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TeddyG
10-11-2006, 01:11 PM
I assume this is the correct place for this as this is the place for agents etc. ...obviously Mods are welcome to move it or delete it as they see fit.

The following post I put up in my blog, Cobwebs Of The Mind (http://teddygross.blogspot.com/), today, but since it is really something that has to do with agents etc. I am putting it in here as well.
_______

As I recently mentioned in my post The "House" Effect (http://teddygross.blogspot.com/2006/10/house-effect.html) though Miss.Snark's blog (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/) is a bit too gruff and unkind at times for my tastes it is filled with a world of information. (One must simply glean out the pics of GC and let Miss Snark drool at times.) So while perusing this blog today I found a short entry discussing email queries with a link to yet another agent's blog, entitled Lit Soup and belonging to agent Jenny Rappaport (http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-query-response-time.html). I obviously do not know this agent from beans, (and I am sure after this post if she ever sees a query from me she will burn me in effigy.)

Anyway I am on my happy way and I click on Miss Snark's link. Personally, I happen to think email queries are the ONLY way to go, and I am always astounded at the fight against them that is being waged in the agent/publishing industry. However, that is a personal view though based upon where I live and not so much the "saving trees" aspect. When sending out queries, partials, ms. etc. authors who do not live in the USA, have some huge hurdles which I am not sure agents, editors and publishers fully appreciate. First off, if the agent demands normative mail (meaning they will not take the time to sign for a Fed-Ex package for a non-client), depending on the time of year and where you are in the world, an air mail letter can take anywhere between 4-20 days to get there. Four days is great, but twenty is a real long span of time. An ms. sized envelope can take 2-3 weeks as well. Okay, so you say time is time is time. Nothing one can do about that and that is why it is called snail-mail. Cool. BUT now let us discuss SASE's. Agents hate IRC's (International Rely Coupons) and for this reason most agents will not accept them. I don't blame them. I hate them too. I once, a few years back, had to purchase IRC's here in Jerusalem, which is a very modern city. In order to get IRC's I had to get to the Main Post Office and speak to one specific person (who of course was always out!) and then they had to make a special order for them. It was a royal and very expensive pain in the ***. All this because some agents refused to take email queries. On top of that, the SASE, even if it is used by the agent to say "No Thank You" after say 6 weeks, now spends another say 2 weeks (on a good day) in the mail. What in the US would be 2 days there, 6 weeks on the agents desk, 2 days back is now at best 2 weeks+6 weeks+2 weeks. Thus I find snail-mail queries annoying at best. But this is MY problem, not the problem of an agent.

To make this clear - all quotes below are posted as an entry on Jenny Rappaport's Blog (http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-query-response-time.html)...this was not a personal email to me. In other words this is a public blog entry.
You can read her post here. (http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-query-response-time.html)
So let us return to Jenny Rappaport entry on email queries. At first she takes us through a circular route of 2 email addresses (one preferred and one not preferred) where queries come in and are filtered straight into a folder. Then she tells us:
"This is one of the reasons that I don't like electronic queries because they can often get lost for several weeks before I decide that my poor electronic folder is too full and I really should deal with them."
Okay, so now I know if I want to send a query to Jenny Rappaport I do it by snail mail. That is kind of obvious. She is the agent, she prefers it this way, and that is that is that. It is her prerogative.

So I begin reading on how she handles snail queries. Email is kind of X'ed out so let us go to snail mail. Right? Logical?

Now Miss Rappaport tells us that she works from home. That is great. So do I and so do millions of other very successful people. But here comes the kicker She writes:.
"Occasionally, I'll misplace your query--this is not my fault. Or rather, it is the fault of my boyfriend, who decides that certain piles of stuff need to be moved around, etc, for whatever reason he is currently moving them. I love him dearly, but the boy does have flaws. You'll just have to deal with it, the same as I do, since my office is in my home."
Am I the only one that finds this a bit off? The attitude of a "professional" completely cavalier. Am I the only one that stops and says, WOAH. Wait a sec... Just what the hell is going on here? I spend hours and days on a query letter to get it just right; I want you as a perspective agent (after all you do list you accept queries); I decide I am willing to wait weeks and weeks and weeks to get my answer back; my hopes and dreams are in this letter which you solicit by saying you accept queries - and now I am at the mercy of your boyfriend and his desire to tidy up what you admit is a huge pile of queries?????????????????????

Miss Snark can go and on about how dumb we writers are. I wonder why she does not look at this entry in a blog of a fellow agent and say outright just how cavalier and rude such an attitude is.

Am I the only one offended by this? Are hopeful writers so cowered that they will accept any attitude, any method in which they are dealt with and spoken to? Are authors so devoid of the most elementary aspects of self-respect that they will put all that work at the mercy of a tidy boyfriend???????? We must be a very sorry lot of people to engender such a demeaning attitude.

I used to hear jokes about the agent not liking the ms. cause the agent had a fight with the spouse the day it was read. I always thought there was a bit of truth in that, cause we are all humans and our mood effects us. But to be told flat out that my work is at the mercy of a boyfriend, no matter how unimportant it is in the scheme of things, in such a manner by an agent who does solicit queries - and to be told it is not her fault!....now I have seen the ultimate Hutzpah!

Doesn't This Attitude Offend Anyone Else Out There?

Liam Jackson
10-11-2006, 02:02 PM
Teddy, I don't know if "offensive" is the first word that came to mind when I read the her response. My first take was that the e-mail was far too casual, or the sender was simply unprofessional, or maybe into the cups that evening. None of the impressions were favorable.

Having waded neck-deep through my share of bureaucrats from Fortune 100 outfits and high-powered U.S. guv'ment offices over the years, I've recognized a growing trend of informality.

Two decades ago such displays in correspondence were considered marks of the beast (purposely disdainful of professional decorum), a participant in far too many three-five martini lunches, or "the living dead" (a person on the verge of retirement or position abandonment.

You still see traditional, "proper" written correspondence etiquette demonstrated by most of the shaker and mover circles. However, even with the aforementioned group e-mails continue a slow evolution (or de-evolution) toward casual and informal. Even so, you seldom, if ever, see such informality between new acquaintances.

I asked a close acquaintence once why he treated new contacts like long-lost family. He replied that informal e-mails put people at ease and demonstrated his own self-confidence. Maybe he has a point. Maybe not.

Bear in mind I'm certainly not defending the trend. I think informality in business is earned over time by sharing common causes and goals and recognizing compatible personality traits that lend to strong business relationships. To begin communications with such an informal attitude is a sign that the other potential partner may not be as focused on the business at hand.

**Not implying that the latter is always the case. Individual mileage may vary.

*** "cavalier and rude" is a nice summary.

L M Ashton
10-11-2006, 02:04 PM
(In response to Teddy's post) Yes.

aruna
10-11-2006, 02:06 PM
Ditto.

Alien Enigma
10-11-2006, 02:06 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't allow a person who acts like "Miss Snark" to touch my manuscript. She doesn't use a real name, she insults people, and her blog isn't funny. I can't give her my stamp of approval. :)

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:11 PM
Folks:
1. This is NOT about Miss Snark's blog.
2. All QUOTES above are from a public entry on Jenny Rappaport's Blog - it was NOT an email to me....I found the post in the blog very disturbing and unprofessional.

KTC
10-11-2006, 02:11 PM
Sounds like piles are the issue here, at least with Rappaport. Writers shouldn't be expected to put all of their hopes and dreams into hopefully maybe landing in the right pile. This is where we use our option to shop around. Walk away from that agent and find one that is at least not blatantly disregarding of our dreams. I don't want to be on a pile that gets moved willy nilly by some chick's boyfriend.

JennaGlatzer
10-11-2006, 02:19 PM
Hi Teddy,

Thanks for accidentally kicking off the new board. ;)

I understand why you're put off by that quote. It doesn't bug me for the same reason, and not because I'm cowering down to agents, but because I always remember this fact:

Nobody asked me to write.

It was my decision to do it, and no one owes me anything-- not even a read.

I'd be totally put off if an agent had said the same thing about material she requested. Before that stage, however, I'm the salesperson in the relationship. I'm the one sending unsolicited material and asking her to take time away from her clients to read my stuff to determine if she can help me get it published. That's akin to people who send me advertisements in the mail, even if I said it was okay to send the advertisements.

So I take no personal offense to it. It's not up to her to care about how much work I put into the query letter-- she didn't ask me to write it. However, the main thing that would concern me about that quote is whether or not she's organized with her clients' work. Because of the casualness of the attitude shown there, you're right that I'd be a bit worried about whether that same attitude carries over to publisher submissions, client communication, etc. (And I know that if my husband began misplacing my work documents, I'd calmly tell him never to come into my office again.)

Nice thing about agent blogs, though, is that you can get an overall picture of the person and use it to determine whether that one quote was out of character or not. One agent I've worked with often makes some off-the-wall remarks that any living human would consider rude and tacky. (When he met me in person, after we'd worked together, he said something like, "Oh, you're pretty! I thought you'd be really mousy looking.") However, his sales speak for themselves. He's a great agent, despite his "quirks." If you had determined that this was an agent you really wanted, and you hadn't heard back in the stated time frame, it's easy enough to shoot off a follow-up e-mail to make sure the query was received.

Fahim
10-11-2006, 02:23 PM
Doesn't This Attitude Offend Anyone Else Out There?

To be honest, not really :) Agents are people too. Sure, I would like everybody in the world to be punctilious, courteous and prompt. But not everybody meets even one of those criteria - let alone all of it. So I take them as they are. Or, if I just can't bear to deal with them, I don't. (This is not meant to be offensive or as a criticism of your words Teddy) Being offended does nothing towards getting my book published and in the end, it's all a game of luck as anything else. If you consider, your letter might get stuck to the bottom of the bin and never get delivered, it might be delivered to the wrong address, it might fall through a crack and never be seen ... or it might be moved to the wrong pile by an errant boyfriend and not be seen immediately :) I submit from a foreign country as well and I feel your pain but I don't really worry about it. It will happen when it does, or maybe it won't ... what do I know?

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:28 PM
Jenna your points are totally taken, and I actually thought that would be the underlying assumption.

And yes no one asked anyone to write. But I do think a modicum, just a bare point, is to handle yourself with a professional attitude. Seeing that entry in her blog, made me wonder actually after all that is said about writers, authors etc. and how dumb we sometimes look - why anyone would allow such a person to deal with their work?

It disturbs me to be honest for a deeper reason. It seems to be somewhat of an ever-popular thought process? attitude? - that authors can be told anything and everything - no matter how demeaning it sounds - and they will accept it - because yes - no one told us to write.

Even if such a thing takes place in her house or office - even if it happens often - the fact that she publicly announced it - with such a cavalier and non-professional attitude - saying in essence "Tough luck folks. My BF is a neat freak and if he decides to rearrange my work - it is not my fault" - I can only wonder at the impression this woman makes on a publisher.

It comes from the attitude if you will excuse me for being totally blunt -
"I the agent am God. You, the authors, are the ants of the universe. If I choose to watch you - be happy. If I choose to step on you - that is my decision. BUT please remember that you should continue building your ant hills and showing them to me. Because without you, I wont be able to pay my bills."

Actually pisses me off to be honest....and I can only wonder how many other non-professional agents out there do the same.

If my agent, even TRIED to talk to me like that, I would tell her where to stick it so fast she would not see the truck coming.

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:30 PM
Fahim....
sheesh...critcize away....I can take it!
But what you are saying is....all types of peeps make up this world. I agree. But imagine you did send this chick your query cause you thought she was good, and six months later you find out her BF used it to scribble a note "Please Clean the House".

KTC
10-11-2006, 02:34 PM
Maybe what is wrong here is that she put it into words. Maybe other agents think the same way...but I think it was kind of a slap in the face to actually say it. "I may not even see your piece because my ditzy boyfriend may clear the clutter and make it disappear." Total lack of regard. We may be the salesperson...and granted I toss 100% of the sales crap that comes in through my door, I hang up the phone on solicitors and I slam the door on them if they're dumb enough to come to my house. But, you know why I do this...because I don't ask them to bring me their crap. Agents DO ASK US to submit. They cannot live without us. They need our sales pitches. They shouldn't admit publicly that they basically don't give a toss. I stick to what I said...if you don't like the cavalier attitude of such an agent...walk away, find one who doesn't publicly admit to being scatterbrained and at the will of her boyfriend.

L M Ashton
10-11-2006, 02:34 PM
Hey, I just got a rep point for my hat. How cool is that? And all because of this thread. :)

Fahim
10-11-2006, 02:35 PM
sheesh...critcize away....I can take it!

Actually, what I said was that I wasn't criticizing you, not that I was :p



But what you are saying is....all types of peeps make up this world. I agree. But imagine you did send this chick your query cause you thought she was good, and six months later you find out her BF used it to scribble a note "Please Clean the House".

