyed me. Fortunately that's the only time that happened and it was a while ago. It's usually a lot more clear what they want, although I read an agency's website yesterday where only about four of the ten agents stated what they are looking for. I picked one who did and queried her, not out of spite but because I figured that was my best chance at being asked for pages.

And I don't think form responses are rude; I was just thinking out loud on how they fit with the "agents work for writers" situation. It's really no different than me telling a job recruiter I'm not interested in a job I think I wouldn't enjoy.

cryaegm
03-03-2013, 06:57 PM
I agree with this 100%.

Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front.Fifty Shades of Grey is a special case. It didn't go through the normal query agents ---> agent sells to publishers ---> sold route. I believe it started out as self-published, again, being a special case.


I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.
It may not have drawn you in (and if you were an agent who Stephenie Meyer submitted to, I bet you would've turned it down because you couldn't get into it, and if you couldn't get into it, how could you sell it?), but it drew others in, including an agent. People have different tastes. And with Harry Potter, they may be kicking themselves in the pants, but they didn't know it would be a huge hit. But it left it open for someone to take it on and believe in it, and here we are now.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.
An agent has to believe something will sell. If an agent doesn't, how can he/she sell it? So if something's not for them, you look for another agent and then another until you find one who is 100% for your work. Would you rather have an agent who doesn't like your work sign you and put it off to the side because she isn't so invested in the work as you are?

It doesn't matter that if it'll be the next big hit or not. If you don't have that enthusiasm, then what's the point?

ARoyce
03-03-2013, 07:38 PM
And I don't think form responses are rude; I was just thinking out loud on how they fit with the "agents work for writers" situation. It's really no different than me telling a job recruiter I'm not interested in a job I think I wouldn't enjoy.

Oh, Chris, I didn't think you were commenting on form responses...other posters had mentioned responses like "I'm just not that interested." as being frustrating or annoying. So I ended up responding to this thread as a composite of multiple posts.

And I do think the job application analogy can be apt, but I hesitate when queriers think agents should be giving them more attention than they do.

Old Hack
03-03-2013, 07:52 PM
I am reading tweets and blogs from literary agents, who probably think they own the world. Isn't this thing a business deal? Why do they have to be obnoxious?
I understand it is tough to find a needle in haystack. They have to find something they could sell to a publisher. But making fun of a writer? Give me a break.

It works both ways.

Last September I went to the York Festival of Writing, and chaired several "Meet The Agent" panel discussions. I must have dealt with a dozen agents, plus a handful of editors and publishers, and all of them were delightful people. They were thoughtful and generous and kind, and keen to help the writers who attended the Festival. They all went out of their way to answer questions and give advice, in and out of their sessions, they barely got a moment to themselves, and I was struck by their generousity.

Several of the writers who attended, however, were not so thoughtful. They interrupted the publishing professionals' conversations, they pushed people out of the way to do so, and one bloke who was particularly rude cornered an agent and spent twenty minutes lecturing her about the shortcomings of her agency's submissions system, telling her all the reasons he didn't like it--which boiled down to the fact that she'd rejected his work and he felt that was unfair. The whole time I was there, writers pitched their work at all and sundry, often at the most inappropriate moments (the year before, at the same Festival, I was with an agent in the queue for the ladies' loos when someone pitched to her, then waited outside her cubicle to have another go!).

It's a useful festival, but I find it exhausting. Heaven knows how the agents and editors who also do one-to-one sessions with writers feel at the end of it: it's very intense.

If you're a writer with plans to attend such an event, please try to remember that agents and editors are real people, and deserve to be treated with friendliness and respect.


Isn't that their job? It is easy to just hit the "delete" button and move on to the next one. Instead of blogging about how the letter was written, reading the MS would help.

As has already been said, sifting through the slush pile is not an agent's primary responsibility.

Sorting through the slush pile involves far more than just hitting the delete button. It takes time to consider each submission properly, even if you do reject in the end.

And if an agent took time to give feedback on full manuscripts rather than responding just to query letters, not only would the agent not have any time to represent her author-clients, she'd only be helping the one writer she gave feedback to: by blogging, agents hope to help more than one writer at a time. It's meant to be a helpful thing, not a rude thing.


... (my favorite) "See my blog for submission requirements" only to wade through five pages of "My trip to the Smokies," "How 'bout them Braves?" and finally "Stop posting comments asking for my submission requirements! They're on my agency's website!"

Lots of people refer to AW as a blog, and use "blog" and "website" interchangeably. I've seen that a lot and while it's irritating, it is forgiveable, I think.


But here's the thing bugging me lately: if the agents work for us, then how come we have to spend all our efforts pleasing them? Rare is the agent who says "Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title." Just like I would need to do in a job interview. I agree we need to describe our projects accurately so the agent knows if he or she can help us, but too often it feels like "I just wasn't pulled into the story, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"

Agents don't work for all of us, though: they only work for their author-clients. The rest of us, who would like them to work for us, have to prove that we're worth working for.

Once you have an agent, or often, even before an agent makes an offer, the agent absolutely will say to a writer, "here's what I can do for you."

I don't understand why you feel it's unfair for an agent to not want to work with writers whose work doesn't "pull them in". In that situation an agent isn't going to represent the author effectively, which surely isn't what you'd want?


I agree with this 100%.

Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front. I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.

No, the agents and publishers who rejected Harry Potter aren't kicking themselves. They didn't connect with the book: they accepted other writers and books instead, which they did sell or publish, and are glad to have done a good job there. Don't forget, it's possible that if a different agent or publisher had signed up J K Rowling that the Harry Potter books wouldn't have been anything like as popular as they are now.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.

You can work out that books which are badly written won't do well, and writers which are difficult to deal with aren't going to be very nice to work with.

And if you don't restrict the sorts of books you take on, and accept pretty much everything that comes your way, you're very soon going to be overwhelmed with writers to represent, or books under contract, with not enough time or money to represent or publish them well. Agents and publishers therefore have to filter the books sent to them and if it's arbitrary to do so based on personal preferences, what do you think would be a better way to do the job?


Fifty Shades of Grey is a special case. It didn't go through the normal query agents ---> agent sells to publishers ---> sold route. I believe it started out as self-published, again, being a special case.

Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't self published, it was put out by a tiny press which specialises in publishing fan fiction, and when the book began to take off it couldn't cope with demand, so it sold the contract on to a larger publisher.


An agent has to believe something will sell. If an agent doesn't, how can he/she sell it? So if something's not for them, you look for another agent and then another until you find one who is 100% for your work. Would you rather have an agent who doesn't like your work sign you and put it off to the side because she isn't so invested in the work as you are?

It doesn't matter that if it'll be the next big hit or not. If you don't have that enthusiasm, then what's the point?

Yep.

cryaegm
03-03-2013, 08:00 PM
Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't self published, it was put out by a tiny press which specialises in publishing fan fiction, and when the book began to take off it couldn't cope with demand, so it sold the contract on to a larger publisher.
Well, now you learn something new every day. I knew it started off as fafnic fanfic. I tried looking it up, but all I found was it had been self-published. I'm glad someone corrected me. :tongue

Thank you for correcting me. :)

ETA: Lol, apparently I didn't catch my typo. I think I was in the middle of making chocolate pancakes. My bad. :tongue

chris ell
03-03-2013, 10:14 PM
Well, there are some ways to make sure the agent is nice:
1. mention that you know where they live.
2. mention their pets or family members.
3. mention a mental institution.
4. if you really want them to take your writing seriously send a printed query signed in blood.

ARoyce
03-03-2013, 10:38 PM
chris ell--I'm sure you're just joking, but, in case some posters in this thread don't know...agents have been stalked and worse in real life. Just last year, agent Pam van Hylckama was allegedly attacked by a rejected author: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/14/news/la-jc-literary-agent-assault-twitter-20120914

Jamesaritchie
03-04-2013, 12:04 AM
My dad got a truly nasty reply to his manuscript: "Just because you're a technical writer what the hell makes you think you can write a novel?" I've also read some pretty snotty blogs: "I will ONLY rep people with MFAs in literature," or (my favorite) "See my blog for submission requirements" only to wade through five pages of "My trip to the Smokies," "How 'bout them Braves?" and finally "Stop posting comments asking for my submission requirements! They're on my agency's website!" I've seen pictures of huge slush piles, and I believe SPH is all true. Judging just 40 short stories for an AW contest was grueling enough, so I understand how that would wear a person down.

But here's the thing bugging me lately: if the agents work for us, then how come we have to spend all our efforts pleasing them? Rare is the agent who says "Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title." Just like I would need to do in a job interview. I agree we need to describe our projects accurately so the agent knows if he or she can help us, but too often it feels like "I just wasn't pulled into the story, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"

I've never spent a minute of my life trying to please an agent. I'm trying to please editors, and so is the agent.

"Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title."

I don't even know what this means? An agent really can't do anything for your book except get it in front of a good editor who can do something for it, and then to handle the contract when one is offered. A title is none of her business, and doesn't matter, anyway. If the editor doesn't like the title, he'll ask for a change.

An agent who actually tries to do something for your book, other than getting it in front of top editors, and getting the best contract when one is offered, is more likely to screw it up than help it. Getting the book right is the writer's responsibility, not the agent's.

Agents only work for us AFTER they agree to represent us and a contract is signed, not before.

But too many writers treat all agents as if they're professionals, and a pretty fair number of "agents" out there are people who, like writers, just decided to hang out a shingle and start requesting manuscripts, even though they know pretty much nothing about fiction or publishing.

