QueryFail/AgentFail/etc?

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I guess what gets to me about both is that they are accused of being something negative based on what only one or two people did. People accuse queryfail as being wrong because the agents named names and gave specifics about the queries. No. ONE agent named a name, and was chastised for it by the other agents. Agentfail has some excellent suggestions, a few people were irrational in their hatred, but for the most part the agentfail was written by frustrated by logical authors. It's amazing how one bad apple ruins the barrel. What's even more amazing is that a lot of the people critiquing both (but especially queryfail) weren't even watching it, are only responding to stories they have heard other people say.

To me query fail was nothing more than those long lists of query stats that agents sometimes post on their blogs, but this time in real time. ONE agent was a bad boy and named names. ONE.

The same is with agentfail. Most people just listed their issues that totally made sense. But a few took advantage of the anonymity of the situation and put all their bile and anger towards agents into their comments.

But as far as whether or not these should have existed in the first place, eh, I dunno how productive either were, but they weren't exactly the most terrible the to ever have happened ever. I mean, some people don't even know it happened.
 

waylander

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There were some valid points made in Agentfail. Unfortunately the people who need to hear those points were not participating.
 

stormie

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On queryfail, I saw a lot of snippets of bad queries that I'd seen before on agents' blogs. It wasn't anything new. If the agents are seeing too much of the same bad query, isn't it a good thing for them to post what not to do? And it was anonymous.

Writers never stop learning, just as teachers, lawyers, and doctors (hopefull) continue educating themselves. And we can learn from the negative as well as the positive.

Remember Miss Snark anyone?!
 
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spike

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Queryfail:

I wish they had mocked my queries. Please! Tell me where I went wrong. Which part made you want to roll it into a ball and set it on fire? Which part made you laugh until you wet your pants? Please mock me until you can mock no more! Just tell me what I'm doing wrong!

Agentfail:

I have never seen such a bunch of crybabies. They make me embarrassed to say I'm a writer. When did writers turn from being tough to little nancy-boys, crying that "My writing is personal, so rejections are personal."

No where else in the business world does anyone complain about a lack of response to unsolicited offers.
 

MacAllister

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And please, please, PLEASE someone tell me the Xfail meme is about to expire and be replaced by something that doesn't use a verb as a noun-forming suffix.
 

Kathleen42

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No where else in the business world does anyone complain about a lack of response to unsolicited offers.

Well, it is a bit different (not that I'm defending the whining). I regularly get unsolicited business offers but I don't really NEED the services. Agents need books to represent.

I don't think people should expect personal responses, but I do think it's unfortunate when no response is sent (leaving the writer wondering if their query made it past the spam filter).

I understand that many agents have adopted a "silence = no" response BECAUSE of the replies they were getting back from unprofessional writers but I do think it's unfortunate. A handful of people impacting the rest of us, if you will.
 

spike

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Well, it is a bit different (not that I'm defending the whining). I regularly get unsolicited business offers but I don't really NEED the services. Agents need books to represent.

What agents need are great books. Going through the slush is not their primary occupation. They need to be attentive to their signed clients.

When I was looking to change jobs, I sent out over 30 resumes(some in response to ads, others completely unsolicited). I didn't expect to hear back unless they were interested.

We get many solicitations at work for things we need, but we don't write back and say, "Sorry, I already have a vendor" or "Your prices are out of our budget" or "Your product looks good, but not right for us".

Responses are always appreciated, but I don't think non-response should get people so upset. They have to realize that responding "NO" does not make money for the agent. Working for signed authors does.

I don't think people should expect personal responses, but I do think it's unfortunate when no response is sent (leaving the writer wondering if their query made it past the spam filter).

I understand that many agents have adopted a "silence = no" response BECAUSE of the replies they were getting back from unprofessional writers but I do think it's unfortunate. A handful of people impacting the rest of us, if you will.

I agree. But I think it is more than a handful. Look at the Agentfail and see all those responses.
 

Chanelley

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I don't think either were all that helpful. I'd much prefer a querypass day rather than queryfail. I learn more from when agents post up queries that worked, than when they post up ones that didn't work. I don't know many people who would call themselves God's prophet in a query. Plus queryfail was kind of ruined by the snark involved with certain agents who referred to writers as idiots. And you know what, disrespect breeds disrespect. You can't expect to sit there and poke fun at writers and then when writers have something to say about agents, it's such a bad thing.