Well, I'm aware of that eventuality when I send in a query to anybody. Heck, half the people I've queried have never responded to me at all after almost a year. So I know that some of it will be misplaced, some of it will be put off for later and forgotten and some will even be misused by a boyfriend. But that's the nature of the game. Why waste energy on getting angry about that? That energy can be better used to write or query elsewhere ... or something :)

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:39 PM
Hey, I just got a rep point for my hat. How cool is that? And all because of this thread. :)

Fahim...Quids needs some time alone me thinks :) ... she is gonna start a thread about hats soon...and then we will all be in trouble....:D

KTC
10-11-2006, 02:40 PM
But she does wear it well.

Fahim
10-11-2006, 02:43 PM
Fahim...Quids needs some time alone me thinks :) ... she is gonna start a thread about hats soon...and then we will all be in trouble....:D

Hey, hats aren't part of a writer's life (well, at least not directly)! So off to the Office Party dungeons with Quid :tongue

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:44 PM
Hey, hats aren't part of a writer's life (well, at least not directly)! So off to the Office Party dungeons with Quid :tongue

ears perk ... someone say "dungeons"?

L M Ashton
10-11-2006, 02:44 PM
Waaaaaaah! :cry:

JennaGlatzer
10-11-2006, 02:45 PM
Even if such a thing takes place in her house or office - even if it happens often - the fact that she publicly announced it - with such a cavalier and non-professional attitude - saying in essence "Tough luck folks. My BF is a neat freak and if he decides to rearrange my work - it is not my fault" - I can only wonder at the impression this woman makes on a publisher.

Yep. This is where I agree. And it goes with something Liam said upthread about the tendency toward informality in the workplace, in an in-your-face way. I don't like it. I think it's cool that people can work from home (I do it!), but that shouldn't mean that they get to conduct themselves less responsibly than if they were in an office.

I did a roundtable editor interview once where I asked them questions about what bugs them about writers, and a couple of them mentioned the un-office-like behavior they sometimes see. For example, if they're talking to you about an assignment, they don't want you saying that you have to get call waiting because your aunt is beeping in and can you call them back? They don't want you yelling at your kids in the background, or missing deadlines because of personal stuff that could have been planned around.

I feel the same way about people I work with. An agent working from home is OK with me, as long as I know I'm getting the same level of professionalism as I'd get from an agent working in-house at William Morris.

And that's where it's a two-way street-- the agent has to choose you, but you also have to choose the agent. Mutual decision. For me, that's primarily (but not entirely) based on track record. If this agent has a great track record selling books like mine, I'll know that publishers have no problem dealing with her, and that's my main concern.

Secondary to track record, for me, is personality. Do I like this person? Do I want to talk to this person every week or two? Do I feel respected? Do I feel like this agent understands what I want from my career?

L M Ashton
10-11-2006, 02:45 PM
I can't even say anything bad about Fahim anymore. Marriage or no, he could ban me. :cry:



(Nothing to see here, folks. It's just a joke, nothing more...)

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:50 PM
Do I feel like this agent understands what I want from my career?

That to me is the focal, central point of it all. Assuming professionalism, that is to my mind the MOST important question any author should ask and get answered.

KTC
10-11-2006, 02:51 PM
I turned down an agent last year because I didn't like her glasses. I don't even know if she had piles being moved by her boyfriend. I met her in a controlled environment with many people around. She dug my manuscript, but after talking it over with friends I just had to say no to her. They agreed...her glasses were hideous. What other bad choices would she make?


ETA: You might think I'm kidding, but I swear I'm not.

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 02:53 PM
Kevin .. there are times when you truly scare me :)

KTC
10-11-2006, 02:57 PM
I scare me, Teddy. I scare me very much. My happiness offends me.

L M Ashton
10-11-2006, 03:01 PM
There are times, Teddy, when you scare me. Like when you say that KTC scares you, yet you still manage to have a smile. :eek:

KTC
10-11-2006, 03:06 PM
Back on task. I understand what Jenna is saying about selling ourselves. It makes perfectly good sense not to be offended...just to see it as a character flaw maybe? Stuff like what this agent said could actually help the writer to separate the wheat from the chaff. It might be helpful that agents spew stuff like this. Should we just disregard such a character flaw and send our submissions to such agents? How desperate do we have to be to send something to somebody who claims that they just may lose it before looking at it? Then here we are sitting patiently for the however many months they state they may or may not get back to us. Then we contact them after waiting far beyond that date...just to be sure we don't insult them...only to hear back that they must have lost that one in the pile shuffle!

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 03:15 PM
Yep - Kevin, but still in the end as I said, the cavalier attitude does offend me, and makes me really question the professionalism here.
Jenna is right - look at sales, look at personality, ask the right questions, and in the end, do your best to make sure you are dealing with a professional.

aruna
10-11-2006, 03:18 PM
When I first read it I didn't get offended, but made a mental note to myself not to submit to that agent. As Teddy said, it's the attitude, which for me is part of the whole deal. It just seems disrespectful. Cavalier is the right word.

KTC
10-11-2006, 03:20 PM
Yes Teddy...but in this specific case, I think she's proven her lack of professionalism. (Of course I'm only making my decision based on this thread...I don't know her from Adam.)

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 03:22 PM
I posted the link to her blog....you all can make decisions for yourself...
As I said in my original post...I have no clue who she is except that she is an agent.

JennaGlatzer
10-11-2006, 03:23 PM
Maybe part of the idea of not being offended is just having the separation in your mind: your work has whatever value your work has, regardless of how an agent treats it. In other words, I'm egotistical enough to believe that my work is good, so if an agent doesn't see that or doesn't treat it that way, it's probably not going to affect me-- I didn't need the validation anyway. All I needed was to know if this person wants to be in a business relationship with me or not. She owes me nothing, I owe her nothing. If I send her something she likes, and if it turns out that I think we're a good match, maybe we'll make great music together. If not, no harm done. If she lets someone misplace my query, I'll just know inwardly that it's her loss. ;)

SJAB
10-11-2006, 03:40 PM
Professionalism I personally think is the key word, on both sides of the fence. You have to show you can do the job it's as simple as that, and often, what I would call a polite formal approach, earns you brownie points. Not the, "Hay Girlie!", which was the first line on a submission I saw when I was doing some slush reading for a magazine. Not the best opening when the editor-in-chief was male.

I read a lot of blogs, and one thing has struck me, how often are the comments made are "tongue in cheek", or an attempt at humour? Blogs are, are they not, a form of diary and perhaps people tend to forget that unlike diaries, blogs are public. It is easy to do, you are sitting in your own home/office posting away, and bam, a opinion/joke becomes the hot talking point on a forum. (Not saying this is the case this time)

Is it good or bad, I don't know. I only know that sometimes you find you are sidetracked into wading through a lot of half-baked opinions instead of looking at the business track record and the customers (authors) who deal with that business.

aadams73
10-11-2006, 03:41 PM
To answer Teddy's question, yes. It concerns me that if she is this negligent in the handling of queries, what else does she let slide in her job?

"Ooooh my dog pooped and my boyfriend used a contract to wipe its butt."

I would never seek her out as an agent purely based on this. She's just not nearly professional enough.

Viola
10-11-2006, 04:06 PM
This is a good topic. I've been reading some of the agent blogs and have been really surprised at the unprofessionalism on the agent side.

We hear over and over again that aspiring writers are psychotic jackas$es on power trips, but no one says anything about egocentric power tripping agents. Some of the blogging agents are clearly feeling their oats.

Some of them are disorganized. You accept equeries but publicly admit you don't read them???? What kind of message is that supposed to send to potential clients? The fact they're willing to say some of the stuff they do publicly tells me they don't really care what their audience thinks of them because we obviously don't count. Some agents, I think, equate their blog audiences with their slushpile, full of people who won't make the cut. Maybe that's true, but blogs have a wider audience than a slushpile and how do agents know who's reading?

Personally, I look at how people behave when they have no obligation to be honorable or efficient or professional. If you aren't honorable/organized/professional when you don't have to be, how can I count on you when you do???

All that said, I am grateful that agents blog. I just wish they would think a little more about how their words reflect on them and their agencies. When I read an agent's blog, I want to learn about publishing from someone who represents themselves as ethical, empathetic, and professional. If they have a stated policy, I want them to follow it, not tell me they don't do as they say!

Viola

aruna
10-11-2006, 04:14 PM
What kind of message is that supposed to send to potential clients? The fact they're willing to say some of the stuff they do publicly tells me they don't really care what their audience thinks of them because we obviously don't count.

Viola

I can't help thinking that this attitude effectively filters out the really good authors with really good manuscripts!

JustinThorne
10-11-2006, 04:22 PM
It doesn't bother me that the agent works from home, it doesn't bother me that she has a boyfriend and it doesn't bother me that she seems to be untidy.

The scenario could equally happen because a colleague, or the office cleaner often moves piles around the office.

I think she was trying to be clever, witty, cute or all three in the tone of voice of a blog writer.

It's the blog that worries me. If you're a professional and offering a professional service to clients, I prefer all communication to be in a professional tone of voice... Website, letters, emails all do a job and I want to feel, as the customer, that I am being taken seriously. Blogs are okay too, perhaps to talk about imminent releases, slushpile, cons, whatever but I don't want it to be too familiar... would you want a blog like that from a bank manager or an accountant? I wouldn't! Perhaps agents want to become celebrities and/or personalities in their own right? Is there anything wrong with that?

Hmmm... I think it would be interesting to have an anonymous blog, discussing subs and the funnier things that come across an agent's desk, but I would be put off submitting to a named agent who took it upon themselves to broadcast about their day in a chummy tone of voice... but that's just me.

I'm not offended though, just puzzled at the marketing strategy.

PattiTheWicked
10-11-2006, 04:22 PM
Maybe part of the idea of not being offended is just having the separation in your mind: your work has whatever value your work has, regardless of how an agent treats it. In other words, I'm egotistical enough to believe that my work is good, so if an agent doesn't see that or doesn't treat it that way, it's probably not going to affect me-- I didn't need the validation anyway.

I think this bears repeating. There are far more important things for me to be offended and insulted by than whether or not an agent keeps a messy desk.

Just like in any business relationship, the author and agent need to understand what they want from each other BEFORE they sign the contract.

A few folks said that they won't read Miss Snark's blog because she's rude and snippy. Yep, which is exactly why I do read her -- if I want someone to pat me on the head and tell me I'm fantastic, I'll join the poetry group at the local library. I want an agent who's honest -- and this is partly, I expect, due to the fact that I'm so open sometimes that it's painful -- and one who's going to tell me the truth when my work sucks.

I don't let the idea of an agent with a messy desk offend me as a person or diminish my own skills.

A couple of people have even said they would never submit an MS to Her Snarkness. But I bet you have :)

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 04:27 PM
Patti...I may or may not agree with you..
and I am not in any way doing any self-announcement here..
but I wrote exactly about that subject in a blog entry called the
The "House" Effect (http://teddygross.blogspot.com/2006/10/house-effect.html)
on my blog. You are welcome to read it if you like...

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 04:37 PM
I am seeing some who seem to want to dismiss this possibly as blog humor and joking. That would be okay...until you go to the comments for Ms. Rappaport's post and see that she was not being humorous or funny. She was speaking in total seriousness. Here is the post link with the comments. (http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-query-response-time.html)

Popeyesays
10-11-2006, 04:42 PM
I think that an individual who works at home has to take some responsibility for job performance.

I am disturbed about what Ms. Rappaport said because it strikes me that she is not taking responsibility for job performance (even if she's self-employed).

People CAN work from home responsibly. Especially if that person is self-employed. It's a matter of attitude.

I think a one person author can work from home responsibly, so can an agent . . . and so can an editor of a one horse press. There's no shame in being a one-horse anything if you do it as well as you can and prosper doing it.

Regards,
Scott

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 04:43 PM
It gets scarier Popeye...her blog says she is an agent with a reputable agent company...I wonder if they know about her work habits?

johnnysannie
10-11-2006, 04:46 PM
Doesn't This Attitude Offend Anyone Else Out There?


In a word, yes. It's not the messy desk or the cavalier attitude about the queries or submission but the unprofessionalism. I work at home, at times my desk may be messy, but I strive to be as professional as possible. And, it's my belief that an agent should also.

While unsolicited queries are not asked for, by being an agent and open to such submission, writers are allowed to submit.


I can't speak for others but my goal in seeking an agent is not validation but a business partnership, someone who will do something for me better than I could do it myself (or so we hope).

I agree that it's unprofessional and this would not be an agent that I would submit my work to for that reason. Although I read Miss Snark's blog on occasion, I do not find her very professional either.

aruna
10-11-2006, 04:46 PM
I think this bears repeating. There are far more important things for me to be offended and insulted by than whether or not an agent keeps a messy desk.



Patti, the thing is, as outsiders we have very little to go on when wondering which agents to query. At first they are all just names. Then we look up their websites and see what clients they have. Fine, they can get books sold. But an agent is also a human being and I want to know what he or she is like as a person. On another writers board I recently read a horrific story about an agent who had an affair with one of her clients, then when the client fired her, went on to mail various members of his family about the affair, inlcuding his wife. He is now in the middle of a very painful and nasty divorce. OK, he deserved what he got but turns out this (UK) agent is a bit of a nutcase. If he'd known that I'd doubt he;d have gone with her in the first place, and certainly never had the affair. OK< that;s an extreme case but I am actually desperate to know what an agent is like as a person, and when querying a particular agent I try to dig up all kinds of personal information about him/her. I want to know if we'll get along as humans.