There isn't necessarily anything at all snotty about "I will ONLY rep people with MFAs in literature". Just as writers are perfectly free to write only one kind of fiction, agents are perfectly free to represent only one kind of writer who wants to be published by a certain kind of publisher. There's nothing at all wrong with this.

Honestly, I can't remember ever talking to an agent, and editor, or a slush pile reader who didn't make exactly the same kind of comments new writers complain about. Most just don't post them on twitter or on a blog.

bettielee
03-04-2013, 12:43 AM
I remember that, it was terrifying. I just couldn't believe that was happening.

And if you think about it, agents aren't required to help us - but on Twitter, the #askagent and pubtips and things like that help so much - now of course, each agent and editor has different tastes and things they want or don't want to see, but I'm so surprised at how much of their time they do give to writers. And if you follow agents/editors on twitter, you know the incredibly long hours they give to reading queries/manuscripts.

You have to be really passionate about literature to do that. I couldn't. I'd want my weekend time. But I also want someone like that working for me- and I want them to LOVE my work, not think... eh, maybe there's a market for this and it's just middle of the road enough to sell...

WendyN
03-04-2013, 06:18 PM
Just jumping into this convo. There was one agent whom I crossed off my list because of a few downright rude things posted on twitter. I don't mind the occasional snark, but I know that I want an agent who is professional enough not to resort to name-calling; it just struck me as incredibly immature, and not an example of someone I want to work with.

Torgo
03-04-2013, 06:22 PM
Well, there are some ways to make sure the agent is nice:
1. mention that you know where they live.
2. mention their pets or family members.
3. mention a mental institution.
4. if you really want them to take your writing seriously send a printed query signed in blood.

All too realistic, I'm afraid. I have a colleague who ended up in a meeting with a guy who conned his way into the building through a mixture of straight-out lying about who he was and personal information gleaned from her Twitter feed.

Stacia Kane
03-04-2013, 06:53 PM
I agree with this 100%.

Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front. I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.


On that note, I haven't personally encountered a rude agent. I think they're quirky.


But they're not going strictly and completely by their personal taste. Agents don't work in a vacuum. They go by what they love and what they think they can sell, what they think will sell, based on very extensive knowledge of the current market and what editors and readers are looking for.

It's fine that TWILIGHT didn't draw you in. And if you were the only reader in the world, your personal taste would be all that matters. But you're one of millions, and quite a few of those millions love TWILIGHT. An agent picked up the mss and said, "I really like this AND I think an editor and readers will, too." And that agent was completely correct.

I'm sorry, but it seems odd to me to complain that agents judge works based on their subjective tastes and then offer quite a bit of proof that that particular system works and produces enormously popular books.

It's not about you. It's about readers. Agents tend to have an idea what they want, as do editors.

Finding an agent is a bit like finding a spouse. You really want someone who's enthusiastic about you and your work, not somebody who's just agreeing to spend their lives with you because they're lonely and you happen to be in the room.



I've had a couple of people ask me, over the last few years: "Well, then, if these folks sling abuse on Twitter and FB so much, I'm going to look for an agent without an online presence."

Whoa, tigers, slow down there. You pick an agent who has a strong track record in your chosen genre, wide contacts in the industry, experience with all the different and exciting ways they can make you money, adaptability to new technologies and methods, and a passion for your book. Because without passion, you might as well have not signed that agent.

An online presence can be a handy barometer to check how 'tuned in' an agent really is. Sure, you may have to wade through a few pages of tweets about pets, food, booze, and favorite TV shows, but you can also learn about agents' special calls, wish lists, and the things that make them happy. A lot of business gets conducted by email and Twitter these days.

Can an offline agent represent you effectively in this market? Maybe. Some of the best ones don't engage that much in social media at our level - but beware, they are on the internet, and they do pay attention.

Others who don't have a website, blog, etc. may be too far away from the pulse of the industry. They might be constrained by geography or getting ready to retire. They may still have their shingle out, but they're not taking on a lot of new clients. Conversely, they might be young and inexperienced. Personally, I'd worry about a new agent who 1) isn't online or 2) isn't based in the NY area. I don't lend my mms out to be someone else's training wheels, thank you.

It's our job as submitting authors to research the agents we plan to query. If they leave pieces of themselves all across the internet, for good or ill, that just makes our job a little easier. Let 'internet presence' be a factor as well as 'snark', but not the defining factor.

I agree that internet presence shouldn't be the defining factor, but absolutely disagree that an agent who isn't online isn't an effective agent. My agent doesn't blog or tweet or spend much time on Twitter, but he is enormously effective and has the client list to prove it (by which I mean the clients other than me, btw).

I can think of several very powerful agents who aren't online much; they're too busy and don't really want to bother with it all.

That's certainly not to say that agents who spend a lot of time online aren't busy or effective, just that as with all people, some agents like to hang out online and some don't, and it's got nothing to do with being connected or knowing what will sell and how and where to sell it.

Stacia Kane
03-04-2013, 07:15 PM
But here's the thing bugging me lately: if the agents work for us, then how come we have to spend all our efforts pleasing them? Rare is the agent who says "Here's what I can do for your book; let's see if I can do it with you particular title." Just like I would need to do in a job interview. I agree we need to describe our projects accurately so the agent knows if he or she can help us, but too often it feels like "I just wasn't pulled into the story, so NO SOUP FOR YOU!!"


And by the way...I'm not trying to be rude here, but actually, my agent works for ME. Not you and not "us" or writers in general. He works for me, and for his other clients. We're the ones paying his salary while he reads your queries. We're all happy to do that, but personally, I'd rather he be working for me instead of spending hours having long discussions with writers he doesn't represent and won't represent--and that includes writers who've written books that for one reason or another didn't pull him in, which is a perfectly legitimate reason for rejecting books, and one you yourself have used if you ever picked up a book in a store and decided not to buy it because it just didn't look that good to you.

My agent's obligations are to me and his other clients, not to writers he doesn't represent. I'm one of his clients, so I do in fact have those conversations with him about how he feels about my work and what he can do for it. It's not that such discussions don't exist, it's that they only exist with clients.

Roger J Carlson
03-04-2013, 07:17 PM
Why are some agents so rude? For the same reason some writers are delicate flowers: they're human.

How do you deal with a rude agent? Same way you deal with any rude stranger: move on.

Phaeal
03-04-2013, 08:03 PM
I started out thinking it was rude if an agent didn't respond to a query, at least with a form rejection. I progressed to thinking it was rude if an agent didn't respond to a requested full, at least with a form rejection.

But in the end I was even shrugging off the "lost in limbo" fulls. A matter of getting tougher the longer one plays the game, I imagine. You simply can't agonize over every perceived slight and get your new queries out and your next book written.

As for rude responses, I've gotten hundreds of rejection letters over the years, form and personal, and not one of them struck me as rude. Okay, maybe that one written on a piece of paper the size of a postage stamp. That one felt a little belittling.

:D

Sometimes things slip out in public -- blogs, Twitter, etc. -- I think are truly rude. Like an agent who called the writer of a "bad" review a bitch. Unless I dreamed that? I do have nightmares sometimes. Perhaps others will remember.

The point being that these informal public places are where most agents -- like most people -- slip up. Let it be a warning to us all.

Fanatic_Dreamer
03-04-2013, 10:49 PM
But they're not going strictly and completely by their personal taste. Agents don't work in a vacuum. They go by what they love and what they think they can sell, what they think will sell, based on very extensive knowledge of the current market and what editors and readers are looking for.

It's fine that TWILIGHT didn't draw you in. And if you were the only reader in the world, your personal taste would be all that matters. But you're one of millions, and quite a few of those millions love TWILIGHT. An agent picked up the mss and said, "I really like this AND I think an editor and readers will, too." And that agent was completely correct.


Let me just say that I'm not being argumentative, I'm just trying to have a calm, unhostile discussion. Not saying you're being hostile, I'm saying that I want my intentions clear :P

My point was that just because those two didn't draw me in, doesn't mean they weren't big sellers.

If I were an agent a few months ago (back during the whole Fifty Shades hype) If Fifty Shades did well and I saw another novel like that and I knew the market was hot for it...would it really be smart for me to decline it because I personally don't like erotica?

I don't think so.

I understand that they reject based on many different factors, but most agents are honest and say from the get-go: "I don't think I can market it." or "I don't think in today's market there's a place for it."

So I'm not sure why a few agents would say it wasn't to their taste if they really meant it wasn't for the market. O.o

Chris P
03-04-2013, 11:02 PM
And by the way...I'm not trying to be rude here, but actually, my agent works for ME. Not you and not "us" or writers in general. He works for me, and for his other clients. We're the ones paying his salary while he reads your queries. We're all happy to do that, but personally, I'd rather he be working for me instead of spending hours having long discussions with writers he doesn't represent and won't represent--and that includes writers who've written books that for one reason or another didn't pull him in, which is a perfectly legitimate reason for rejecting books, and one you yourself have used if you ever picked up a book in a store and decided not to buy it because it just didn't look that good to you.

My agent's obligations are to me and his other clients, not to writers he doesn't represent. I'm one of his clients, so I do in fact have those conversations with him about how he feels about my work and what he can do for it. It's not that such discussions don't exist, it's that they only exist with clients.

Wow, great response. I'll confess I posted what you quoted to spur the discussion, knowing the reality was not my perception. I just didn't know the reality in quite those terms. Of course I don't expect an agent who I haven't signed with to spend hours giving me tips.

Axordil
03-04-2013, 11:08 PM
If Fifty Shades did well and I saw another novel like that and I knew the market was hot for it...would it really be smart for me to decline it because I personally don't like erotica?

I don't think so.


And yet agents do exactly that, all the time. Successful agents. Established agents. Perhaps they have a good reason.