Agentfail could have been an interesting way to redevelop the way some, and I'm saying some - not all - agents work. Not responding to queries can lead to a lot of questions. What if my query got stuck in a spam filtre? At least acknowledge receipt. Also the blogging, twittering thing. I think what most were trying to say was that they have no problem with it being done, but then don't complain you have zero time to catch up on requested partials and fulls because you're so swamped with queries. I think someone even mentioned twittering about personal life outside office hours.

I think queryfail and agentfail should turn into querypass and agentpass. Come on, guys, what happened to respecting your fellow professionals? Writers are slamming agents, agents are mocking writers. It's not right, and it's a little immature.
 

Phoenix Fury

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Queryfail:

I wish they had mocked my queries. Please! Tell me where I went wrong. Which part made you want to roll it into a ball and set it on fire? Which part made you laugh until you wet your pants? Please mock me until you can mock no more! Just tell me what I'm doing wrong!

Okay. Here's a really educational gem from snarkfa--sorry, queryfail:

Say you don't know how to paste the first five pages of your manuscript into your email? Please get your 3-year-old to teach you.

Well, now it's all clear. Wouldn't have gotten it without the sarcasm. How about this delightful nugget:

"I am writing this query letter to request permission to submit my proposal to you." Permission denied.

How charming!

Sorry, but this kind of attitude--and that expressed by people who started queryfail, who said things like "What is #Queryfail Day, you ask? *rubs hands together gleefully*"--isn't in anyone's wildest dreams an "educational" one. This was the equivalent of people hanging out at a bar after work bitching about their clients, and it was unprofessional in the extreme...especially since these clients never gave permission for their work to be mocked this way in the first place. Sorry, Adrienne, but the argument isn't about naming names. It's about humiliating people, many of whom thought they were trying to open up a professional relationship, not returning to sixth grade where the cool kids get to mock the losers in the corner of the cafeteria. Comments like "get over it" and "get a thicker skin" only make this sense worse.

Agentfail:

I have never seen such a bunch of crybabies. They make me embarrassed to say I'm a writer. When did writers turn from being tough to little nancy-boys, crying that "My writing is personal, so rejections are personal."
This was never, EVER the claim made by the vast majority of people in agentfail. If you had read through the thread, you'd see that the overwhelming comment was "send a response--at all."

No where else in the business world does anyone complain about a lack of response to unsolicited SOLICITED offers.
Fixed that for you. These are not unsolicited. They're solicited by the same people who were mercilessly mocking the authors on whom their livelihoods depend in queryfail. And I'd like to see all those examples of places in the business world that don't respond to solicited offers.

There were a couple of good suggestions (not many--did you need #queryfail to tell you not to compare yourself to Lady Godiva in a query letter? Really? Was that something you were seriously considering?) which came out of #queryfail, and a couple of overreactions (not many) which came out of agentfail. But acting like the first was funny, professional and educational and the second was a collection of complaints from a bunch of bitter prima donnas is absurd and disingenuous. This may be why a number of agents--Nathan Bransford and Janet Reid among them--were as troubled by the #queryfail experiment as authors were. It's unfortunate the people "rubbing their hands gleefully" about #queryfail while weeping about agentfail don't understand the meaning of a double standard.
 
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Phoenix Fury

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I don't think either were all that helpful. I'd much prefer a querypass day rather than queryfail. I learn more from when agents post up queries that worked, than when they post up ones that didn't work. I don't know many people who would call themselves God's prophet in a query. Plus queryfail was kind of ruined by the snark involved with certain agents who referred to writers as idiots. And you know what, disrespect breeds disrespect. You can't expect to sit there and poke fun at writers and then when writers have something to say about agents, it's such a bad thing.

QFT.
 

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Absolutely unbelievable. Did you even READ either of these things?



Okay. Here's a really educational gem from snarkfa--sorry, queryfail:

Say you don't know how to paste the first five pages of your manuscript into your email? Please get your 3-year-old to teach you.Well, now it's all clear. Wouldn't have gotten it without the sarcasm. How about this delightful nugget:

"I am writing this query letter to request permission to submit my proposal to you." Permission denied.