I don't blame her for being disorganised with her queries. I am myself disorganised. In the last week I discovered I have lost a couple of royalty statements as well as one or two important letters from banks etc, an dall because I tend to shove papers into piles. Now, that is allowed me because as an "artist" it's expected that I'm scatterbrained and absent-minded, and when I'm rich and famous this will all be part of my writerly image;)!


But in fact I crave organisation and that's one of the things I expect in an agent. If she isn't (which I can easily forgive her because I know what it's like) I don't want to know it, and I certainly don't want her broadcasting it on a blog. It just seems doubly careless.
I did realise it's probably not as bad as she portrays it, that she's just using blogese, as Justin two posts above said. But it's one of the few things I have to go on when deciding which agent would be a good fit, and I automatically crossed her off my little list. She doesn't tale my genre anyway.

Liam Jackson
10-11-2006, 05:04 PM
Sorry, Teddy. I guess I wasn't very clear in my post. I knew the e-mail hadn't been sent to you. I was just expressing my overall impression and opinion regarding casual attitudes in business.

Sorry for any misunderstanding.

Cheers!

Cath
10-11-2006, 05:14 PM
I think it's natural to want the person representing you to have a professional manner, particularly in their negotiations on your behalf.

But I suspect that a lot of the agenting business is about personalities and connections; an agent who has a casual approach may be preferable to publishers who have the same attitude. I don't think it necessarily means they won't get the best deal for your submission.

And it doesn't bother me if an agent admits that things get thrown out by mistake sometimes. I know they do - I've done it myself.

Short answer is, if you don't like their attitude, don't submit to them.

L M Ashton
10-11-2006, 06:43 PM
Hey, I just got a rep point for my hat. How cool is that? And all because of this thread. :)And I got a few more. Cool! :)


As a side note, this hat is made in Sri Lanka from Sri Lankan water buffalo leather with imprints of elephants all over it. My sister got it for me and it's my writing hat. :)

Which, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with this thread.

(ETA: And it only cost Rs.450, or about $4.50 :))

[/derail]

veinglory
10-11-2006, 06:49 PM
I don't know, it didn't bother me. I saw it as beings a way to describe the fact that queries and manuscripts go missing. I have had top notch publications lose my submissions so thoroughly that they had no record I had submitted even though I had their acknowledgement of receipt letter. I don't doubt somebody moved a pile, or left in the car or dropped it onto the floor where the cleaner binned it, or etc. That's just the human part of the equation and even those who do not discuss it, do it. I don't think it's that she doesn't care, she just knows these things will happen from time to time and we need to realise that too.

WriterInChains
10-11-2006, 07:11 PM
Thanks Jenna, Patti, Cath & veinglory (sorry if I missed anyone): I was afraid I'd missed something a more experienced writer might've caught, because I wasn't offended. I have to admit, her humor and honesty in that post was very attractive to me. But, hers is one of many agent's blogs I read semi-regularly anyway. Trying to catch every bit of info I can. :)

aruna
10-11-2006, 07:19 PM
That's just the human part of the equation sand even those who do not discuss it, do it.

Yes, but disorganised as I am I at least like to keep the illusion that my query is going to be neatly filed and logged somewhere safe! TWO of me would be a disaster!;)

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 07:27 PM
It is not the fact that queries and ms. get lost...that is part of life.
it is not the fact that someone is disorganized...
it is not the fact that someone works from home...
and I certainly do not need Agents to entertain me with their stories of neat freak boyfriends...

it is simply and succintly put - that someone would put this out for the public to read....The ONLY reason she would do that...is that she thinks its funny and cute - (an incredible mark of immaturity...needs a playground not an office.) And it is equally distressing that the attitude it - well authors, stuff it if you dont like it. Of course we stuff it. Of course any sane, normative person would only think what this woman will say in a professional meeting with publishers.

You think this is humor? I dont get it. I am 100000000% positive that if this woman wrote any of you after you waited 4 months for an answer and said in an email...Oh I am sorry. My BF is a neat freak and he made order out of my desk and your query was used to clean the desktop...." you would and should be upset. And if you send her a query again...shame on you.

Where is the humor in all this? Why oh why, do we think when people make fun of others (and make no mistake the cavalier attitude of posting this in public is making fun of authors) that it is humorous or funny?

An agent puts up a blog. She solicits queries. She comments on dumb things author ask and say. Well, this had got to be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen any agent post in public.

And yes, it bothers me. I could not care less about her. But where the hell is your self-respect? Would you let your agent wipe his dog's tushy with your ms? I dont get it....

Maybe I am just too old, or perhaps think there is something to the qualities of kindness, honesty and professionalism. I just dont see this humor here. I see an inane, spoiled child making fun of people.

veinglory
10-11-2006, 07:31 PM
But it is not an email--it is a blog. I think context is important. I wouldn't want Miss Snark to snark at me personally, but her blog uses snark to make great points in an entertaining way. IMHO it is a large part of the blog format to be flippant and also IMHO most blog readers read on that understanding.

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 07:34 PM
That would be true if not for the comments afterwards.
The Blog, email, snail mail is NOT important IMHO.
It is the poking fun, in a very underhanded sort of way.
Read the comments - of authors then asking if she lost their stuff..
This was a serious post in her blog.

And quoting Miss Snark, though she is witty and funny, is not the same.
Most people have no clue who snark is. She is NOT soliciting queries.
J. R. is soliciting in her blog.
That is a huge difference.

veinglory
10-11-2006, 07:36 PM
I think that is seems to be a matter of personal perspective. I guess she must be alienating some people, maybe attracting others by being available online at all.

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 07:39 PM
I think that is seems to be a matter of personal perspective. I guess she must be alienating some people, maybe attracting others by being available online at all.

Veinglory - I totally agree.And dont get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for your opinions. I have seen your posts all over and make it a point of reading them in most threads. I just find this "new way of communication in doing business" (and this is a business)...very disturbing.

I thank God this woman is not an investment banker handling my money!

dobiwon
10-11-2006, 07:45 PM
When I read the blog, there was one phrase that shouted out to me:


Occasionally, I'll misplace your query--this is not my fault [my emphasis]. Or rather, it is the fault of my boyfriend

Maybe the intent was to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous, but it didn't come across that way. The fact is that in today's society it has become acceptable to disclaim responsibility for one's own actions. If she had worded it slightly differently, e.g., "Occasionally, I'll misplace your query--it happens and of course it's my fault, not yours.. Or rather, it is the fault of my boyfriend...", it probably wouldn't triggered this pet peeve of mine.

To remind myself how wrong this is, I have a print hanging in my office. It shows a sorrowful General Robert E. Lee on his horse watching his troops being defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg (US Civil War). The title is "It's all my fault". The story behind the picture is that Lee ordered his army to engage in battle, believing that he had a far superior force. He based his decision on information supplied to him by his officers and scouts, information that turned out to be drastically wrong. One of his aides pointed out that he made the right decision given the information supplied, and that it wasn't his fault. Obviously Lee disagreed; it was his responsibility to assure the accuracy of the information. It was his decision to engage in battle, and he accepted the responsibility for his actions.

soloset
10-11-2006, 08:13 PM
We hear over and over again that aspiring writers are psychotic jackas$es on power trips, but no one says anything about egocentric power tripping agents.

Where do we hear this?

I, for one, have never heard "that aspiring writers are psychotic" or anything similar from anyone reputable in publishing. Or, in fact, from anyone at all, outside of the people screaming that everyone in the industry says things like this.

But I hear frustrated writers say that they hear it all the time, so I'd like to know where, because I'm obviously missing out on some good blogs or posts or something, right?

MidnightMuse
10-11-2006, 08:15 PM
I read this when I was looking around Miss Snark's blog the other day, and I have to say it did bother me on a level, but I couldn't articulate what bothered me at first. I had shrugged it off, but then it started to eat at me, and reading this thread is making me think about it more.

I guess, basically, my first and foremost reaction was to shake my head and quietly add this to the list of reasons why I'll likely never get published. Not because agents are humans too, and not because this one works out of her house, isn't very organized or freely admits it in public.

It's more general than that, for me personally. As hopeful writers, we already know we're up against it. That we have a better chance of being bitten by a shark while lightning strikes and a toilet falls from the International space station to bonk it on the nose, than we do to get published.

We already feel like agents are steaming stamps off our SASE's and using our queries in their emergency response preparidness kits instead of 2-ply. We start out realizing our work is that proverbial needle in a haystack, and will most likely get stuck in the farmer's boot and never found and read.

So reading something like this, in the way in which it was delivered, just adds more poop to that pile.

On one level, sure -- it's funny. But there's more than one level, and maybe the way you take it it depends on which step you're standing on.

JustinThorne
10-11-2006, 08:19 PM
One thing to bear in mind, is that her post has stimulated its own discussion thread. Anyone seeking publicity would be thrilled, especially if there is balanced debate rather than ALL negative perceptions...

Good job, JR.

Dunno about you guys, but I didn't know she existed this morning, now I know her name, I have contributed to the discussion and I have even given her blog traffic!

aruna
10-11-2006, 08:23 PM
Where do we hear this?

I, for one, have never heard "that aspiring writers are psychotic" or anything similar from anyone reputable in publishing. Or, in fact, from anyone at all, outside of the people screaming that everyone in the industry says things like this.

But I hear frustrated writers say that they hear it all the time, so I'd like to know where, because I'm obviously missing out on some good blogs or posts or something, right?




Try This (http://www.gawker.com/news/unsolicited/unsolicited-some-gentle-advice-for-authors-205172.php) from Miss Snark's blog. (not her words, btw; she quotes from Gawker.)




...for everyone else, authors are a cross to bear somewhere between 'creepy messenger guy' and 'can't even afford a new coat from H&M" on the job-dissatisfaction scale. Because, with a few glowing exceptions, authors are the craziest, meanest, strangest, cluelessest people you've ever met.

Kate Thornton
10-11-2006, 09:00 PM
I think Jenny R's blog piece might have illustrated why she doesn't accept email queries, but it also gave me the impression that a query I might send her would not be treated with the professionalism and care that I imagine it deserves.

Maybe all agents operate this way. I don't know. I know I learn a lot from reading the agent blogs (and POD-dy Mouth and Evil Editor and all the others) but maybe they really do operate in a rude and cavalier way.

I take my job seriously - and I take my writing seriously. But at least I know what JR's system is like. I'm glad she told us.

Cath
10-11-2006, 09:15 PM
I think the point she was trying to make was that things get lost and people do make mistakes. Now, perhaps the way she said it offended some folks, but regardless, it's the truth. Even in an office environment things go missing. Heck, I used to work in healthcare, so when they disappeared it was a damn sight more important than it is here, but it used to happen.

I would much rather an agent was honest and admitted that these things happen that tried to pretend that they didn't. She sounds like a realist to me and that is something I admire in an agent.

I don't think she was saying that this happens all the time, which I would be concerned about.

Let's face it - queries are not the highest priority for an agent, their main responsibility is to their existing clients.

Christine N.
10-11-2006, 09:19 PM
I've queried Jenny (she's still with CMA??) and she replied in a timely manner. When I wanted an answer ASAP because of another offer on the book, she responded in a day.

If she's kvelling about her life, well, it's her blog and most people put their life and its problems on their blogs.

I'm behind on reading submissions, because my life really has gotten in the way. This week Anna Louise Genoese of Tor reports she's behind on seven projects because of an illness. What does this tell us?? Agents and editors are human beings. Sometimes I think writers forget.

I do expect a certain level of professionalism, but if Jenny's office was in an office, there would be piles there too, and some assistant would move them instead of her boyfriend. It happens. I'm kind of zen about the whole thing.

Miss Snark rocks. (of course, she once told me I'm a good writer and nice person, so I may be biased) But I love her, because she tells it like it is and doesn't try to sugar coat it. Jeff, you just don't like her because she bashes PA :) LOL.

MidnightMuse
10-11-2006, 09:22 PM
Well like I (sorta) said - it didn't so much offend me personally, but it did kinda make me shake my head and sigh, and remember why I keep my safety net handy.

Dollywagon
10-11-2006, 09:27 PM
Well, I haven't had time to read all the posts, so apologies if this has been said before, but if I had a boyfriend that messed with my work I'd break his fingers. Then again I don't have a boyfriend ... I can't think why:tongue

If the agent doesn't want to take queries, she can advertise to that effect. I don't think you can take the attitude that writers are not invited to. Simply by accepting queries, the agent is implying the invitation and by the same token the documents should be treated with respect.

I don't take myself seriously at all, but I do take my work very, very seriously and I expect those professionals at the other end to do the same.

Right, off now to join one of those on-line dating club thingies!

RG570
10-11-2006, 09:43 PM
This disinterested attitude seems quite common among the growing class of bourgeois middlemen.

If only these middlemen spent half as much effort at selling manuscripts as they did trying to make themselves cute on their "blog". . .A huge waste of time if there ever was one. And clearly it's not helping some of them very much.

soloset
10-11-2006, 09:44 PM
Try This (http://www.gawker.com/news/unsolicited/unsolicited-some-gentle-advice-for-authors-205172.php) from Miss Snark's blog. (not her words, btw; she quotes from Gawker.)