Roger J Carlson
03-04-2013, 11:10 PM
If I were an agent a few months ago (back during the whole Fifty Shades hype) If Fifty Shades did well and I saw another novel like that and I knew the market was hot for it...would it really be smart for me to decline it because I personally don't like erotica?

I don't think so.But if you don't like erotica and don't read it, how likely are you to know whether a given erotic book is good by the standards of that genre? How likely are you to have contacts with publishers of erotica? Not too likely, imo. Agents specialize for a reason.

Axordil
03-04-2013, 11:26 PM
I progressed to thinking it was rude if an agent didn't respond to a requested full, at least with a form rejection.

As I understand it, a gentle email poke to an agent a couple of months after sending a full is considered acceptable form in most cases.

Jennifer_Laughran
03-05-2013, 01:05 AM
If I were an agent a few months ago (back during the whole Fifty Shades hype) If Fifty Shades did well and I saw another novel like that and I knew the market was hot for it...would it really be smart for me to decline it because I personally don't like erotica?
O.o

Yes, correct, it would be smart to decline.

I'll go further: If an agent is taking something on that they don't like just because it is a "hot" genre, but they don't personally have an interest in it, don't normally read or enjoy or represent that genre, and don't have connections to editors that buy that genre, then they are A FOOL, and you'd be a fool to sign with them.

True example: I'm a children's book agent. I don't read or represent or have an interest in erotica. I don't know editors who buy erotica. I would be a TERRIBLE AGENT for these projects. They might be excellent and sell for a fortune to some publisher -- but I know nothing about the genre, or even if they are good or bad, or how to sell them. (IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S ME). It would be dumb for me to be like "woohoo, gravy train!" and try to hop aboard. Dumb, reckless, and a waste of everyone's time. It's just not going to happen.

I also state all over the internet that I'm a children's book agent. And yet I get queries for erotica often, and sometimes even angry responses when I decline. Um.

Susan Littlefield
03-05-2013, 01:10 AM
I started out thinking it was rude if an agent didn't respond to a query, at least with a form rejection. I progressed to thinking it was rude if an agent didn't respond to a requested full, at least with a form rejection.

But in the end I was even shrugging off the "lost in limbo" fulls. A matter of getting tougher the longer one plays the game, I imagine. You simply can't agonize over every perceived slight and get your new queries out and your next book written.

As for rude responses, I've gotten hundreds of rejection letters over the years, form and personal, and not one of them struck me as rude. Okay, maybe that one written on a piece of paper the size of a postage stamp. That one felt a little belittling.

:D

Sometimes things slip out in public -- blogs, Twitter, etc. -- I think are truly rude. Like an agent who called the writer of a "bad" review a bitch. Unless I dreamed that? I do have nightmares sometimes. Perhaps others will remember.

The point being that these informal public places are where most agents -- like most people -- slip up. Let it be a warning to us all.

I have also gotten loads of rejections letters over the years, even back before the internet, and I've also never gotten a rude or inappropriate one.

Fanatic_Dreamer
03-05-2013, 09:25 AM
Fair enough then.

Spell-it-out
03-05-2013, 04:15 PM
Have you read Slush Pile Hell?

http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/

read a page or two of the crazy letters this guy gets and you will start to feel pity. Real pity. I'm no longer terrified of agents.

That has made my day - I feel kinda normal now :)

Phaeal
03-05-2013, 07:12 PM
As I understand it, a gentle email poke to an agent a couple of months after sending a full is considered acceptable form in most cases.

It is. I did. Once at three months, again at six months. In the several cases where I still got no response, I then wrote those fulls off as dead in the water.

Sometimes your message in a bottle gets swallowed by a whale, never to be heard from again.

Axordil
03-05-2013, 09:44 PM
It is. I did. Once at three months, again at six months. In the several cases where I still got no response, I then wrote those fulls off as dead in the water.

Sometimes your message in a bottle gets swallowed by a whale, never to be heard from again.

I think I'd move on at that point too. While some agents are known for taking a loooong time to read fulls, they also tend to respond when poked.

Phaeal
03-05-2013, 10:05 PM
The funniest part was how when I accepted rep with my wonderful agent and wrote to formally withdraw the fulls, the two most "delinquent" agents wrote back at once to congratulate me.

God, they must have been relieved.

:D

Axordil
03-05-2013, 10:36 PM
The funniest part was how when I accepted rep with my wonderful agent and wrote to formally withdraw the fulls, the two most "delinquent" agents wrote back at once to congratulate me.

God, they must have been relieved.

:D

Something similar happened with me. You know, now that I think about it...I shuffled my QT lists around. I hope I don't still have a sub out anywhere. There was one agent who was out on sabbatical... :gaah Time to check QT.

MandyHubbard
03-06-2013, 01:28 AM
Why are some agents rude? Becuase they're probably just rude people. They're probably a dick to their waitress or their furnace repair guy too. I once sat at a long pitch table at a conference, and the agent next to me leaned over and said, watch how fast I can reject this guy. I was HORRIFIED. I spent the rest of the conference staying away from that person. I've also had to unfollow an agent or two on twitter who just seemed MISERABLE every day.

The fact is, the agents who are good at this, who have true, long term success, are the agents who LOVE what they do. We love books, we love the industry, and we love WRITERS. It's a never-ending passion that fuels us, becuase trust me when I say agents are some of the hardest working people I've ever met.

That's why we pass on stuff if we don't love it. Because we have no way to predict what sells, and I won't spend 200 hours working on a book I don't love. And you want an agent who will gush about your book to anyone who will hear.

I was an author first-- had 7 books of my own sold to Harlequin, Penguin, etc-- before becoming an agent. And holy hell, is agenting WAY harder on your ego. Every day you deal with rejection on some level-- editors rejecting your clients, losing books to other agents after they get a half-dozen offers, having that occasional client who acts unethically and you have to deal with it, etc, etc. An agent friend recently said, "I think the most useful skill we develop as an agent is to take one right on the fucking chin and just keep on trucking."

And that is so freaking true.

If an agent is rude, they might be having a bad day, or they might just be a dick. And you didn't want to work with that person anyway.

Meems
03-06-2013, 03:26 AM
Not to be harsh, but what does it really matter why they're rude or if they are or aren't?

At the end of all of it, you're out there looking for an agent, and while it might be nice if along the way to getting one everyone was smiles and praise and gentle encouragement, this is a business like any other, with people like any other, and the sooner you adjust your expectations and look on "niceness" as a pleasant surprise instead of an entitlement, the better off you'll be.

Don't think I'm unsympathetic to the reasoning behind your question. All of us know how tough it is to write your guts out and then to go out there and encounter indifference and rejection and---in the case of those few agents you seem to be talking about---mockery or ridicule. But, in reality, all that matters is getting to that agent and then that editor that's going to say Yes.

Let all the rest of it roll right off you.

MandyHubbard
03-06-2013, 04:29 AM
Not to be harsh, but what does it really matter why they're rude or if they are or aren't?

But, in reality, all that matters is getting to that agent and then that editor that's going to say Yes.

Let all the rest of it roll right off you.


Well, your agent will do WAY more than sell the book, and you're going to work together for YEARS. A good personality fit is a must. There's WAY more to a good agent than selling your book.

Stacia Kane
03-06-2013, 05:42 AM
Well, your agent will do WAY more than sell the book, and you're going to work together for YEARS. A good personality fit is a must. There's WAY more to a good agent than selling your book.


GOD, yes.

Almost every writer I know who switched agents at some point did so because personality-wise they just weren't great fits. There's a reason I compared finding an agent to looking for a spouse; you have to like your agent, you have to trust your agent, you have to be able to talk to your agent. (I'd say a good 30-40% at least of the time I spend on the phone with my agent is chit-chat, gossip, sharing stories of our lives, that sort of thing.)

Not all writers want that sort of relationship, sure, but I think it's more common than not. Your agent is your partner in a lot of ways, and you want them to be someone you can spend time with, agree with, and understand. You spend a lot of time discussing your work with this person; imagine how awful it would be to talk about your work with someone who doesn't get it, or says things that hurt your feelings, or keeps trying to convince you to write things you don't want to or aren't comfortable writing, or whatever else.


There were a couple of very popular blogging agents I didn't query back when I was querying, because I just...didn't like them much. It wasn't that I thought they were rude or mean or anything, and they certainly were solid, successful agents, it was just clear to me from the worldview and tones of their blogs that we wouldn't be a match. I didn't find their jokes funny; their opinions puzzled me; their tone was not engaging to me; their interests outside work bored me. They weren't people I thought I would enjoy working with and having a relationship with. Not their fault and not mine, just a lack of connection. And honestly, with such a disconnect in personality, chances were good they wouldn't like my voice or work anyway, so they probably would have rejected me. :) (I actually think this is another reason why "It just didn't pull me in" is such a legit reason for rejecting a book; someone who doesn't get my work is unlikely to get me, and someone who doesn't get me is unlikely to be enjoyable to work with. An author-client relationship that isn't enjoyable is not a successful author-client relationship. Talking to your agent should be a pleasure, not a chore, and it should leave you feeling energized and positive, not confused and misunderstood.)


Again, all of this is based on my feelings and experience; some writers don't care as much about personality matches, and some don't want to have long chats with their agents about petty thefts they committed in their teen years or how much they like peanut butter or whatever else. Some like to keep it strictly business. But even then, those working styles have to mesh or at least be acceptable to both parties, because whether it's gossipy and joking or strictly professional, the agent-client relationship is still a relationship.

Meems
03-06-2013, 06:03 AM
Well, your agent will do WAY more than sell the book, and you're going to work together for YEARS. A good personality fit is a must. There's WAY more to a good agent than selling your book.