...for everyone else, authors are a cross to bear somewhere between 'creepy messenger guy' and 'can't even afford a new coat from H&M" on the job-dissatisfaction scale. Because, with a few glowing exceptions, authors are the craziest, meanest, strangest, cluelessest people you've ever met.

Setting aside the fact that the article is about established authors, not aspiring ones, and by an anonymous "editor", the context of that quote is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek discussion of some of the ways authors can rub the editors working with them the wrong way.

Not exactly a reputable industry professional saying in all seriousness that all aspiring writers are psychotic jerks. And I'd be annoyed by the kind of unprofessional behavior listed at the end of the article too.

But whatever. Still not lots of industry professionals saying "over and over" how crazy and awful aspiring writers are.

icerose
10-11-2006, 10:30 PM
When you read posts such as Talking back to Agents you can see where they form their opinions from. It's from authors doing exactly what they shouldn't in the worst sorts of ways. Same as the slush killer and that one site that talks about rejections. Look at how the authors respond to their rejections and the kinds of notes editors and agents have recieved and tell me their opinion is unfounded. I'm not excusing anything, simply stating they aren't pulling those feelings out of a hat. Aspiring and established authors have given good reason for them to feel that way.

With that said, I would love someone like Miss Snark to represent me, (well actually my first choice would be Jenny Bent) as for the above agent, I probably would not query her, but that would all depend on how she handles business once the contract is signed.

TeddyG
10-11-2006, 10:35 PM
as for the above agent, I probably would not query her, but that would all depend on how she handles business once the contract is signed.

Once the contract is signed...it is a bit too late to hope she is going to be professional, isnt it?

If I wrote an agent and said:

Hey Chick...
Read my work

then she would never read something I wrote her right?

Or how about:
Look I want you to represent a short story anthology of mine. Go read it on line cause the dog peed on my papers and my gf threw em out...

Please....
If they have a blog use it to make a decision. You want Snark cause you like the way she talks and thinks she is realistic.

Cool...

Would you want JR whose BF may answer the phone and make sure the sticky message from the publisher who wants your book goes on the fridge for her to see - but you see she is messy....it isnt her fault the dog ate it..is it?

I honestly sometimes cant get over the stuff I see...

C.bronco
10-11-2006, 10:51 PM
I'm not Rappaport (I had to say that), but no matter what industry I am working in, I would never admit to being so disorganized or losing work related documents in my messy house, particularly on a website which could potentially be a good marketing tool!

icerose
10-11-2006, 11:37 PM
Would you want JR whose BF may answer the phone and make sure the sticky message from the publisher who wants your book goes on the fridge for her to see - but you see she is messy....it isnt her fault the dog ate it..is it?

I honestly sometimes cant get over the stuff I see...

I said in my reply that I would most likely NOT query her. She didn't come across as a well put together agent so no, I wouldn't want her representing my work.

And when she said it wasn't her fault, that's what got to me more than anything else. It was in her care, her responsibility, no one elses. I don't deal well with people balking from personal responsibility, unless say, her house burnt down with everything in it, then yeah, I would concede she had nothing to do with that. But if he has a habit of doing that, and she knows it, it then becomes her fault. And thus why I would never query her.

TwentyFour
10-12-2006, 12:00 AM
It seems nowadays there are publishers/editors/and writers working from home. Some do it well, others are totally falling on their faces...takes some work to weed them out.

priceless1
10-12-2006, 01:02 AM
Agents and editors are human beings. Sometimes I think writers forget...if Jenny's office was in an office, there would be piles there too, and some assistant would move them instead of her boyfriend.
What bothers me about this whole thing is her flippant attitude. She's basically saying, "I don't care. The BF moved my stuff and you lost out. Tough luck." Is this a wise thing to communicate to anyone who reads her blog? Look, we all have piles that are reaching for the clouds, but since when did civility have to take a nose dive? Does it kill any brain cells or make the day go faster not to briefly remember that there's a person on the other side of that submission?

Viola
10-12-2006, 03:53 AM
Setting aside the fact that the article is about established authors, not aspiring ones, and by an anonymous "editor", the context of that quote is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek discussion of some of the ways authors can rub the editors working with them the wrong way.

Not exactly a reputable industry professional saying in all seriousness that all aspiring writers are psychotic jerks. And I'd be annoyed by the kind of unprofessional behavior listed at the end of the article too.

But whatever. Still not lots of industry professionals saying "over and over" how crazy and awful aspiring writers are.

Umm, I've been to alot of conferences, met a lot of agents and editors and know a lot of authors. Not to mention I've seen some of the less than stellar behavior up close and personal (from all parties, aspiring and pros). I'm shocked that someone hasn't heard this. It's a pretty standard refrain.

I actually met an editor who had a manuscript shoved under her bathroom stall door. That's a pretty high profile story. You haven't heard that? Then there are the authors who corner pros and give lenthy pitches. Aspriing writers in the throes of egomania, who, when they're called on to ask a question of the panel, they talk about themselves instead-- in a neverending and very uncomfortable monologue. The newly retired with delusions of bestsellerdom, believing with age comes success in the absence of any practical business or craft knowledge. I also remember one (younger) writer who spilled out of her shirt every time she leaned over, and she made sure to bend over in front of as many pros as she could find. Writers who ask guest editors or agents if they should double space their manuscripts...twice in a row as if they've never heard of the internet or research. I could go on...

Over and over and over again agents and editors stress that writers must be professional to succeed. Then they turn around and do the opposite.

Give the agent a break everyone says. Sure. I'm cool with that. I don't think anybody here is saying agents must be perfect, must never screw up, what we're saying is we want them to be professional, just as they want us to be professional. What we're saying is, we judge them on how they present themselves same as they judge us. If you're happy with what you see, fine. But, for me, it's a red flag if someone isn't organized or appears to say one thing, but do another. (And I'm not just talking about JR here.)

Plus, agents are forever. Even if you move on to another agent, the books you sold with the first stay with them. I just got back from a conference where the pro authors explicitly and emphatically stated that we should not settle for any agent, that we must be very careful who we do business with precisely because of this issue.

So, yeah, I do evaluate agents based on statements they make in public and the impressions those statements leave. They do the same to me.

And if you haven't met any cuckoo writers yet, you should count yourself lucky.

Viola

Cath
10-12-2006, 06:18 AM
Jenny Rappaport has posted a response to some of the criticisms:

http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/art-of-requerying.html

Scarlett_156
10-12-2006, 08:21 AM
Most blogs are boring and I don't read them. If a literary agent I wanted to work for me had a public blog I would likely make a POINT of not reading it because I would not want to know those things about a person I was trying to have a business relationship with. I mean, if he/she suggested that I read his blog and comment on it I probably would, but that is the only circumstance I can think of in which I would want to do such a thing.

It's kind of the same as when you have a romantic intent towards someone, and then accidentally overhear a phone conversation they are having with an ex, in which a more seedy side of their personality is revealed. Do you really want to know these things? (I never do.) Do you NEED to know these things? There's always a possibility that this type of intelligence may keep one from making a tragic error-- but the possibility that it will simply throw things into a destructive state of confusion that does no one any good is infinitely greater.

TeddyG
10-12-2006, 09:30 AM
Jenny Rappaport has posted a response to some of the criticisms:

http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/art-of-requerying.html

Bullsh!t reply...
nope sorry Cath...as much as I truly respect your opinion (and you damn well know I do...) this lady just dont cut it...
she is a child, who plays in the big leagues, and needs a playground for a few more years...

Like I said before...and I repeat..

You would not let a person like this be your investment banker playing with your money...why the hell would you let a person like this be your literary agent and play with your life and dreams?

aruna
10-12-2006, 10:12 AM
Setting aside the fact that the article is about established authors, not aspiring ones, and by an anonymous "editor", the context of that quote is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek discussion of some of the ways authors can rub the editors working with them the wrong way.

.
But I;d have thought that established authors would be better behaved than aspiring ones, wouldn't you? Above the hoi polloi? OK, granted it's tongue in cheek but the author did say that MOST authors are like that, the exceptions very rare.

I haven't read JR's reponse yet. But I do want to add one thing: some time ago, Miss Snark derided those auhtors who let it all hang out on their blogs. She said if you want to be taken seriously you just don't say those things in public. I agree; but the same is valid for agents. I don't care a hoot how my agent behaves in privae, as long as she is professional with my business. I just don't want to read about it.

Birol
10-12-2006, 10:26 AM
But it is not an email--it is a blog. I think context is important. I wouldn't want Miss Snark to snark at me personally, but her blog uses snark to make great points in an entertaining way. IMHO it is a large part of the blog format to be flippant and also IMHO most blog readers read on that understanding.

During AW's Dark Days, I had a very brief e-mail exchange with Miss Snark through the Miss Snark e-mail addy. I do not know who she is and did not try to find out, but she was polite, understanding, friendly, and came across as generally a nice person.

Cath
10-12-2006, 04:31 PM
Bullsh!t reply...
nope sorry Cath...as much as I truly respect your opinion (and you damn well know I do...) this lady just dont cut it...
she is a child, who plays in the big leagues, and needs a playground for a few more years...

Like I said before...and I repeat..

You would not let a person like this be your investment banker playing with your money...why the hell would you let a person like this be your literary agent and play with your life and dreams?

Didn't say it was a good reply, did I?

JustinThorne
10-12-2006, 05:00 PM
Don't take this the wrong way, TeddyG, it's not a critiscism, just an observation.

In your other posts, many of them, you've shown yourself to be a deeply emotive individual (not emotional or irrational I hasten to add), someone who writes out of a genuine desire to make the reader open their hearts, you want to change their perspective, you want them to feel something, to connect and look at things differently and even make life changes. This is a pov I admire greatly.

However, it also shows how passionate you are about your craft and how you value your contribution to the craft itself... does it not evidence why something like this can be so offensive to you? It's a symptom of your very belief and self-actualization system?

That's not to say that the other writers here are less passionate about their own work, but it may explain why someone will simply shrug and see it as unprofessional and avoid the agent in question, where as you are downright offended?

I hope that makes sense and doesn't come across as dismissive or as an insult because that is not my intention. As I said, your view, the way I perceive it, is an admirable one and one the world could do more with!

jT

TeddyG
10-12-2006, 05:29 PM
JT...
actually perfect observation....
absolutely perfect...
I do use words or try to at least (and often fail dismally) to make readers FEEL.
Yes in this case, someone made a stupid mistake IMO on a blog. Big Deal! Big Sh!t! Hell we all make mistakes...

The emotion here comes from something else though..something I percieve though I cannot prove...

I must assume that the blog entry made was done with some forethought. Thus I must ask myself a question....Is the blogger so removed from reality not to realize what she is really saying? I tend to doubt it.

I rather believe it is the fact that she knows she is in a position of power. Just look at the comments to her posts. Would-be-writers falling over themselves just to get her to look at their queries. Actually the comments disgust me more than the original post itself in many ways.

I see here a few things. A lack of any sort of feeling - the God syndrome I call it. A lack of willingness and even pride at not taking responsiblity - and knowing full well she is going to get away with it. I know I should never expect this...but I see a lack of pathos for others.

What bothers me the most I guess, is that in any other area of life, if someone announced such a fact in public (and that I have said is my problem here..not that it happens cause it does to all of us) and does it in such a cavalier, puerile and immature manner, any sane person would say "Go screw yourself"
BUT since agents as a group and certainly in particular are people we so do not want to piss off, we are willing to accept almost anything.

If you flipped this and put this scenario somehow in terms of a writer saying it, (which can be done and JR did in her answer on her blog), Miss Snark would jump on it so fast as one of the stupidest author comments she ever saw.

Yep, I am emotive. Yep injustice and stupidity drives me crazy. Yep I want to try and make people FEEL again. And yes maybe I do not want people to change their thoughts but I certainly want to make them THINK.

So yes you are 100% correct and I am certainly not offended. Maybe I am nuts (Perks calls me brain damaged) but I see what you wrote as a supreme compliment.

And I thank you!

JustinThorne
10-12-2006, 05:35 PM
Happy days... it is as it was intended.

The only contradiction in your perception of her, is perhaps when you say that on one hand, she suffers from God Complex but on the other, that she would do something as inane as a blog entry with any forethought. I honestly think someone who believes they are witty and clever enough to pull of a blog such as her premise (not the execution)... gives little thought to her posts... she is after all, God!

TeddyG
10-12-2006, 05:36 PM
Touche!

JustinThorne
10-12-2006, 05:37 PM
Great! So what are we fixing next?

TeddyG
10-12-2006, 05:39 PM
that is a damn good question
but on AW I always wait...knowing I will always be surprised during the day..and end up shaking my head in disbelief at some post or another...
the day is young...give it time...
:D

JustinThorne
10-12-2006, 05:42 PM
I'll see what I can do ;-)

I've used up my quota of 'logical and/or nice' in one go up there!

Tsu Dho Nimh
10-12-2006, 07:33 PM
Exaggerating for humor and effect, and exaggerating when venting are common among bloggers.

clara bow
10-14-2006, 02:54 AM
JR’s boyfriend also helps her mail manuscripts being returned. What if he has a neat freak attack on the way and misplaces those, too?

Kidding!!!

Her post and this thread totally set that up, so it’s not my fault. Actually, this is all my husband’s fault…no, wait….

fathoms
10-14-2006, 10:10 AM
Okay Teddy, I get it. But I just have to ask a question, and I wonder why nobody's asked it yet.

I've had plenty of experience in the querying and submitting game, and I've had just about every response you can imagine. I've used both e-mail and snail-mail, and I've encountered everyone from the most pathetic scammers to the most elite agents in the business. Now, after reading the initial blog entry you're complaining about here, and then your response, I must say I'm a touch confused...

Do you have any idea how many times I got a rejection in the mail literally 6-8 months after the initial query? Do you know how many dismissive and utterly rude rejections I received from both partials and fulls? (Yes, I realize I'm painting a less-than-flattering picture of myself, here) God only knows what happened with each of these. I'm positive my queries have been misplaced, and I'm pretty damn certain my materials were handled by less-than-qualified individuals...some of them looked like the register biscuit down at the Gap packed my manuscript and returned it. I've gotten mixed signals; one day the agent says she wants an e-mail query, the next, my query goes unread because that wasn't the "policy" of the agency. I guarantee my work has been ignored, lost, and in general, treated like crap without ever getting any consideration.

I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one. The agent could've used the mail kid hopped up on speed and on his fifth job in three months to return my manuscript. The cleaning lady may have misplaced the manuscript. The "immature, puerile, and cavalier" have all occurred with my work, from the WORST agents to the BEST agents. It happens. So exactly how is this any different than what I read in JR's blog entry? Just because she flat-out says what might happen with my query or submission means she's somehow worse than the agents who don't tell us? What exactly is the difference, here?

It's like you knew the contents of that Big Mac were bad for you, but you had no problem with it until McDonalds stuck an ingredient list in front of your nose.

Irysangel
10-14-2006, 08:51 PM
I just have to wonder...

If the blogger in question was:

A) Russell Galen
B) Ethan Ellenberg
C) Jenny Bent
D) Miss Snark
E) Any of the above

Would people be freaking out as much? Or is it because of who it is, rather than what she's saying? Because she doesn't have a massive track record, does that make her more villainous than someone with a 'superstar' track record?

FWIW, I have a friend that is repped by this agent, and she absolutely *adores* Jenny. She's responsive, friendly, editors like her, and she's getting results for my friend.

I have *another* friend that has an agent with a huge track record and the agent won't return emails and doesn't sub the book he/she has with him.

So let's think about this. If it was Russell Galen that came on the net and said, "You know, I'm a bit of a slob and sometimes stuff gets misplaced." Would we all care? Wouldn't aspiring fantasy authors put him first on their query list anyhow? Heck, I know I queried him right off the bat, even if his webpage and his answer to queries ('only if I'm interested') come across as personally offensive.

I would just invite everyone to take a quick step back. This agent might not necessarily be right for you, but does it mean they should be blasted on a public forum?

icerose
10-14-2006, 09:24 PM
I think the lashback is mostly from a "Need to know". We don't need to know that our work is being treated as such. We often suspect but we really don't need to know and the biggest thing was her saying it wasn't her fault. Even if I didn't have anything directly to do with a mishap, if it is in my care I take responsibility and I would venture that is where the anger comes from.

TeddyG
10-15-2006, 12:06 AM
For the sake of intellectual honesty here, I will assume Fathoms who has only one post on this board, was "moved" to say something here, and is not someone who made a beehive from JR's post on her blog answering this thread (in which she contradicted everything she said before) and thus not one of her clients or fans who has only arrived here for defense. In any case I welcome you to AW and highly recommend the AW forum.

I am not angered or angry. I am disgusted. There is a big big difference. More so after reading the comments from people on the blog who will say almost anything to get noticed by an agent.

Sure agents forget things and loose things. Someone who was my agent for four years, and I am good friends with, always used to say..."oops I thought I answered your email"..when I would gently nudge her for an answer. They are people - they forget. But I never had an agent nor any other professional say in such a manner that their BF misplaced something so it is not their fault. Please. What planet of professionalism do you live on? Where is the professional ethic here?

And if you are going to quote me please quote the whole statement:


What bothers me the most I guess, is that in any other area of life, if someone announced such a fact in public (and that I have said is my problem here..not that it happens cause it does to all of us) and does it in such a cavalier, puerile and immature manner, any sane person would say "Go screw yourself"
BUT since agents as a group and certainly in particular are people we so do not want to piss off, we are willing to accept almost anything.

I do not understand why this does not sink in so for the third time I repeat it:

Would you let someone who used that excuse be your investment banker?
Why would you let someone who says those things play with your life and dreams?

As to IrysAngel. The answer to you is so simple I have no idea why it must be stated. It is because not one of the agents you mentioned would ever think of posting something like that on their blog. And Miss Snark is an agent but you cannot compare that blog to a "real" agents blog as no one has an idea who Miss Snark really is. So comments on her blog are indeed protected by anonymity - which is her prerogative. You better believe if Snark was using her own name and her agency's name on that blog - she would not be saying 90% of things she can say by using her Snark persona.

I wish JR only the best and greatest luck in becoming an incredibly successful agent. I say that with all sincerity. I really wish this for her and her clients as well. Life has taught me never to wish ill-will on anyone. She posted again and explained herself. Thus let it be up to her clients and her own professional attitude from now on.

Perhaps, if this thread has accomplished anything, it will teach all of us, that comments made by professionals on Blogs should not be done in a flippant manner. Some thought should go into the process and certainly one should resist the urge to be cute when it is clear even from this thread that many many people did see that remark as being indictive of a possibly larger problem.

Momento Mori
10-15-2006, 03:39 AM
Would you let someone who used that excuse be your investment banker?
Why would you let someone who says those things play with your life and dreams?

My apologies if I'm missing your point here, but I don't think your analogy quite works. Investment bankers take your money, which they use to make more money. Therefore, if my investment banker came to me and said: "MM - you're not going to believe this, but my boyfriend moved that large stack of 50 pound notes you gave me last week and ... Well gosh darn if I can't find them again" then I would more than likely be a little upset and I probably would fee that they'd played with my life and dreams because there's an awful lot you can do with a stack of 50 quid notes :).

By contrast, an agent isn't (or shouldn't be) taking your money. They're taking your manuscript, which the two of you hope and believe can be turned into money. To be fait, I totally understand what you're saying and I admit that if an agent I hoped would represent me said they'd lost my manuscript, then I wouldn't be impressed. I would also have to decide whether I had enough faith in the agent to resend them my work. However, I wouldn't feel that my hopes and dreams were being played with because my manuscript is not the sum total of my life and dreams (and to be honest, I don't think that it ever should be). Not having it looked at straight away just puts back the timetable a bit.

I can see that I'm in something of a minority here, but I like reading agent's and editor's personal blogs because they let me put a character to the name. In fact, I'd rather get a flavour early on as to whether an agent's someone I could work with and like, rather than find out too late in the day. I don't view it as being unprofessional because it's a take it or leave it situation.

I hope none of this offends anyone (I know that my low post count makes me look suspicious). I can see where people are coming from here, I just disagree.

KTC
10-15-2006, 03:56 AM
Hello Tedster!

KTC
10-15-2006, 04:01 AM
I think she was trying to be clever, witty, cute or all three in the tone of voice of a blog writer.

Maybe this statement captures everything. Jenna was right when she said that it was simply unprofessional. You are right when you say that the agent was trying to possibly appear witty. Whether we choose to be offended or merely walk away...I guess that's up to the individual. Agents know what position they are in, though. To be blatant about their place in the game is insulting to me. Such is life. I would simply not submit to this agent. I'm better than a pile in her clever and witty life.

Rolling Thunder
10-15-2006, 04:08 AM
Did she pull that post from her blog?

KTC
10-15-2006, 04:58 AM
Nope. It's still there. http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2006/10/my-query-response-time.html right at the bottom of this blogpost.

Rolling Thunder
10-15-2006, 05:02 AM
I keep seeing a 'timeout/partial webpage error' when I pull up that site.

SC Harrison
10-15-2006, 05:42 AM
*Warning* While I do have a few queries out to mags for short stories, I have yet to even contemplate querying an agent, so the following is just me yakking about something I know little about.

If given the choice of being repped by an organized and methodic agent or one who has the instinct to match a manuscript to a publisher and the tenacity to make the sale, I will pick the latter every time.

Think about it, people. Think about your coworkers. When someone visits your workplace, aren't there a few very tidy folks who appear to have their s#!t together, and the visitor probably assumes they "get things done", but how many of these anal retentive desk-straighteners are vigorous and effective multi-taskers?

This is not to say that, when I do get to that point, I will go shopping for a messy agent, but I've read numerous accounts of writers who have been very happy with their thoughtful and organized agent for some time now...

fathoms
10-15-2006, 08:38 AM
For the sake of intellectual honesty here, I will assume Fathoms who has only one post on this board, was "moved" to say something here, and is not someone who made a beehive from JR's post on her blog answering this thread (in which she contradicted everything she said before) and thus not one of her clients or fans who has only arrived here for defense. In any case I welcome you to AW and highly recommend the AW forum.

I am not angered or angry. I am disgusted. There is a big big difference. More so after reading the comments from people on the blog who will say almost anything to get noticed by an agent.

Sure agents forget things and loose things. Someone who was my agent for four years, and I am good friends with, always used to say..."oops I thought I answered your email"..when I would gently nudge her for an answer. They are people - they forget. But I never had an agent nor any other professional say in such a manner that their BF misplaced something so it is not their fault. Please. What planet of professionalism do you live on? Where is the professional ethic here?

And if you are going to quote me please quote the whole statement:


I do not understand why this does not sink in so for the third time I repeat it:

Would you let someone who used that excuse be your investment banker?
Why would you let someone who says those things play with your life and dreams?

As to IrysAngel. The answer to you is so simple I have no idea why it must be stated. It is because not one of the agents you mentioned would ever think of posting something like that on their blog. And Miss Snark is an agent but you cannot compare that blog to a "real" agents blog as no one has an idea who Miss Snark really is. So comments on her blog are indeed protected by anonymity - which is her prerogative. You better believe if Snark was using her own name and her agency's name on that blog - she would not be saying 90% of things she can say by using her Snark persona.

I wish JR only the best and greatest luck in becoming an incredibly successful agent. I say that with all sincerity. I really wish this for her and her clients as well. Life has taught me never to wish ill-will on anyone. She posted again and explained herself. Thus let it be up to her clients and her own professional attitude from now on.

Perhaps, if this thread has accomplished anything, it will teach all of us, that comments made by professionals on Blogs should not be done in a flippant manner. Some thought should go into the process and certainly one should resist the urge to be cute when it is clear even from this thread that many many people did see that remark as being indictive of a possibly larger problem.

Teddy, it's a bizarre world we live in. It really is. But I abide by the rules of logic and practicality as often as possible, because in all honesty, anything else tends to be a lot of words with no real meaning. Therefore, logically speaking, you are making an obvservation, and then reacting to those observations. But in the realm of LOGIC, we have to look at every situation equally.

You mentioned an agent/friend who would say, "oops, I thought I answered your e-mail." You're assuming, of course, that she really did forget. This must also imply that all agents mean exactly that when they say, "I thought I answered your e-mail." Chances are, they didn't "forget," they may have just ignored it. "Oops, I misplaced the manuscript" can be exactly the same thing as "Oops, my boyfriend moved the manuscript." You just choose not to believe that about your friend because...well, I think that's obvious.

And that brings me to the question about if I wanted such a reply from my investment banker. Any number of outside factors affect every attempt we make at professionalism every day. Some of them - in fact, most of them - are probably somewhat embarrassing and hardly endearing. Why didn't the agent finish reading the submission in time? Well, she fell asleep after too many martinis. But she doesn't say that, now does she? She says something else entirely. So again, LOGICALLY, your complaint must revolve around the words themselves as being "unprofessional." You'd prefer something...less direct, perhaps?

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sick of the generic, "oh, I just forgot" excuses. You and I both know that many times, it had nothing to do with "forgetting." It had something to do with boyfriends, PMS, crazy phone salesman bringing you to the brink of suicide, the damn in-laws annoying the ever-loving snot out of you, etc, etc, etc. It happens. It happens to the investment banker and it happens with agents, both of whom don't normally tell you about that stuff in their e-mails or phone messages.

So, just so I'm clear, you're complaining about the words themselves, your own personal observation of them, and your reaction. That's very well and good, and as I always say, you're entitled. But it sounds to ME like you're attempting to pass off your observations as fact. But in regards to my ol' friend, "LOGIC," I don't like to see that happen. That's where I'm coming from.

Dollywagon
10-15-2006, 01:44 PM
I don't think this agent is probably out there on her own, there are quite possibly a lot more like her. But, I do think her comments and attitude general reflect a lowering of standards in general.
Moreover I think the comments made by people submitting to her, emphasize their own willingness to accept, if not bolster, these low standards.