My post was unclear. What I meant was that the niceness or rudeness of other agents along the way to getting your agent shouldn't matter as much as it seems to matter to the OP. Of course it would be great if everyone was as nice as rainbows and unicorns and Teletubbies all frolicking in the sunlight, but that could be said of everyone we interact with in life.

I absolutely 1000% agree that your agent should be someone you're comfortable and compatible with. That relationship should be one of mutual respect. No one should have to tolerate rudeness there.

Wilde_at_heart
03-06-2013, 07:29 PM
Keep in mind that twitter is going to have a disproportionate number of "loudmouths", and they are going to tweet disproportionally more. Many agents don't tweet, and the ones without the snark have fewer people following when they do, so you might not know about them.

Well said. Some people know that negative comments draw more followers, which is unfortunate.

As for rudeness, I think some people just tire of seeing similar things over and over again, there might be people they've rejected who pester them even, and some handle it better than others.

Old Hack
03-06-2013, 10:05 PM
Agents and editors do get pestered and insulted by writers whose work they've rejected. It happens quite frequently.

Myrealana
03-06-2013, 11:14 PM
Snarky humourus comments on submissions that are clearly from people who need a basic lesson in communcating are not something I consider "rude" and more than I think George Carlin was rude to bad drivers when he made fun of the guy driving "around the world...to the left."

Slushpile Hell is great. So is the Evil Editor: http://evileditor.blogspot.com/

Plus, for those of us who DO understand how to read basic instructions and write coherently in our native language, these sites are so theraputic. Every time I get a rejection, I can turn to one of these sites and say "I may not have sold, but at least I didn't start my letter 'Deer Agent' like that n00b!"

Mutive
03-06-2013, 11:42 PM
Agents and editors do get pestered and insulted by writers whose work they've rejected. It happens quite frequently.

Yeah, I'd guess that around 1/30 out of every rejection I send out comes back with either a long rant about how I didn't get the writer's genius, or something snarky. I just delete.

But I can see how someone getting the 5th of those in a day might break down and post a cathartic tweet.

(And I don't do it for a living, so my 1/30 is one every few weeks...not several a day!)

Myrealana
03-06-2013, 11:51 PM
Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front. I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.



Do you really want the person out there trying to sell your novel to publishers to be someone who doesn't get it, didn't like it and wasn't drawn into reading it?

Whether they're right about your novel's future or not, the relationship is never going to work if the agent isn't into it. Take it for what it's worth and move on.

Dreams For My Son
03-07-2013, 03:51 AM
Agents and editors do get pestered and insulted by writers whose work they've rejected. It happens quite frequently.
Why do writers respond to rejection letters with insults instead of 'Thank You'? I mean if they were itching to respond, just 'thank you' is appropriate. Insults just show immaturity.

Medievalist
03-07-2013, 04:49 AM
Agents and editors do get pestered and insulted by writers whose work they've rejected. It happens quite frequently.

Literary agents also get stalked and threatened (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/15/pam-van-hylckama-vlieg-attack-agent-author_n_1886696.html).

kaitie
03-07-2013, 05:10 AM
Why do writers respond to rejection letters with insults instead of 'Thank You'? I mean if they were itching to respond, just 'thank you' is appropriate. Insults just show immaturity.

Because some writers are immature and have a strong sense of entitlement?

Amadan
03-07-2013, 05:23 AM
Because some writerspeople are immature and have a strong sense of entitlement?

FIFY.

BenPanced
03-07-2013, 08:10 AM
Do you really want the person out there trying to sell your novel to publishers to be someone who doesn't get it, didn't like it and wasn't drawn into reading it?

Whether they're right about your novel's future or not, the relationship is never going to work if the agent isn't into it. Take it for what it's worth and move on.
And turn that around. I've heard plenty of stories here on AW where people are told "I loved your story but I have no idea how I could market it so I'll have to pass".

Let's face facts: if every agent took on every book just so they could sell the next Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, or Harry Potter series, they'd go bust in two years or less. They'd have too many clients with too many books, and would lose their focus and credibility.

Old Hack
03-07-2013, 11:07 AM
Why do writers respond to rejection letters with insults instead of 'Thank You'? I mean if they were itching to respond, just 'thank you' is appropriate. Insults just show immaturity.

Go to this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8024803), and follow the link I left in the first post. Scroll down a little way and you'll find a photograph of the sort of letters some writers send to agents who reject them.

It's mind-boggling.

It would be less so if this were an unusual event, but it happens a lot. And this is partly the reason that many agents have moved to a "no response means no thank you" stance: it cuts down on such communications.

MissyLaRae
03-10-2013, 03:54 AM
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b40/bettieleetwo/this.jpg

Have you read Slush Pile Hell?

http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/




I seriously lol'd. That was hilarious.

gingerwoman
03-10-2013, 04:00 PM
Because some writers are immature and have a strong sense of entitlement?
I don't really consider these people "writers" just dumbasses. Whenever I read one of these letters where someone is ranting to an agentabout who he wants to play his characters in "the" movie and how the book will be a break out best seller I feel certain the book in question is utter tripe.

Old Hack
03-10-2013, 08:33 PM
I disagree that people who respond to agents in a negative way are "just dumbasses". Some are, for sure: but others are perfectly nice people who are horribly upset by the rejections they've received, and who are frustrated by the submissions process and don't have the knowledge or support that we have here: sometimes they just lash out, and regret their actions horribly afterwards. Sometimes they make mistakes because they're nervous, trying too hard to make the right sort of impression, or don't have the confidence to be themselves and inject too much swagger into their attitude.

It's complex, and although I don't support such behaviour I can understand why it happens; and I'm not about to condemn their work as "utter tripe" because they behaved badly. The two aren't necessarily connected.

shaldna
03-11-2013, 04:38 PM
I agree with this 100%.

Nothing annoys me more when an agent says the following:

"I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in this kind of story."

Or

"It didn't draw me in enough, sorry."


Because you know what? I'm not interested in Fifty Shades of Grey or any other novel like that...but they've sold millions of copies so obviously my opinion means 0 on that front. I also don't care much for Twilight and it didn't draw me in (I've tried to read it twice, no dice) and it sold very well. And I'm quite sure the first few agents/publishers who rejected the Harry Potter series are kicking themselves right now.

I bet they're not.

Here's the thing - if you don't love a book enough to take it on and dedicate years of your life to it, then you aren't going to be doing the best job. If you don't LOVE it, how are you going to convince a publisher to love it too? You can't. So you'll not be able to get the best publisher, or the best deal. Likewise, if they don't LOVE it too, then they can't make the best of it.

So, with another publisher or agent Twilight might have tanked or disapeared into obscurity or never seen the light of day at all.


Point is, taste is incredibly subjective. To reject something based on your own personal thought/feelings is arbitrary because you never know what might take off.

See my point above. Personal feelings about work is one of the primary reasons involved in taking on a new book.

LillyPu
03-11-2013, 07:38 PM
Why do writers respond to rejection letters with insults instead of 'Thank You'? I mean if they were itching to respond, just 'thank you' is appropriate. Insults just show immaturity.
I would never think to respond to a rejection with a "Thank you." Their "thanks, but no thanks" is good enough for me at ending our brief yet heady affair. What happens after your "Thank you" for their "No thanks"? (Besides, I'm not about to thank anyone for rejecting me.) :)

I do prefer a simple "no thanks". Last thing I want is to read a long drawn out form letter about the state of publishing, how difficult it is to place novels, how they wish they could do this 'n that... Worse are generic form letters that state no connection with the character, or did not engage, etc. where the writer might start thinking that's the case, when it might not be. It's just a form letter. The novel wasn't for them; end of subject. If they're not going to be specific, for crying out loud, please don't be "form" generic. :)

Wisteria Vine
03-11-2013, 07:52 PM
I remember the good old days when queries were sent on typed paper in real envelopes, sent SASE. I would get my own query letter sent back to me with "NO" scrawled across it in red pen. Those were the days.

Katrina S. Forest
03-11-2013, 08:09 PM
I do prefer a simple "no thanks". Last thing I want is to read a long drawn out form letter about the state of publishing, how difficult it is to place novels, how they wish they could do this 'n that... Worse are generic form letters that state no connection with the character, or did not engage, etc. where the writer might start thinking that's the case, when it might not be. It's just a form letter. The novel wasn't for them; end of subject. If they're not going to be specific, for crying out loud, please don't be "form" generic. :)

Oh, gosh yes.

I remember one thread here in AW where an agent had a form letter stating she (or he, I honestly don't remember), was too busy to take on new clients right now. The rejected author posted a polite FYI in the agent's thread so others would know to hold off querying until the agent was less busy. Except that it was followed by another author who'd gotten a request recently. Until you know enough to assume everything that isn't specifically tailored to your story is a form letter, it's hard to make the distinction.

And I totally get why the polite form letters exist. Saying, "it's me, not you" probably reduces the likelihood of crazy people attacking you. But when I get a form that with generic compliments like my project having merit or showing promise as a writer, I smirk a little and think, "Okay, yeah, I've read Slush Pile Hell, and I know that's not true of every author you send this to." :)

LillyPu
03-11-2013, 08:29 PM
I remember the good old days when queries were sent on typed paper in real envelopes, sent SASE. I would get my own query letter sent back to me with "NO" scrawled across it in red pen. Those were the days.
I know! And I had something to SHOW for all my hard work.