There is a difference between busy people making errors and people being unprofessional towards their occupation.

You don't just see it in the publishing world, it seems to have infiltrated every corner at the moment. Spin and yak have overtaken the proof of the pudding.

ATP
10-15-2006, 02:51 PM
Just a gentle reminder to the members here.

Could you please <snip> when quoting other member's replies? eg. confining your reply to only the relevant section/s of a member's long reply? Or, perhaps refrain from pressing the 'quote' button unless quotation is absolutely necessary?

Some members are still using a dial up modem, and, lengthy quotations are I think, very rarely re-read.

Thanks.

Imelda
10-15-2006, 06:40 PM
Hmm. I'm not offended, but if I were JR, I'd be extremely annoyed at my boyfriend. I mean, the guy clearly doesn't respect her work. What would he feel like if, say, he was a lawyer, and he'd set out some papers for work, then she comes along and moves them, splits them up or whatever? He can hardly go back to his client and say 'oh, yeah, well y'know, my girlfriend moved the papers and one of them got lost, so I'm not properly prepared. We'll wing it'.

And what happens if he misplaces correspondence from her current clients?

Obviously, these people are only human, and it must be tough working at home. She can't be the most organised person in the world, but it isn't a crime. I just think it's a shame she advertised it to her potential clients.

Toothpaste
10-15-2006, 07:15 PM
Now while I agree her tone is slightly too relaxed, you do realise she clarified the misplaced issue. While I don't approve of the cavalier attitude, she explains that misplaced is not lost. That she does in fact respond to every query, and she was just explaining why at times it takes longer to reply to some queries (and honestly, who hasn't misplaced something in their work? Should she have admitted to it. . . that's another question) Believe the comment or not, but if it is true, I feel a lot better about the situation.

Lyra Jean
10-15-2006, 08:36 PM
But she says it's not her fault. She doesn't claim responsibility for her actions and that is why I would never submit my work to her.

blackbird
10-15-2006, 09:33 PM
I think what Jenny Rappaport is trying to get across with her blog (especially the part about the boyfriend accidentally rearranging query letters) is that she's human, and to be forewarned that these things can happen. Personally, I liked her even more after reading that comment because what it told me is that her household is probably a lot like mine--a bit messy, a little disorganized, but probably with a lot of warmth and love to compensate (given that her boyfriend is willing to clean her messes says a lot about the relationship). So my immediate thought was, This is the kind of home I'd love to see my manuscript lying in while it is being considered.

Of course, I have an agent currently and am not really looking for another, at least not at the moment, but if I were I certainly wouldn't hesitate to query Jenny Rappaport in a heartbeat. That is, of course, provided it isn't my query that doesn't accidentally end up in the boyfriend's trash heap. That, admittedly, could put an entirely different spin on things, I suppose.;)

ATP
10-16-2006, 07:45 AM
BB,

I think that the point TeddyG was trying to make is that, fundamentally, and to a large degree, this is a b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s. Ms. R is working for a
well-known c-o-m-p-a-n-y, and she is one of its e-m-p-l-o-y-e-e-s.

With this understanding, comes expectations of professional conduct. This applies to the other professionals that we choose or have to interact with in the course of our lives.

I think that, irrespective of the nature/character of a blog, and what it does or doesn't signify to the readers, the fact remains that it is a public pronouncement of her as a representative of the said company. I am very sure that she now regrets having made the off-the-cuff remark in her blog (which I believe is still there). Without putting too fine a point on it, blogs are now to a significant degree governed by law, the same law which applies to regular (non-internet) life. Perhaps you have been following some of the recent news concerning this and posted in the TIO forum?

The major point here is that, for Ms. R., and others in her industry, and all across the blogosphere, be very careful about what you say, for it may come back to bite you, and somewhere along the line, perhaps cost you money. If you can't display some forethought and discretion in what you say, then where applicable, your audience/constituents, and/or the law will 'assist' you in this.

SJAB
10-16-2006, 01:12 PM
Blogs are by their nature a method of projecting a persona. The writer can chose to "create" or allow to come to the fore certain characteristics. You can be seen to very professional, while being the very opposite.

It is just one paragraph on the blog that is the subject of this thread. This thread is now five pages long. As many people have said they would query this agent as have said they won't. The thread has drawn the attention of far more than have posted. So, who is the winner here, if there is indeed a contest? How many more authors will be submitting, and how many have been put off? One thing is for sure I personally feel the lady might have an increase from people who believe they share the same thought processes.

I have always thought blogs are a form of, "Ego/Personality Advertising", similar to which we are subjected to each day from those around us. But unlike face to face, we do not have the pointers and references of body language/tone of voice. We just have words, we can only guess at the meaning behind them.

Strangely the blogs I enjoy the most are written by people I have met in the flesh. Perhaps I see the real them in the blogs.

TeddyG
10-16-2006, 01:54 PM
Blogs are by their nature a method of projecting a persona. The writer can chose to "create" or allow to come to the fore certain characteristics. You can be seen to very professional, while being the very opposite.

Actually so are posts on a forum. There is a posting, others interact. Much like blog entries with comments. No?


The thread has drawn the attention of far more than have posted. So, who is the winner here, if there is indeed a contest? How many more authors will be submitting, and how many have been put off? One thing is for sure I personally feel the lady might have an increase from people who believe they share the same thought processes.

There is no contest. Forums, threads, Blogs are for posting your ideas and thoughts on a specific issue. And personally, to be quite honest, as I said before, I am happy, sincerely glad for JR if this thread leads a few more good writers into her stable of clients. Why should I not be? I don't expect everyone to agree with me (even if I am always right :D). I don't expect anyone else to have the same sensitivities I do. I have an opinion on a matter that was posted and laid out for the public to read. I stated it. I still think it is correct, and so do many others who have posted and those who have not posted judging from the PM's and rep remarks. Others disagree. Others btw, that I have a great deal of respect for. So what?

Why is it accepted that authors are such dumb nitwits when it comes to querying etc. and agents are so wise and unfalliable. JR, in my opinon, made a drastic mistake in posting what she did and in the way she posted it. This thread came to her attention. If she is smart she will be careful with cavalier, flippant comments in the future. That is up to her. If this thread works only in her favor then that too is cool.

The only part that I would have thought would have been wise for her to do, is to simply state "That remark about my BF was out of place. I am sorry for it, as I really was just joking." She didn't. She insisted on not taking responsibility. In high tech being a CTO I fired people on the spot for a hell of a lot less. Not taking responsibility for your own words on a personal Blog, when you represent a company and you are in a position where thousands of people read your words - well that is just I guess part of the process of learning, I guess. I am sure it will come. I am sure she will be a bit more careful in the future. Or I hope she will be.

I repeat. I wish JR all the possible success. I also hope she learns that even such a mundane thing as a Blog should be taken with seriousness and approached with responsibility.

Miss Snark is NOT posting or running her blog as a REAL person. And yet, the last thing that I would think Miss Snark in her real life capable of would be to allow her BF to clean up her desk. (But I tend to doubt George Clooney cleans anyone's desk these days! :D) She is hilarious at times, and sometimes what seems to me a bit overly cynical. BUT she is obviously, even in the Snark persona, one who knows limits as to how and what and why. Additionally, and this I say out of a great deal respect for Miss Snark, her blog, her whole purpose, is to help ALL authors no matter what stage they are at and no matter who their agents may be. She is actually doing something fairly altruistic. This gains my total respect.

KTC
10-16-2006, 01:59 PM
but how many of these anal retentive desk-straighteners are vigorous and effective multi-taskers?

Me. I am an anal retentive desk-straightener who does the job of three people, possibly four. And all with a clean and tidy work environment.

Variant Frequencies
10-16-2006, 05:25 PM
I'm surprised that no one has made the point that the agent was talking about query letters. Not partials, not manuscripts, certainly not stuff from clients she's already representing. Unsolicited query letters.

These are the lowest priority for an agent. They have to be. She has clients' work to sell. There may be new clients in that pile of queries, there may not. Most of it, frankly, is crap. If you doubt that, check the crapometer at Miss Snark's blog.

I think it would be a mistake to assume she's careless about her clients' work just because she admits a query letter might get misplaced.

SC Harrison
10-16-2006, 05:32 PM
Me. I am an anal retentive desk-straightener who does the job of three people, possibly four. And all with a clean and tidy work environment.

And I admire you for it. :)

I'm basically a pack-rat at work (and at home). I file what I can until the file cabinets fill up, then I make stacks of paper on the floor. I pull manufacturing samples into my office, play with them until they're no longer recognizable, and half of those I save for...whatever purpose I may need in the future.

Every six months or so I come in on a Saturday and toss everything, and for several weeks after that I can be heard to mumble, "Dammit, I had that report right here just a few days ago, and then I threw it away."

WestofMars
10-16-2006, 09:56 PM
Wow. As someone who's new around here, this thread is sort of off-putting. Well, no. Not sort-of at all. Maybe I don't belong in this community, after all, even though I, too, am a writer.

We're all human; we all have opinions. But we also have to remember who may be reading our comments and talking about *us* as we talk about *them*.

Viola
10-16-2006, 10:30 PM
West of Mars:

I don't think this was a particularly catty or snarky thread. I think it was a good discussion.

Publishing isn't sunshine and roses, it's a business. I want to talk about the shadows so I'm prepared for the dark. And, West of Mars, if you think this was nasty, you haven't seen anything yet.

For the most part, I thought people were respectful and airing their opinions. Somehow, the agents, who are doing the same thing on their blogs, are exempt from the outrage the people on this thread faced. I find that interesting--the bias seems to favor the power balance.

Just because some of us have an unpopular viewpoint doesn't necessarily mean we're wrong or stupid or bitchy or nasty.

And for the record, I think JR is probably a perfectly good agent, but I also think any agent who blogs needs to consider how their words represent them. Because I am dealing with NY publishers and agents right now who want to see my work and you'd better believe what agents say on their blogs affects who I sub to. See if you don't do the same when you're in my place.

Viola

TeddyG
10-16-2006, 10:32 PM
And, West of Mars, if you think this was nasty, you haven't seen anything yet.
:roll:
You got that right!

WestofMars
10-16-2006, 11:12 PM
I never used the word nasty, now did I?

Viola
10-16-2006, 11:36 PM
I never used the word nasty, now did I?

Well, the subtext was certainly not that you liked or approved of this thread.

I'd be happy to use any word you'd like me too. Although, I suspect there are people who do think it is a nasty thread and perceive it negatively.

Viola

WestofMars
10-16-2006, 11:52 PM
Like or approve of this thread? Hadn't thought that far. But definitely turned off by it, yeah.

I was surprised to see such judgments being tossed about so vehemently in such a public place. After all, this is billed as THE premier b-board for writers, by many different sources.

Guess the billing came with quite the sugar coating.

Viola
10-17-2006, 12:11 AM
"Like or approve of this thread? Hadn't thought that far. But definitely turned off by it, yeah.

I was surprised to see such judgments being tossed about so vehemently in such a public place. After all, this is billed as THE premier b-board for writers, by many different sources.

Guess the billing came with quite the sugar coating."


This is going to be my last response on this...

Define premier b-board? Utopia? Where everyone agrees? Where everyone will say exactly what you want? Where no one has strong opinions? I'm confused as to how you define premier.

There are a lot of pubbed pros on this board. A lot of people to learn from. A lot of people I'm sure you'll like better than me or some of the other posters on this thread who "turned you off.'

And what exactly does 'turned off' imply if not disapproval or dislike? I must have a different sense of semantics.

Good luck to you and your writing. Believe it or not, I bear you no ill will.

Viola

Kate Thornton
10-17-2006, 12:14 AM
Me. I am an anal retentive desk-straightener who does the job of three people, possibly four. And all with a clean and tidy work environment. I think I'm in love. Me too.

icerose
10-17-2006, 12:55 AM
Like or approve of this thread? Hadn't thought that far. But definitely turned off by it, yeah.

I was surprised to see such judgments being tossed about so vehemently in such a public place. After all, this is billed as THE premier b-board for writers, by many different sources.

Guess the billing came with quite the sugar coating.


These are the opinion sections, you are going to get a lot of strong opinions. If you want more writing oriented, check out the first section of the board, there is a novel writing section, a script writing section, a play writing section, a short story section, non-fiction, childrens, whatever it is, pick your poison and chances are this board covers it.

They are very helpful and you can learn a lot. Some threads you learn to stay out of if you are going to not agree with them such as prayer threads and such, some people find them down right offensive, so there is a section for that, and those who wish to participate can and those who don't agree can stay away from them, no harm done. There are thousands of members, each one is unique and different, there is a spot for everyone on this board which is part of what makes it great, and even though we don't always agree we do get along fairly well which is darn near impossible with how many people visit and the different walks of life we all come from.

So, look around, find your spot and see if it suits you.

Good luck with your writing. :)

emeraldcite
10-19-2006, 01:41 AM
I'm a teacher. I bring home tons of work with me every day. This is my livelihood and I take I very seriously.

Every two or three weeks, I bring home 80 essays and a bunch of papers to grade. I have them around my work area which is a love seat and table.

Occasionally, I misplace a student assignment.