I vehemently dislike the "no response means no" method employed by some agents. That's simply bad manners. If they don't have the time to respond, then they need to make space for another intern, or hire a part time assistant. If they can't do that and "cannot possibly keep up", they might consider allowing the first 100 queries per week, only. If yours is 101, it doesn't get read and you have to resubmit (that sounds burdensome for the writer--scrap that idea); in that case, agents too busy to respond to queries they reject, should not accept unsolicited queries--period. Or agents should 'close to queries' until caught up. Either way, "No Response" is just plain bad manners. If agents are open to unsolicited queries, then they need to be courteous enough to let the writer know "No thanks." Simple as that.

LillyPu
03-11-2013, 08:39 PM
And I totally get why the polite form letters exist. Saying, "it's me, not you" probably reduces the likelihood of crazy people attacking you. But when I get a form that with generic compliments like my project having merit or showing promise as a writer, I smirk a little and think, "Okay, yeah, I've read Slush Pile Hell, and I know that's not true of every author you send this to." :)
But those letters saying fake things are probably what enrages already enraged people to begin with. :)

They may think, well she says my writing has merit, and I have talent.. then, why the F* doesn't she want to read my first 50 pages at least!? I'm going to email and convince her!

A simple "No thanks, not right for us. Good luck placing it elsewhere." would seem to diffuse and deflect the reject to a closed subject.

Maybe there's a whole thread on this, so... http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon2.gif

Terie
03-11-2013, 09:19 PM
If they don't have the time to respond, then they need to make space for another intern, or hire a part time assistant.

I don't like 'no response means "no"' either, but c'mon. Why should an agent spend money to hire another employee whose job is essentially to head off people WHO ARE NOT CLIENTS and WILL NOT MAKE MONEY for the agent?

The problem here isn't unreasonable agents. The problem is the huge number of clueless writers flooding the agents' inboxes with submissions that never will have a snowball's chance in hell of getting picked up.

If the only submissions came from people whose writing was up to snuff and who carefully targeted the agents they submit to, 90% or more of submissions wouldn't exist.

IOW, the problem is clueless writers, not impolite agents.

Katrina S. Forest
03-11-2013, 09:34 PM
But those letters saying fake things are probably what enrages already enraged people to begin with. :)

They may think, well she says my writing has merit, and I have talent.. then, why the F* doesn't she want to read my first 50 pages at least!? I'm going to email and convince her!

A simple "No thanks, not right for us. Good luck placing it elsewhere." would seem to diffuse and deflect the reject to a closed subject.

Maybe there's a whole thread on this, so... http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon2.gif

Until someone actually does a study of which types of rejections get more crazy angry responses, we'll probably never know. ^_^

I guess we're meandering off topic a little bit, but it is an interesting discussion.

Closer to the original topic, the only thing I can think of that I would really call rude is purposefully not responding to requested material. (Exception being, of course, if the agent makes clear they have a "no response means no" policy on such material.) As an author, I make major decisions based on whether or not I have partials and fulls out. I won't submit direct to publishers or grant exclusives to other agents who request them. So if an agent were to read my material, decide it's not for them, and then never tell me -- that would make me pass up opportunities that I don't need to and I'd call that rude.

I can't think of any agents that I know for a fact have done this, only to say that it would take that kind of extreme lack of courtesy for me to slap the label "rude" on an agent's behavior.

Old Hack
03-11-2013, 09:52 PM
I vehemently dislike the "no response means no" method employed by some agents. That's simply bad manners.

No, it's not bad manners. You don't understand how bad things get sometimes.

I have a number of friends who are literary agents, and some of them have switched from responding to every submission to "no response means no". The reason? They've been forced into by the responses they've received from disgruntled writers.

If they send rejections out, a proportion of writers will object: they'll argue with the agents and threaten them. If you don't believe me, take a look at the letter shown in the thread I linked to earlier: that letter is mild compared to some of the ones I've seen. When I was editing full-time I ended up with a writer I'd sent a gentle rejection to stalking and threatening me.

All the agents I know have stories to tell of writers who objected to rejections and caused significant trouble for the agents concerned. Every agent I know has had cause to contact the police about this, on several occasions.


If they don't have the time to respond, then they need to make space for another intern, or hire a part time assistant.

It's often not a question of not having the time to respond--although that does have an impact. But if that were the only reason for this stance, why should agents spend money employing an assistant or an intern simply to give feedback to writers on work which, much of the time, is not good enough to publish, and/or is not of a genre which the agent represents?

An agent only makes money out of the writers she represents. She is responsible only to them. Not to the writers who submit their work to her.


But those letters saying fake things are probably what enrages already enraged people to begin with. :)

They're not fake things. If an agents writes that she doesn't love a book enough to represent the writer, she's telling the truth; if a book isn't for her, that's true also. If her list is full then that too is true and if she then finds room for another writer, it's because the writing was so stellar she couldn't turn it down, even though she knows she's already too busy.


They may think, well she says my writing has merit, and I have talent.. then, why the F* doesn't she want to read my first 50 pages at least!? I'm going to email and convince her!

It's writers trying to convince agents that they were wrong to reject them which has led, in great part, to this situation. Many writers do try to convince agents to give them a second chance; I've never seen it work, but I have seen it escalate into an abusive tirade from the authors on many occasions.


Maybe there's a whole thread on this, so... http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon2.gif

Isn't that what this thread is about?

LillyPu
03-11-2013, 10:00 PM
Terie,

There are plenty of good agents who do take the time to respond to each query. I query them and avoid those who are too overworked or understaffed to respond. The really good agents who don't respond are the ones who are closed to unsolicited queries, and state it upfront.

If an agent is open to unsolicited queries, then they really should find some time, or someone to respond in mass reject emailings, doesn't matter how they do it: "No thank you" cut 'n paste, whatever. But "no response means no" whether it's to an inappropriate query or an uninteresting query, a response really should be afforded the sender.

If sorting through queries is too taxing for them that they can't respond, then they're in the wrong business. Yeah, they even need to respond with a simple "No thank you" to what they are not interested in.

If an agent is open to unsolicited queries, there's no harm in treating the queries -- all queries -- with good intentions. Agencies are a business. Good business practices, regardless.

LillyPu
03-11-2013, 10:08 PM
They're not fake things. If an agents writes that she doesn't love a book enough to represent the writer, she's telling the truth; if a book isn't for her, that's true also. If her list is full then that too is true and if she then finds room for another writer, it's because the writing was so stellar she couldn't turn it down, even though she knows she's already too busy.



I was talking about form letters saying your writing has merit, etc. Form letters. I understand everything else in your post. I still think it's bad manners, though, for an agent not reply to a query, and that's just me. I've never replied to a rejection. I've never held a rejection against any agent. I prefer not to query agents who don't respond, personal preference. It's a bad situation when agents have to change their process because of a few irate writers (or even lots of them) when the majority of us are pretty thankful they even read the thing, and can handle rejection just fine.

I thought there might be a separate thread for "no response means no" and didn't want to get off-topic with that.

Thanks for your response! :) (I mean that.)

LillyPu
03-11-2013, 10:15 PM
why should agents spend money employing an assistant or an intern simply to give feedback to writers on work which, much of the time, is not good enough to publish, and/or is not of a genre which the agent represents?

An agent only makes money out of the writers she represents. She is responsible only to them. Not to the writers who submit their work to her.


Oh no, I never implied they give feedback other than "No thanks, not for us." Never should a writer expect feedback on a query, or even on a partial, or full. When it's given, then yay for you.

An agent's responsibility is to her clients, yes. If she's accepting unsolicited queries, it's an invitation to writers, isn't it? To submit? Perhaps be her next best client? A simple "No thanks" is appreciated.

KTC
03-11-2013, 10:16 PM
One might want to read the examples that agents give as bad queries and wastes of their time. The best way to get one foot in the door is to ACTUALLY READ THEIR GUIDELINES. And ACTUALLY FOLLOW THEIR GUIDELINES. When they give samples and blog about bad queries, etc, they are giving one a lesson in how to be successful by showing them its opposite. One could learn a hell of a lot from a ranting agent.

Phaeal
03-11-2013, 10:52 PM
I remember the good old days when queries were sent on typed paper in real envelopes, sent SASE. I would get my own query letter sent back to me with "NO" scrawled across it in red pen. Those were the days.

Ain't it the truth? I once got the trifecta of hard-boiled agent rejections:

-- Scrawled red NO
-- Coffee cup ring
-- Cigarette burn

Maryn
03-11-2013, 11:18 PM
You left off the one who used my SASE not only to mail the rejection but a bunch of pamphlets for his various books on how to get published--additional postage due.

Maryn, who will not forgive this guy in her lifetime, apparently

Dreams For My Son
03-12-2013, 04:16 AM
I would never think to respond to a rejection with a "Thank you." Their "thanks, but no thanks" is good enough for me at ending our brief yet heady affair. What happens after your "Thank you" for their "No thanks"? (Besides, I'm not about to thank anyone for rejecting me.) :)

I do prefer a simple "no thanks". Last thing I want is to read a long drawn out form letter about the state of publishing, how difficult it is to place novels, how they wish they could do this 'n that... Worse are generic form letters that state no connection with the character, or did not engage, etc. where the writer might start thinking that's the case, when it might not be. It's just a form letter. The novel wasn't for them; end of subject. If they're not going to be specific, for crying out loud, please don't be "form" generic. :)
I agree with you. I don't even understand why people respond to rejection letters. If they have to respond, it just has to be a polite one. I do not think a nasty reply would get the author anywhere. I would prefer banging my head against the wall to showing my anger to the agent. My beef is with agents who just think writers are bunch of idiots, and dare to make fun of them on blogs and twitter. I am not saying that there are no idiot writers out there, like the ones at SHP.
For some reason, the thread got longer. Can we close it? LOL.

Katrina S. Forest
03-12-2013, 04:36 AM
For some reason, the thread got longer. Can we close it? LOL.

Not a mod, but generally threads only get closed on the original poster's request if it's something personal like SYW.

Otherwise, you start a discussion and (within reason) it meanders where it will. You can join and leave the discussion as you like. Personally, I'm finding it really interesting to read other opinions here. :)

jvc
03-12-2013, 04:45 AM
We may consider closing a thread once it reaches 30,000 posts, too. Then we just start a 'part 2' and carry on where it left off. So there is a way to go before this thread gets that treatment. ;)

Dreams For My Son
03-12-2013, 05:28 AM
Okay then, let's keep going. :ROFL:

Paul
03-12-2013, 05:37 AM
Why are some authors so rude?

Why are some accountants so rude?

Why are some funeral directors so rude?

Afraid there are SOME rude people in every walk of life. Most agents are pleasant and personable. (Well... compared to me, anyway. I'm mean.)

#notreally

#wellkinda
lol.

I would imagine agents have more fuel to work with...

then again, an accountant friend of mine did say he got a giggle from some of his clients expenses listings....

Phaeal
03-12-2013, 04:24 PM
You left off the one who used my SASE not only to mail the rejection but a bunch of pamphlets for his various books on how to get published--additional postage due.

Maryn, who will not forgive this guy in her lifetime, apparently

I've gotten several such "augmented" rejections. But I've forgiven the poor souls.

Some mag editors used to stuff rejections with their ads and subscription info. I haven't seen the equivalent in email rejections, which is nice.

Mr Flibble
03-12-2013, 05:37 PM
I've gotten several such "augmented" rejections. But I've forgiven the poor souls.

Some mag editors used to stuff rejections with their ads and subscription info. I haven't seen the equivalent in email rejections, which is nice.


I have -- amazon links to the agents' (or his client's) self help books for writers/editing services under the body of the email. Bit tacky, but that's about it (at least no extra postage due like Maryn!) except I took them off the list for future endeavours.

Old Hack
03-12-2013, 06:41 PM
Carole Blake has been known to direct writers whose work she's rejected towards her book, From Pitch To Publication: her reason for doing so was to help the writers concerned.

I can understand why: such a high proportion of submissions are hopeless. They're not ready for publication, they're not appropriate for the agent, they're poorly put together. It would really help those who send such submissions if they were to read her book.

Is that tacky? Or is it a desire to help writers be better informed, and have a better chance of success?

S.P. van der Lee
03-12-2013, 06:41 PM
I am very shy when it comes to sending my manuscript or excerpts to an agent. I tried it a couple of times, some to Dutch, some to American Agents. But I was baffled when I sent it to an American Agency and they just didn't respond. At all. I find this incredibly rude, they didn't even give me a "no". :(

Mr Flibble
03-12-2013, 06:47 PM
Is that tacky? Or is it a desire to help writers be better informed, and have a better chance of success?

It could be both? Don't know. It feels a little tacky to me. 'I don't want your book, but here, buy mine!' I can see how the intention was good though. It just comes across a bit odd, to me anyway. (like those people on twitter who only ever tweet promo. Ugh.) Maybe better to have a link to it on the website? Or if you're going to link help, link to someone else's help?*

I've also had amazon links to an agent's clients' books tacked onto a rejection.


*ETA: I even had one of these 'buy my self help books!' on a request for a full....

Toothpaste
03-12-2013, 06:57 PM
I think it would be different if it was an agent linking to their free blog, but I agree, suggesting rejected authors purchase something of theirs, while it might totally come from a place of good intentions, does feel a little wrong. Profiting while others are being told you won't help them do the same? Stings, I think.

LillyPu
03-12-2013, 07:38 PM
Good intentions still don't keep it from being tacky. A friend told me, while pitching to an agent at a conference once, the agent had a stack of his own "how to pitch to an agent" book that he tried to pitch to the writer--even before the writer's 15 minutes were up. Tacky! :)

Torgo
03-12-2013, 07:42 PM
Carole Blake has been known to direct writers whose work she's rejected towards her book, From Pitch To Publication: her reason for doing so was to help the writers concerned.

I can understand why: such a high proportion of submissions are hopeless. They're not ready for publication, they're not appropriate for the agent, they're poorly put together. It would really help those who send such submissions if they were to read her book.

Is that tacky? Or is it a desire to help writers be better informed, and have a better chance of success?

Carole Blake is an excellent agent who earns her corn from selling books. She's not some shyster who earns it mainly from selling books about how to sell books; any more than Nicola Morgan is, to pluck another example.

My tackometer pings when I'm not seeing that the person in question has anything to offer besides advice with a price tag.

Toothpaste
03-12-2013, 08:08 PM
I totally respect that Carole Blake isn't trying to con anyone and probably makes the offer out of the goodness of her heart, out of a true desire to help. I still don't like it. How are new writers to know when the agent is doing it for sincere reasons or not? I think when one person has status over another it's best to be as careful as possible. From what I understand Ms. Blake has a highly popular blog and other ways to sell her book (isn't it already a go-to anyway?). She doesn't need to mention it in her rejection. The most I could say was if maybe under her signature she had a link to it. But no "you should consider buying my book".

It's too fine a line in my opinion.

Dreams For My Son
03-12-2013, 08:54 PM
Carole Blake has been known to direct writers whose work she's rejected towards her book, From Pitch To Publication: her reason for doing so was to help the writers concerned.

I can understand why: such a high proportion of submissions are hopeless. They're not ready for publication, they're not appropriate for the agent, they're poorly put together. It would really help those who send such submissions if they were to read her book.

Is that tacky? Or is it a desire to help writers be better informed, and have a better chance of success?
Did she send a free copy of her book with the rejection letters? If not, she should receive many 'F*** You' cards. There is no way to spin this. She is trying to sell her book. If she recommends a book or a guide that is not related to her in any way, it will be with a good intention. There are many things that I failed to understand in the world. One of them being, why agents volunteer to give an advice while rejecting representation. If you are not going to represent me, hold your advice. If you really want to give me an advice I did not ask for, you might as well work with me. It seems you like my work. Advise me to revise and submit.
The point is, do not send me a link to a guide unless you plan to work with me.

bearilou
03-12-2013, 09:20 PM
Is that tacky? Or is it a desire to help writers be better informed, and have a better chance of success?

I dunno but after some detective work online (and I'm already following her on twitter :hooray:), I think the chances of me buying her book if I got a rejection from her goes WAY up. Simply, I want my chances of getting picked up to increase and I think she would have some good things to say to help with that.

I'm all about getting a leg up when I can.

But even if I disagreed, I wouldn't send one Fuck You card to her (or anyone) for it. That's just damn rude, regardless of how tacky I might think it is. Also see: not shooting myself in the foot.

Phaeal
03-12-2013, 09:43 PM
I totally respect that Carole Blake isn't trying to con anyone and probably makes the offer out of the goodness of her heart, out of a true desire to help. I still don't like it. How are new writers to know when the agent is doing it for sincere reasons or not? I think when one person has status over another it's best to be as careful as possible. From what I understand Ms. Blake has a highly popular blog and other ways to sell her book (isn't it already a go-to anyway?). She doesn't need to mention it in her rejection. The most I could say was if maybe under her signature she had a link to it. But no "you should consider buying my book".

It's too fine a line in my opinion.


I agree. Promoting your own books in a rejection letter invites unhappy reactions. For every recipient who thinks "Wow, cool! She really cares!," I'd bet there are three or four who think, "Excuse me? Really? Really?" Or perhaps cruder words to that effect.

As others have said, if the rejector mentioned books he had no connection to, I'd be more inclined to view him as a philanthropist (philoscriptorist?) pure and simple.

I wouldn't risk it, but hey, that's my sensibility. I think I got one rejection like this, which I shrugged off. I have to save my "Fuck You" cards for bigger game. ;)

quicklime
03-12-2013, 10:28 PM
re: the "fuck you cards"....you aren't the first person and won't be the last:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=263311&page=2

you either learn to play with others, or you have to play with yourself :tongue


your first post starting this thread, you stuck your foot in your mouth, then folks helped you take it back out, but you seem almost hell-bent on getting it back in, ankle-deep.

Buffysquirrel
03-12-2013, 11:57 PM
Did she send a free copy of her book with the rejection letters? If not, she should receive many 'F*** You' cards. There is no way to spin this. She is trying to sell her book. If she recommends a book or a guide that is not related to her in any way, it will be with a good intention. There are many things that I failed to understand in the world. One of them being, why agents volunteer to give an advice while rejecting representation. If you are not going to represent me, hold your advice. If you really want to give me an advice I did not ask for, you might as well work with me. It seems you like my work. Advise me to revise and submit.
The point is, do not send me a link to a guide unless you plan to work with me.

And if an agent read this post and concluded you were rude and they didn't want to work with you...? Goose, gander.

Little Ming
03-13-2013, 12:16 AM
No one ever takes me up on my Fuck You offers.

:e2bummed:

Torgo
03-13-2013, 12:28 AM
I'm all for 'fuck you cards', as long as I get to send them too.

celiaboop
03-13-2013, 12:35 AM
I think of it this way: publishing is a business and like any other there are the seekers and the sought after. We seek the agent, the agent is sought after b/c they are the key to the big publisher. The thing is they are the middle-guy, just b/c we get their representation it doesn't mean they will sell our book.

mccardey
03-13-2013, 12:56 AM
Did she send a free copy of her book with the rejection letters? If not, she should receive many 'F*** You' cards. There is no way to spin this. She is trying to sell her book. If she recommends a book or a guide that is not related to her in any way, it will be with a good intention. There are many things that I failed to understand in the world. One of them being, why agents volunteer to give an advice while rejecting representation. If you are not going to represent me, hold your advice. If you really want to give me an advice I did not ask for, you might as well work with me. It seems you like my work. Advise me to revise and submit.
The point is, do not send me a link to a guide unless you plan to work with me.