Occasionally, my wife, who is tidying up, will pick up one of the many stacks of papers that do not fit on my makeshift desk from the floor to sweep the rug. When she puts the papers back, they may not be in the same exact spot.

Occasionally, a paper will fall beside my couch or underneath another table. Papers can float away.

Occasionally, my daughter will knock a pile over or grab a sheet of paper to do a drawing, not realizing that it's an important stack of paper.

I'm human. I have a heavy workload. Does this make me unprofessional considering the volume? I hope not, since I conduct myself in a fairly professional manner.

Some of the most professional people I know in various fields lose paperwork.

Hell, banks misplace money. (Anyone have this happen to them? I have.)

My students know I'm human. I joke with them sometimes when something goes missing that my daughter ate it or my new baby son ate it or my wife did something with it.

I think many of us here are taking this personally because we feel that our publishing lives are in the hands of someone who is inept when this isn't the case at all.

Step back. People make mistakes. Things get lost.

Any industry that deals with the amount of paperwork we're talking about is bound to lose something. Is it their fault? In a way. I guess if she ran a perfect system like any other agent who never loses anything or, perhaps, a perfect system like the post office, the IRS, a bank, or any other organization that never, ever loses a thing, we should be critical.

I certainly have no qualms sending her a query or my work. It has no greater chance of being lost than any other agent, or any other human being.

I think people need to step back and not take it so personally. This isn’t about one agents handling of materials as much as it is about our own fear of slipping through the cracks and missing our chance.

ChaosTitan
10-19-2006, 02:39 AM
Hell, banks misplace money. (Anyone have this happen to them? I have.)


Yes, only this bank misplaced it in my favor. About twelve years ago, a couple hundred dollars ended up in my savings account. No idea where it came from. I didn't say anything to the bank (bad Kelly!), but didn't touch it for a few months, expecting them to discover the error and fix it.

They never did. I still don't know where that money came from. :Shrug:

emeraldcite
10-19-2006, 02:55 AM
Yes, only this bank misplaced it in my favor.

I knew someone who had ten grand placed into someone's account. Nothing like having a large check bounce to really embarass you (and the bank). They apologized, but no one got fired over it and the person I knew didn't leave the bank. They've had a dozen or so good years there and this was the first error of that kind.

aruna
10-19-2006, 08:59 AM
I think people need to step back and not take it so personally. This isn’t about one agents handling of materials as much as it is about our own fear of slipping through the cracks and missing our chance.

I htink the problem here was no so much that she does this, but that she talks about it on her blog, makes it public for all the wrodl to see. I htink that's a bit different to you joking with your students about losing stuff - for one - students might even be rather glad their stuff gets lost! and secondly, they don't feel that their whole career is being taken lightly, ans thirdly, you know these students personally, it;s a private joke among people you are familiar with and know you as a professional.

I've already said I don't care if my agent has sloppy habits. I don;t care if she has my manuscript flying around her bedroom and pages of it under the pillow. I just don't want her to talk about it publicly.

I know agents take manuscripts home to read, and I remember my last agent, when I visited her at home, had piles of papers all over her living room. So I think the issue at stake is discretion. Maybe it's a generational thing.

janetbellinger
10-19-2006, 05:12 PM
Am I the only one offended by this? Are hopeful writers so cowered that they will accept any attitude, any method in which they are dealt with and spoken to? Are authors so devoid of the most elementary aspects of self-respect that they will put all that work at the mercy of a tidy boyfriend???????? We must be a very sorry lot of people to engender such a demeaning attitude.


Do we have a choice? Choice is the luxury of those who hold power, in this case literary agents and publishers. Unless we are established well known writers, and I do not fall into that category we have no choice but to suck it up. As they used to say, "If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen."
It doesn't matter whether the attitude you mention is cavalier or not. The point is that Ms Snark et al have power and influence. I do not. Therefore, If Ms. Rappaport's boyfriend loses my manuscript, I should follow up my submission with a letter inquiring about whether or not she received the mss.

Roger J Carlson
10-19-2006, 05:32 PM
Therefore, If Ms. Rappaport's boyfriend loses my manuscript, I should follow up my submission with a letter inquiring about whether or not she received the mss.Or perhaps decide that you don't really want an agent who loses things.

veinglory
10-19-2006, 05:56 PM
Janet when I read this I am more stuck by the sensitivity of authors regarding an agent none are with or even seems to have approached. This thread does show that many of us had not the slightest problem with her post--reading it as a humorous aside. So the fact, as you mention, that we can choose whom we approach to represent us means that those writers who do not like the look of this agent can just shrug and move on--there is no need to berate her attitude, let alone at such length. Personally I feel this thread is just as public as the blog entry and leaves an even worse impression.

Del
10-19-2006, 10:12 PM
Perhaps you could send Jenny Rappaport a note informing her of a device commonly called a filing cabinet.

Realistically, that paragraph of hers is in itself sufficient to repel me from querying. Not so much the part that she could lose my submission, that is a small risk and could happen nearly anywhere. It is the statement, "--this is not my fault." It is her fault. If she cannot take responsibility for her own deficits then I have to assume she is incapable of asserting a competent effort. It is an excuse to not try. That isn't the constitution I expect or want from a pro.

Miss
10-22-2006, 03:30 PM
The entire attitude of these agent blogs bothers me. I think, primarily, it's the lack of division between the personal and the professional.

Let's think about my GP. I trust him with my health.

If I found out that my GP had a personal blog where he posted what music he was listening to, how his day was going, or that he had a frustrating day at the workplace, it wouldn't bother me. It's his right to post his giggly, schoolboy thoughts, just like it's his right to go to the pub with his mates after work and so on.

But what if this blog was linked off of the clinic's website? It would then be associated with his professional life and would really bug me. It has about as much place on a professional website as would pictures of what went on when he and his mates went out to watch the rugby last night!

I find very little useful information on these blogs. It's mostly venting of the type you see on sixteen year olds' blogs across the net. Everyone wants to be snarky these days and very few can pull it off.

Of course, it's not like we writers have much of a choice in the representation we get.

MacAllister
10-25-2006, 12:47 PM
Hmm. I think agents have as much right as anyone else to a personal blog where they talk about their work, their boyfriends, or the top ten list on their iPods.

Frankly, the level of vitriol towards Jenny's blog is seriously over-the-top, in my view.

Jeez, Teddy. So far you've b*tched about Miss Snark, The Rejecter, Jenny Rappaport...who am I missing? If you hate agent/editor blogs so much, for chrissakes STOP READING THEM.
And for heaven's sake stop posting vitriolic, poisonous, multi-page public rants about industry pros because you have a personal problem with their style.

TeddyG
10-25-2006, 01:10 PM
Jeez, Teddy. If you hate agent/editor blogs so much, for chrissakes STOP READING THEM.
And for heaven's sake stop posting vitriolic, poisonous, multi-page public rants about industry pros because you have a personal problem with their style.

This deserves a serious answer. One which puts aside an automatic reaction to your post.

If you dont like what I post take your own advice and stop reading them. That would normally be my first reaction.
However, due to the fact that this is AW, and by definition a "writers forum" where without doubt many many views are expressed in an open manner, I am more than mystified at this specific statement.

Writers on AW frequent blogs, web sites etc. They also read books on how to write I assume. If I was posting a review of a book which I did not like - that is legitimate. If I am posting my own thoughts on a blog which is written I would assume that on public forum like AW whose whole purpose is to deal with writing, that too is legitimate.

Your opinion of what I think or of any agent's blog is your opinion and thus respected. I would never in a million years say to you STOP posting your approval or disapproval or thoughts on something.

To be honest I am not sure whether you are posing a censorship point here or what. If you read through the replies there seem to be quite a few people who do agree and quite a few who disagree. Perhaps though I certainly do not count, one side of the scale is a bit more weighted than the other. But that still does not go to the point of the matter.

What does go to the heart of the matter is your mention of "industry pros". I will, tyvm, decide for myself, who is an industry pro for me and who is not. I certainly cannot decide such things either based upon anonymous names and blogs of people who have made up persona's. And if someone is an "industry pro" then let us put it straight and to the point - They should damn well act and write like one.

So in the end, I will demure from taking your advice. I will continue to read whatever my eyes happen to land on and continue to view it in my own way. And continue to express my opinion, popular or not.

Of course Mac, you are welcome to not agree and to ignore whatever I post as well. But do not, please, decide for me just what I am supposed to accept or think as an "industry pro" or not - especially since black on white they seem to me to prove otherwise.

In the immortal words of this post:

Jeez, Mac. If you hate my posts so much, for chrissakes STOP READING THEM.

:D

MacAllister
10-25-2006, 01:29 PM
I'm not asking, Teddy. And you're starting a pissing match with the wrong person.

It's not about censorship. It's about pointless personal attacks on people who aren't here to defend themselves.

It's not your opinion I have trouble with, you're welcome to it. You're welcome to express it, even. I don't have issues with the people who said they, too, were bothered--because it's not about the opinion.

What is over-the-top is the especially hostile, personal attack language.

I'll quote:

Just what the hell is going on here? I spend hours and days on a query letter to get it just right; I want you as a perspective agent (after all you do list you accept queries); I decide I am willing to wait weeks and weeks and weeks to get my answer back; my hopes and dreams are in this letter which you solicit by saying you accept queries - and now I am at the mercy of your boyfriend and his desire to tidy up what you admit is a huge pile of queries?????????????????????

Miss Snark can go and on about how dumb we writers are. I wonder why she does not look at this entry in a blog of a fellow agent and say outright just how cavalier and rude such an attitude is.

Am I the only one offended by this? Are hopeful writers so cowered that they will accept any attitude, any method in which they are dealt with and spoken to? Are authors so devoid of the most elementary aspects of self-respect that they will put all that work at the mercy of a tidy boyfriend???????? We must be a very sorry lot of people to engender such a demeaning attitude.

Frankly, no. I personally didn't find the attitude demeaning, at all, but I understand not everyone would be comfortable with it.

I find your attitude offputting in the extreme, though, and I'm deeply troubled by the impression of AW it might give to new members. You seriously can make a public post like that, and accuse someone else of behaving rudely because she's more casual in her personal blog than you would like her to be--and all with a straight face?

I'm also deeply troubled when I hear that legitimate, respected agents and editors don't really want to come here because they're afraid of being dogpiled by a bunch of disgruntled writer-wanna-bes.

Not here. That's enough. Post your opinion til the cows come home--but tone down the vitriolic hyperbole.

Bartholomew
10-25-2006, 01:47 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't allow a person who acts like "Miss Snark" to touch my manuscript. She doesn't use a real name, she insults people, and her blog isn't funny. I can't give her my stamp of approval. :)

Not sure what that has to do with anything, but mmk.


O.P [truncated]

To be brutally honest, no. Life happens, and this includes coffee, boyfriends, dogs, hurricanes, the police, fire, and comets slamming into desks.

Editors and Agents are "cavalier" because they not only deal with literally hundreds of queries per day, they also deal with an equal number of unsolicited manuscripts. If eight months go by and they haven't responded, feel free to send them a short letter asking if they received your original query. Put a copy of the original query in the envelope.

Don't get angry at the system just because its connected to real life. Everyone is human, after all.

Miss
10-25-2006, 02:38 PM
Hmm. I think agents have as much right as anyone else to a personal blog where they talk about their work, their boyfriends, or the top ten list on their iPods.


I'm not debating whether or not agents have the right to a "personal blog." Of course they do. But when a blog is linked to the agency website and used to promote the agency, it is no longer a personal blog, it is part of the professional image the agent presents to the public.

As for Teddy (or anyone else) having the right to comment on such a blog, if writing is published on the internet, readers have the right to review, remark or comment on it, regardless of whether the writer is around to defend herself.

I find the "blogging agents" to be thoroughly unprofessional. I have serious reservations submitting to an agency that promotes itself with a little blog listing what's on the IPOD or, worse, posting exerpts from writers' private communications for the purpose of mockery. If that is how the company chooses to promote itself, I don't want to work with that company.

And once again, these aren't personal blogs when they're linked to the agency websites.

MacAllister
10-25-2006, 02:44 PM
Ummm--Jenny Rappaport says where she works, but it's not linked. Nor did I find a link to her blog from the agency website. Miss Snark certainly doesn't link to her agency, nor, I imagine, does her agency page link to her blog.

LitSoup does say at the top of the page that her blog is about Books, Publishing and Soup [emphasis mine.] That leads me to believe, right out of the gate, that this is largely informal writing.

If I'm wrong about that, please don't hesitate to provide a link.

One more time, my issue is not with people's opinions--it's with their comportment in the AW community. Teddy is welcome to go vent at the top of his lungs and be as rude as he wants on his own blog. Or on Jenny Rappaport's blog--although she might have something to say about that. He's welcome to express his opinion, here, as well--but it's not okay to be aggressively rude, here.

That sort of inflammatory tone tends to propagate itself, and that's just not what AW is about.

Euan H.
10-25-2006, 04:13 PM
Of course, it's not like we writers have much of a choice in the representation we get.
Of course you have a choice. And you should choose. If you're going to trust an agent with your career, then it's incumbent on you to choose someone you think will do a good job. Of course, they also have to want you--but that's another question.