I would guess that this is the attitude that has agents saying "What the hell - I'm sending out forms from now on.".

:(

Really not smart. Also - ungracious.

Katrina S. Forest
03-13-2013, 01:15 AM
There are many things that I failed to understand in the world. One of them being, why agents volunteer to give an advice while rejecting representation. If you are not going to represent me, hold your advice. If you really want to give me an advice I did not ask for, you might as well work with me. It seems you like my work. Advise me to revise and submit.

A revise and resubmit is not an offer of representation, though. It does, however, come with considerable advice on how to revise. If you really want agents to either offer or go away, then R&R's aren't part of the picture.

Personally, I'm quite grateful for the advice I've gotten from agents who ultimately turned down my work. My writing's better because of it. But if it makes you angry, by all means, don't submit to those people.

Honestly, I think writers are going to get mad no matter what the rejection says. A no is no and none of us want to hear no. We can either come up with reasons why this particular no was ruder than all other no's or we can toss it in the trash and get to sending the next submission.

Ken
03-13-2013, 01:16 AM
... when an agent rejects me I cuss them out.
They can't hear me so that's okay ;-)

Mutive
03-13-2013, 01:19 AM
Personally, I'm quite grateful for the advice I've gotten from agents who ultimately turned down my work. My writing's better because of it.


Agreed. I can't imagine being angry with an agent or editor for taking time out of his/her busy schedule to offer me ideas on how to improve.

(Not quite as fond of the idea of saying, "Buy my book!" though. It would come off as somewhat less like a cash grab for me if it was "read my (free) blog!" or "read one of the books my colleagues has written which I think is excellent!")

Katrina S. Forest
03-13-2013, 01:24 AM
Agreed. I can't imagine being angry with an agent or editor for taking time out of his/her busy schedule to offer me ideas on how to improve.

(Not quite as fond of the idea of saying, "Buy my book!" though. It would come off as somewhat less like a cash grab for me if it was "read my (free) blog!" or "read one of the books my colleagues has written which I think is excellent!")

I agree. I'm just not unfond of the idea enough to cross agents off my submission list or speak badly about them for doing it.

And yes, "unfond" is a word. The dictionary will tell you otherwise, but it is lying.

Satsya
03-13-2013, 01:28 AM
I would guess that this is the attitude that has agents saying "What the hell - I'm sending out forms from now on.".

:(


Or worse, "What the hell - I'm not responding just so I can get flamed.".

There are many times in life where you can't take things personally, and you've got to shrug off negatives. Querying agents is one of those times. For your own good, for the agent's good, and for the good of your fellow writers.

Little Ming
03-13-2013, 01:52 AM
... It would come off as somewhat less like a cash grab for me if it was "read my (free) blog!" or "read one of the books my colleagues has written which I think is excellent!")

And even that manages to piss off someone. (http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2011/05/very-perplexing-complaint.html)


I would guess that this is the attitude that has agents saying "What the hell - I'm sending out forms from now on.".



Or worse, "What the hell - I'm not responding just so I can get flamed.".


As much as I hate the "no response means no" approach, this thread just shows that no matter how polite, neutral, professional and/or helpful an agent tries to be, someone will be pissed off.

mccardey
03-13-2013, 01:56 AM
As much as I hate the "no response means no" approach, this thread just shows that no matter how polite, neutral, professional and/or helpful an agent tries to be, someone will be pissed off.

Re "no response means no" (forgive the following question - I'm a terrible techno-thickie) wouldn't it be fairly easy to set up an automated one-click we-got-it so that at least writers know the submission was received? Because I think I'd hate to send out a submission and never hear anything at all.

Or do agents already do that?

waylander
03-13-2013, 02:02 AM
Did she send a free copy of her book with the rejection letters? If not, she should receive many 'F*** You' cards. There is no way to spin this. She is trying to sell her book. If she recommends a book or a guide that is not related to her in any way, it will be with a good intention. There are many things that I failed to understand in the world. One of them being, why agents volunteer to give an advice while rejecting representation. If you are not going to represent me, hold your advice. If you really want to give me an advice I did not ask for, you might as well work with me. It seems you like my work. Advise me to revise and submit.
The point is, do not send me a link to a guide unless you plan to work with me.

You can't? Then you need to think harder about it.
They do this because every agent I've met cares about writers, that includes writers that they are not going to represent. They will steer you towards good advice pro bono.
If that is the attitude you take towards people who offer to help you, then I don't think I will be offering you any more advice.

JoyMC
03-13-2013, 02:25 AM
Re "no response means no" (forgive the following question - I'm a terrible techno-thickie) wouldn't it be fairly easy to set up an automated one-click we-got-it so that at least writers know the submission was received? Because I think I'd hate to send out a submission and never hear anything at all.

Or do agents already do that?

Janet Reid says it's easy and boldly states why her fellow agents who don't respond are wrong here (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-youre-wrong-and-heres-why.html).

Torgo
03-13-2013, 02:27 AM
Janet Reid says it's easy and boldly states why her fellow agents who don't respond are wrong here (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-youre-wrong-and-heres-why.html).

I think that's pretty hard to argue with.

Dreams For My Son
03-13-2013, 02:27 AM
You can't? Then you need to think harder about it.
They do this because every agent I've met cares about writers, that includes writers that they are not going to represent. They will steer you towards good advice pro bono.
If that is the attitude you take towards people who offer to help you, then I don't think I will be offering you any more advice.
Your are a better critic. :D There is another poster who fights with everyone and warning me of being banned.
Seriously, do you think an agent should send a link to her own book while rejecting your query? My translation of that rejection letter would be, "You suck at writing. Now, go buy my book!"

Disclaimer: I am not sending queries to agents, and not planning to. But if I do in the future and get a link to a book, The "Fuck You" card will be in the mail next day.

Satsya
03-13-2013, 02:30 AM
Re "no response means no" (forgive the following question - I'm a terrible techno-thickie) wouldn't it be fairly easy to set up an automated one-click we-got-it so that at least writers know the submission was received? Because I think I'd hate to send out a submission and never hear anything at all.

Or do agents already do that?

I've queried a few who do, but I think they all ended up responding anyway.

I've had several agents give me no response at all (they'll state on their agency's site that no response after [] weeks means rejection). Makes it hard for record-keeping if you're never sure whether they received your query (or, in one case for me, my full).

mccardey
03-13-2013, 02:31 AM
Janet Reid says it's easy and boldly states why her fellow agents who don't respond are wrong here (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-youre-wrong-and-heres-why.html).

Oh thank you :). Yes, that makes sense to me.

Mr Flibble
03-13-2013, 02:33 AM
Disclaimer: I am not sending queries to agents, and not planning to. But if I do in the future and get a link to a book, The "Fuck You" card will be in the mail next day.


What on earth for? Why waste your energy, leaving the agent relieved they never asked for material? Why have your name bandied about between agents (they do talk you know) as 'That fuck you fruitloop'? Why get your email addy added to the spam blacklist so when you have a new project to query, they won't ever see it?

Why cut off your nose to spite your face?

Revenge querying (send the next query out to the next agent as soon as you get an R) is much more productive use of time and energy, and you don't look like PIA to work with.

I mean, okay, I think it's a little tacky to promo their book on an R, but it's hardly cause for sending them a fuck you.

quicklime
03-13-2013, 02:41 AM
Disclaimer: I am not sending queries to agents, and not planning to. But if I do in the future and get a link to a book, The "Fuck You" card will be in the mail next day.



well, you can lead a horse to water, and all that...

*follows waylander out the door

Dreams For My Son
03-13-2013, 02:46 AM
What on earth for? Why waste your energy, leaving the agent relieved they never asked for material? Why have your name bandied about between agents (they do talk you know) as 'That fuck you fruitloop'? Why get your email addy added to the spam blacklist so when you have a new project to query, they won't ever see it?

Why cut off your nose to spite your face?

Revenge querying (send the next query out to the next agent as soon as you get an R) is much more productive use of time and energy, and you don't look like PIA to work with.

I mean, okay, I think it's a little tacky to promo their book on an R, but it's hardly cause for sending them a fuck you.
I never sent them one yet. I was thinking about it and found out that they suffer from grandiosity. I don't think I would have time for back-and-forth letters. Kudos to you guys, for your persistence.

Meems
03-13-2013, 03:16 AM
I never sent them one yet. I was thinking about it and found out that they suffer from grandiosity. I don't think I would have time for back-and-forth letters. Kudos to you guys, for your persistence.

How did you find out they suffer from grandiosity if you have yet to submit a single query letter to one?

I'm genuinely curious because I've seen many writers who are bitter about agents after having been rejected by them over and over, but you're the first writer I've come across to sneer at their "grandiosity" without actually having even sent a query letter yet.

Dreams For My Son
03-13-2013, 04:17 AM
How did you find out they suffer from grandiosity if you have yet to submit a single query letter to one?

I'm genuinely curious because I've seen many writers who are bitter about agents after having been rejected by them over and over, but you're the first writer I've come across to sneer at their "grandiosity" without actually having even sent a query letter yet.

Hello Meems,
I was considering the idea of sending queries. That was why I started reading blogs and twitter feeds, where some agents make fun of writers. I know some writers deserved the ridicule. But I don't think the agents should have acted as if they were holding writers' life switch.

LillyPu
03-13-2013, 04:33 AM
Janet Reid says it's easy and boldly states why her fellow agents who don't respond are wrong here (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2011/09/no-youre-wrong-and-heres-why.html).
Exactly what I was saying...

But trying to sell a book in a rejection? Bad business practice.

I don't know Carole Blake. I googled. Is her book "From Pitch to Publication" published in 1999? Or is there something newer? Because here's the description of that book (typos and all--Macmillan's fault probably, but still, can't she get those corrected?):


This is the insider's guide to getting published sucessfully. The secret to making money from your fiction writing is not only in the quality of your work but your approach to the publishing process: in this book an industry professional shows how to make the system work for you. Advice is here from almost the moment you pick up the pen - identifying the market for your work - to working constuctively with your author or agent, safeguarding your rights, negotiating and understanding contracts, and understanding how you book will actually be sold. "From Pitch to Publication" is the complete guide to presenting yourself effectively to publishers, and navigating the periods before and after publication for continuing success.

The sales pitch is so off-putting to me, and deceiving. I'm going to make money off my writing if I buy this book? Why would I need to know about safeguarding rights, or understanding contracts? That's an agent's job. This can't be the book she includes in rejections, it just can't be. And maybe she can give advice on writing queries, etc. but it will still be the manuscript that will win anyone over. That just can't be the book she's trying to sell in rejections. Because, even I might get a bit upset if it were. :)

Nah...

bearilou
03-13-2013, 04:44 AM
I was considering the idea of sending queries. That was why I started reading blogs and twitter feeds, where some agents make fun of writers.

Clearly I'm not seeing these agents who do this. Guess I have more discerning abilities to suss out those I would want to work with and follow those folks.


I know some writers deserved the ridicule.

But you just said...! ...nevermind....


But I don't think the agents should have acted as if they were holding writers' life switch.

Whether some act like it or not, they don't. They never have. You are certainly free to send your next query out to a different agent if you run up on one who does.

Everyone here is just saying why give yourself this grief when you can just let it go, because seriously, what is to be gained by being a jerk to them for some imagined personal slight? Send out to agents whom you feel are more suited to your temperament and let the rest go.

Something tells me, since you've admitted that you have no intention of doing it at all, that all this arm waving and hand flapping about ZOMG ROOD AGENTS is to justify why you don't want to, instead of just...oh, I don't know, just not send them out and move along.

But don't bother. Like waylander and quicklime, I'm also gone.

Good luck with whatever you do..

Amadan
03-13-2013, 04:54 AM
Hello Meems,
I was considering the idea of sending queries. That was why I started reading blogs and twitter feeds, where some agents make fun of writers. I know some writers deserved the ridicule. But I don't think the agents should have acted as if they were holding writers' life switch.


If your book is your "life switch," you need a better life.

Eltondiva
03-13-2013, 05:13 AM
Well all I can say is I have had rejections from notable agents, which included but was not restricted to muddy boot prints on my cover letter, along with the words "no thank you". I have even been addressed by "Mr" followed by my surname, or just my surname and where it was found appropriate a lengthy form rejection on learning to build my platform and getting on the New York Times bestseller list before submitting again would be considered. Hey I keep my head down, but I keep on swinging, that is perseverance for success.

Meems
03-13-2013, 05:45 AM
Hello Meems,
I was considering the idea of sending queries. That was why I started reading blogs and twitter feeds, where some agents make fun of writers. I know some writers deserved the ridicule. But I don't think the agents should have acted as if they were holding writers' life switch.

So the equation is: some agents mock writers, therefore all agents must mock writers. Some surgeons botch operations, therefore all surgeons should be avoided, etc. etc.

The bottom line is that agents aren't really losing anything by you not querying them. There's a huge supply and demand imbalance in this business, and it's almost all in their favor.

That's not to say that you're losing anything either. Maybe you don't want an agent. In fact, from the tone of a lot of your statements, you definitely don't want an agent, because you'd find out mighty quick that they won't deal with the attitude---not unless you've made them a trillion bucks, maybe not even then.

Stacia Kane
03-13-2013, 05:53 AM
Bolding mine:



Did she send a free copy of her book with the rejection letters? If not, she should receive many 'F*** You' cards. There is no way to spin this. She is trying to sell her book. If she recommends a book or a guide that is not related to her in any way, it will be with a good intention. There are many things that I failed to understand in the world. One of them being, why agents volunteer to give an advice while rejecting representation. If you are not going to represent me, hold your advice. If you really want to give me an advice I did not ask for, you might as well work with me. It seems you like my work. Advise me to revise and submit.
The point is, do not send me a link to a guide unless you plan to work with me.


Your are a better critic. :D There is another poster who fights with everyone and warning me of being banned.
Seriously, do you think an agent should send a link to her own book while rejecting your query? My translation of that rejection letter would be, "You suck at writing. Now, go buy my book!"

Disclaimer: I am not sending queries to agents, and not planning to. But if I do in the future and get a link to a book, The "Fuck You" card will be in the mail next day.


I never sent them one yet. I was thinking about it and found out that they suffer from grandiosity. I don't think I would have time for back-and-forth letters. Kudos to you guys, for your persistence.


..."Grandiosity" like declaring email signatures mentioning the titles of one's books, or mentioning resources that may be helpful to others, deserves "Fuck you" in response? Grandiosity like saying if someone isn't going to give you exactly what you want, then their thoughts and/or feedback and help aren't welcome and they should STFU? Grandiosity like saying you didn't ask for their stupid goddamn advice, only their actual agreement to represent you, so who the hell do they think they are taking time out of their day to offer you help most writers would love to get? Yes, how dare they try to help you! Don't they know that to you they are only worth one specific thing, and anything else is immaterial because it isn't exactly what you want exactly on your terms?

Grandiosity like saying you don't have time for back-and-forth letters but those stupid agents who obviously and clearly have nothing to do all day but read queries should have that kind of time, because what the hell else do they do? It's not like reading queries is a tiny part of their job and one for which they do not get paid, right? Grandiosity like seeming to think agents are not human beings who have a very specific, in-demand, and difficult-to-master skillset, but are instead serfs who should be jumping at the chance to serve you in whatever way you deem necessary?

What the heck do you want? You do know that if you sign with an agent, getting their advice and feedback is a HUGE part of the relationship, right?

You really need to stop thinking that anything about query rejections is personal, and you really need to accept that as a writer sending out queries you are not special. This is business. No one is going to come knocking on your door begging you to work with them.


I'm sorry to be so harsh, I really am, but I don't think you realize just how entitled and frankly unpleasant you sound from your posts here. I think it's very likely that in real life you are neither so aggressive, so nasty, or so obtuse as you're coming across in this thread, but the fact remains that you are coming across as all of those things, with an added dose of that "grandiosity" added in for good measure.

Seriously. Calm down. I'd love to know who those agents are you see making fun of writers all over the place, because I follow quite a few agents on Twitter and have never seen any of them make fun of writers. And, you know, stop following the agents you don't like. Find some you do. You're not obligated to query every single agent out there. (Or, perhaps, consider that you're misreading their tone, especially if my characterization above of your own tone seems off or incorrect to you; perhaps the problem is with your interpretation of and crafting of written language, and not with them or us. Especially as I am far from the only person reading you this way.)

I'm really not sure what you're looking for here; is it for people to blindly agree with you that agents are big old meanies who hate writers and should be kissing our asses and signing up anybody who deigns to query them, or is it people to rub your back and croon that it isn't that bad out there, or what?

We're happy to help you here. We want to help you learn about the industry, and write well, and craft a query, and all of those other things. It's why we're here. But you seem to just want to complain about people you have no experience of and a process you haven't actually experienced at all, and you seem to want to ignore everything the rest of us say in favor of making frankly rude and yes, grandiose statements about how the industry and everyone in it should change for your personal benefit.

Again, I'm sorry to be harsh here. It is an honest attempt to help and understand, not to insult.

LillyPu
03-13-2013, 06:08 AM
I dunno but after some detective work online, I think the chances of me buying her book if I got a rejection from her goes WAY up.

If you don't mind me asking, WHY? She's trying to sell you something that won't improve your writing. On a rejection no less.


Simply, I want my chances of getting picked up to increase and I think she would have some good things to say to help with that.
How will your chances of getting picked up increase? I think you'd get a better chance of getting picked up by an agent by improving your query through QLH (free), which is "a major" in getting your manuscript read by an agent. Your manuscript will speak for itself after that. How will her book improve your manuscript?

Is it really about helping the writer, or is it about selling a book? I think it's about an opportunity to sell a book. An opportunity piggy-backed on a rejection. To, sometimes, desperate writers. Does not bode well with me at all.

Sorry. I didn't even know this happened until I read it here.

AW Admin
03-13-2013, 06:15 AM
I'm locking this thread. There's absolutely no point allowing the OP to continue insulting professionals who work exceedingly hard.

Old Hack
03-13-2013, 11:39 AM
Thank you for stepping in, Lisa.

I'll leave this locked. But I want to say that Carole Blake is a friend of mine, and I am horrified by how some members have talked about her here.

In all the time I've known her I've never once heard her made fun of writers or try to take advantage of them. She is hugely professional and thoughtful, and very generous with her time, and I admire her hugely. She goes out of her way to help writers, giving up her weekends and evenings to speak at conferences and writers' groups for little or no return and her book is the best guide to publishing that I've read.

I regret having mentioned her at all, and when she reads this (which she will, I'm sure: Google Alert is a useful tool) I hope she'll accept my apology for having involved her in this negative and unpleasant discussion.