As for Jenny Rappaport, what she writes in her blog is her own concern, and if I were looking for an agent, I wouldn't much care either way if she said she sometimes lost queries*. What I'd be looking for is how many sales she's made and how big those deals were. That's what I'd want my agent to be doing. Whether her office is tidy or not has no correlation with how good she is at her job.

*Like emeraldcite, I'm a teacher, and I occasionally lose student papers. When a friend of mine was completing his MA, my supervisor managed to lose *both* copies of his dissertation--and this was a 300 page bound book we're talking about. Sh*t happens and people lose stuff. It's called entropy.

janetbellinger
10-25-2006, 04:26 PM
I agree that a personal blog shoudl not be censored, unless it contains comments or materials that are harmful to others, eg. threats or exploitation. Jeez, professionals of all walks of life are so narrowly structured, forced into little pigeonholes where they must spew out the doctrine their professional organizations dictate. Surely they can have a space where they are free to shed their professional garb and just be people instead, with real human interests and wants and needs. Personally, I would be interested to hear what music my physician or agent listened to. It would make me feel more connected to that person. My longtime family physician is a marathon runner, and knowing that makes me admire him even more.

Writing Jedi
10-25-2006, 06:34 PM
He's welcome to express his opinion, here, as well--but it's not okay to be aggressively rude, here.

That sort of inflammatory tone tends to propagate itself, and that's just not what AW is about.

Okay, but "aggressively rude" is just your opinion. I do not find Teddy's posts rude AT ALL. Opinionated, passionate...sure. But just because his opinion is "negative" does not make it "rude". I think lively discussion should be valid.

And what if I think that you were the one who was aggressively rude? Hmm. C'est la vie.

veinglory
10-25-2006, 06:36 PM
I think that if his posts are not rude, the agents are not flippant or disrespectful. In both cases the attitude is, or is not, in the subtext. (Although also in the capital letters and multiple punctuation marks).

ATP
10-25-2006, 06:49 PM
Of course you have a choice. And you should choose. If you're going to trust an agent with your career, then it's incumbent on you to choose someone you think will do a good job. Of course, they also have to want you--but that's another question.

I have no argument with this.



As for Jenny Rappaport, what she writes in her blog is her own concern, and if I were looking for an agent, I wouldn't much care either way if she said she sometimes lost queries*. What I'd be looking for is how many sales she's made and how big those deals were. That's what I'd want my agent to be doing. Whether her office is tidy or not has no correlation with how good she is at her job.

*Like emeraldcite, I'm a teacher, and I occasionally lose student papers. When a friend of mine was completing his MA, my supervisor managed to lose *both* copies of his dissertation--and this was a 300 page bound book we're talking about. Sh*t happens and people lose stuff. It's called entropy.

So...you see no correlation between an untidy desk and lost items, and what you consider as the important 'measures of performance'.
Ostensibly, this is true.I can understand people accepting this in another, if the one who accepts such behaviour in others is himself messy/disorganised.Woe unto him if he does not - how to reconcile the cognitive dissonance on having this brought to his attention?

If a teacher loses a paper or two in the course of a lengthy career, perhaps you will make allowances. But two copies of an MA thesis, hard-bound? I understand 'it is human to err, and divine to forgive'. However, where do you draw the line? To my way of thinking, this example of the lost / 'misplaced' theses reflects negligence more than forgetfulness. But, with academics, we tend to make allowances, because they are stereotypically absent-minded.

This view does tend to make me feel that quite apart from the issue of
J. Rappaport, there is a tendency to accept, to a large degree, slovenly behaviour eg. loss of others' belongings while in a professional capacity of care. Certainly, in these circumstances, this is something one would not file suit about. Then again, someone like the Masters student might be within his rights to do so.

Miss
10-25-2006, 07:08 PM
I didn't realise that Jenny Rappaport's agency did not link to the blog. Edit: I googled and couldn't find a website for the L. Perkins Agency, making the blog the agency's sole web presence.

That said, if I can google your name and workplace and up pops that blog, I'd say that you're representing your workplace via that blog.

And I'll say this about the teacher analogy.

I teach, too. I do not blog, but feel it would be within my rights to post a blog in which I talked about the day my boyfriend used student papers to line a rabbit hutch or the morning I had to have a sick day because I was hungover.

Is it within my rights to say where I teach on this blog? Sure, it is. But I wouldn't be surprised when the students, their parents, and my department started talking about the drunken, incompetent English teacher. I also wouldn't be surprised if I were sanctioned for misconduct. Google is a powerful thing.

Is it within my rights to post student work, without the students' permission, and make fun of it? Absolutely not.

As far as the metaphor goes, literary agents and teachers aren't really comparable, but I think that the fact remains that if you list your workplace on your blog, you are speaking as a representative of your workplace, whether you like it or not. Not that you should be stopped from doing that.

I do think that a line is crossed when private communications get posted.

Miss
10-25-2006, 07:10 PM
Of course you have a choice. And you should choose. If you're going to trust an agent with your career, then it's incumbent on you to choose someone you think will do a good job. Of course, they also have to want you--but that's another question.


That's what I meant. You can't just chose your agent, they have to choose you. So, in that sense, you don't get a choice at all. And may never get an agent at all, for that matter!

Birol
10-25-2006, 07:17 PM
Why do so many see it as an either or thing? Either the agent chooses you or the writer chooses an agent? It's a partnership. Both the agent and the writer choose one another.

The writer makes the first choice by selecting where to submit their work. The second choice is the agent's, when they decide who to offer to represent. The third choice belongs to both, when they discuss the project, reveal their professional manners, and both decide whether or not they think they can work together long-term in an arrangement that is beneficial to both.

Miss
10-25-2006, 07:22 PM
Oh, most of this is my bitterness talking because I've never gotten an agent to choose me. :)

Lauri B
10-25-2006, 07:23 PM
Everyone here is ranting about how they'd never submit to the agents mentioned because of how unprofessional their blogs are, how rude they are, how flip, etc. The agents mentioned are very successful at selling books into the market. That's their job. Your job is to write something so good that they don't leave it laying around for their boyfriends to spill coffee on, make snarky commments about, or forget about you. Methinks you all protest too much.

Miss
10-25-2006, 07:33 PM
Look, I agree--this is ranting.

I read these blogs and they make me angry that to get my work looked at by the major houses, I have to attract the attention of one of these giggling, blogging children who are apparently free to talk smack about me on their blogs if I submit something that's worth snarking.

I try to be professional in my dealings with agents and anyone in the publishing industry, just as I try to be professional toward those with whom I work.

I don't think that ranting, anger and frustration with the system are necessarily bad things. I'm sure that many of these agents are good at what they do professionally, but what does that say about this industry that I'm trying to break into? Should I be putting "currently listening to" tags in my queries to make them edgier?

And furthermore, is the system broken? I think that's what this post is getting at, or at least how I interpreted it and what caused me to register here. I have seen so many excellent novels fail to attract any attention from any agent at all that yes, I do question the judgment and professionalism of the industry.

Lauri B
10-25-2006, 07:49 PM
I don't think the system is broken, I think there are so, so many people who assume that their writing is good enough to be published that agents and publishers of all kinds are swamped with average-to-poor-to wretched manuscripts. Publishing is the one industry where the average Joe or Jane is convinced they are entitled to be published regardless of their experience or skill level.

But if you're offended or upset by the three agents mentioned on this thread, then the simple solution is this: don't submit to them. There are hundreds of agents out there, with varying degrees of formality and casual demeanor. Submit to someone else.

I see dozens of manuscripts each week, and the number of "excellent" ones I've received over the past year I can count on one hand. You and I must be traveling in different writing circles. . .

Roger J Carlson
10-25-2006, 07:59 PM
And furthermore, is the system broken? I think that's what this post is getting at, or at least how I interpreted it and what caused me to register here. I have seen so many excellent novels fail to attract any attention from any agent at all that yes, I do question the judgment and professionalism of the industry.You bet the system's broken! In any decent system, I'd have my pick of agents. They'd be contacting me. Better yet, publishers would be contacting me.

No, wait. We already have that with Literary Agency Group (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26990)and Publish America (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26537). Talk about broken.

Fact is, the system - broken or not - is the system. Complaining about it won't get you published any sooner. In fact, it will probably hinder you by diverting you from writing a better book.

ChunkyC
10-25-2006, 08:24 PM
I only have one thing to say about this thread ... if you think certain agents should behave in a more professional, dignified manner online, then walk the walk yourself.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
10-25-2006, 08:32 PM
That said, if I can google your name and workplace and up pops that blog, I'd say that you're representing your workplace via that blog.I totally disagree. Given the linky nature of TEH INTERWEBS, it would be odd for a Google search as you describe not to bring up links to both one's public and private life. That shouldn't mean that a professional is not allowed to have a private life, or consider themselves a representative of their professional org. every waking moment.

Have you ever hung out on the blog Making Light (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/)? Its run primarily by Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who in their professional lives are editors at Tor. If you Google "nielsen hayden tor," one of the top links currently is a particularly... vehement blog post from Making Light. And yet there is a total understanding among readers of Making Light that neither Teresa nor Patrick should be seen as "representing" Tor in their blog posts there. Trying to insist otherwise is frowned upon, is seen as an indicator that the commenter is a troll, and is likely to get the offender disemvowelled.

Liam Jackson
10-25-2006, 08:37 PM
I go to a car mechanic with my sick car. He has pictures of nekkid catfish all over the walls of the garage. I don't like nekkid catfish. I keep driving along in my sick car.

I go to another mechanic. He has pictures of hula-dancing guinea pigs plastered all over the walls of the garage. I like hula-dancing guinea pigs.
I leave my car with the guy.

Later that night, I do a little research.

The joker with the nekkid catfish pictures has a record of fixing cars. All sorts of cars. Big cars, little cars. Serious cars and "funny cars." (excuse the pun) He probably could have fixed my car, but I don't like his taste in photos.

Turns out the dude with the hula-dancing guinea pigs is a front for New York Lit... I mean, New York Car Fixer-upers. The only thing he'll ever fix is his own bank account, but damn, I really liked those hula dancing guinea pigs!

Maybe next time, setting personal taste and offended sensibilities aside, I'll go with the joker who can really fix cars.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
10-25-2006, 08:40 PM
If you dont like what I post take your own advice and stop reading them.
Okay, but "aggressively rude" is just your opinion. [...] And what if I think that you were the one who was aggressively rude?The only way I can make sense of these posts is if I assume that Teddy and Jedi have forgotten that Mac is a Moderator. A super-mod has the responsibility to determine whether a member's behavior is out of line for the forum. She would be remiss to do as Teddy suggests and just ignore rudeness, and while it is a subjective issue as Jedi points out, I presume Jenna has high regard for all the super-mods' opinions in this matter. Super-mods have the responsibility prevent excessive rudeness from getting out of hand. Neither of the above quotes strike me as appropriate responses to a super-mod telling a member that his rudeness is exceeding AWCooler-acceptable limits.

victoriastrauss
10-25-2006, 08:55 PM
It seems to me that everyone wants agents to be human (i.e., personal replies to queries, crits of their submissions, quick responses, apologies if they go over their stated reading times) and then gets upset when agents reveal that they actually are human (that they misplace queries, have messy offices, or get frustrated from time to time). Agents are people, and people aren't perfect. And unprofessionalism isn't necessarily synonymous with what pisses one person off.

- Victoria

Writing Jedi
10-25-2006, 08:55 PM
The only way I can make sense of these posts is if I assume that Teddy and Jedi have forgotten that Mac is a Moderator.

Yeah, I knew it was a moderator and who cares? Okay, not really. I don't mouth off to authority figures much. However, I still think my point stands. I mean, if a moderator contributes to a discussion we can disagree right? Which I guess is different than if they lay down a direct order, in which case my opinion means diddly. Maybe it does anyway. :)

Liam Jackson
10-25-2006, 09:02 PM
Of course, you're right, Victoria. Many of us have preconceived notions of correct and appropriate behavior for these 24/7 marketing machines.

We also forget that some of the "offensive" blogs are good-natured showmanship. Snark wouldn't be Snark if she didn't maintain that arrogant air. It's part of the show, and helps create (and perhaps to a degree, demonstrates) her personality. When you burn away the chaf on her site, you find some excellent advice and how-to/how-not-to information.

Some people don't care for dog-and-pony shows, but many like the added entertainment. Bottom line, we all have choices. If we don't like the goods in the showcase, we can keep shopping.

ChunkyC
10-25-2006, 09:11 PM
Yeah, I knew it was a moderator and who cares? Okay, not really. I don't mouth off to authority figures much. However, I still think my point stands. I mean, if a moderator contributes to a discussion we can disagree right? Which I guess is different than if they lay down a direct order, in which case my opinion means diddly. Maybe it does anyway. :)
Disagree, yes. Disrespect, no. Mac is telling you, and I am telling you in no uncertain terms, that we frown upon threads that appear to serve no purpose other than to trash someone. What boggles my mind is that those in this thread who are trashing agents for being unprofessional are doing the exact thing they are complaining about.

I'm shutting this thread down, right now.