How charming!

Sorry, I just love good mockage. Those two "gems" are exceptional. I laughed just as hard re-reading them.

See my post above concerning resumes. Same thing. An ad is in the paper or online, and you send a resume. If you don't hear from them, you know it was a "no". Why aren't potential employees crying "How do I know if they got it?" Because they know they will look silly.

I'm not talking about an agent who requests something, or those who had an agent, I'm talking about those who object to the "No response means no".
 

mscelina

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I just went through and read agentfail. All of it. One thing really jumped out at me--how many people were willing to toss their attitude around under the comfortable aegis of 'anonymous.'

I'm lucky--I was a professional actor for a long time and so rejection is an old and comfortable friend. The problem with a lot of prospective writers is that they're not accustomed to the word 'no.' I agree that agencies should make an effort to respond to the queries they receive BUT a 'no' is not [a] the agent thinking the writer is dumb the agent on his high horse [c] the agent hitting an auto-response without reading the query or attached sample. Sometimes a 'no' is just that--a 'no, you're not ready to be published yet.'

Complaining takes too much energy away from my writing for me to sit here and try to read meaning into every rejection I get. Why not use that energy as fuel to improve your writing? It makes more sense and ultimately gets you further.
 

Phoenix Fury

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I just went through and read agentfail. All of it. One thing really jumped out at me--how many people were willing to toss their attitude around under the comfortable aegis of 'anonymous.'

After seeing the results of #querytrainwreck, I'd change "willing" to "smart." Why would you want to be singled out by these people?

The problem with a lot of prospective writers is that they're not accustomed to the word 'no.'

You're joking, right? How many prospective writers do you know have gotten anything but the word "no," hundreds of times?

I agree that agencies should make an effort to respond to the queries they receive BUT a 'no' is not [a] the agent thinking the writer is dumb the agent on his high horse


How about "get your 3-year old to teach you"? Might that be [a] or , just maybe?

Complaining takes too much energy away from my writing agenting for me to sit here and try to read meaning into every rejection bad query I get. Why not use that energy as fuel to improve your writing agenting? It makes more sense and ultimately gets you further.

Hmm.
 
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Kathleen42

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Is there a transcript of #queryfail anywhere? I've tried searching for it on search.twitter but it's being stubborn and not letting me view any tweets for that week.
 

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Yeah the acting thing helps buckets. I would recommend every writer try the acting thing for a year. It'll help put things into perspective for you (try being rejected on your physical appearance alone, and not your talent - which might I remind people as authors we get to demonstrate right from the off in our query letter).

Anyway, found this great blog entry about the whole queryfail/agentfail deal, if people are curious: http://claena1.livejournal.com/119645.html
 

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After seeing the results of #querytrainwreck, I'd change "willing" to "smart." Why would you want to be singled out by these people?



Hmm.

LOL--If I were an agent in disguise, I wouldn't be working so hard querying right now, would I?

And no, a smart writer wouldn't want their names remembered by agents who swarmed all over agentfail taking names.
 

mscelina

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Yeah the acting thing helps buckets. I would recommend every writer try the acting thing for a year. It'll help put things into perspective for you (try being rejected on your physical appearance alone, and not your talent - which might I remind people as authors we get to demonstrate right from the off in our query letter).

Exactly. That's one of the reasons that when I got into directing I made certain not to do that. Sometimes the brightest talents lie behind less than prepossessing faces. It works the same way for writing. That's why it's best to KNOW how to write a good query--you have to be able to create interest in your work and then let the work speak for itself. A query is a writer's audition. Why blow it and then wonder why you're not called back to read for a major role?
 

Phoenix Fury

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LOL--If I were an agent in disguise, I wouldn't be working so hard querying right now, would I?

Heh, I wasn't actually accusing you of being an agent in disguise. That's funny, though...I hadn't thought of that. :)

And no, a smart writer wouldn't want their names remembered by agents who swarmed all over agentfail taking names.

Yep.
 

Blondchen

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My agent posted a response to Agentfail on my blog earlier this week. I got an insane amount of hits which says this subject tweaks a lot of people. Though I must say I was really happy over the LACK of flaming in the comments. I think most people view this whole debacle with good amount of common sense.
 

badducky

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Who has the time and mental energy for all these X-Fails?!

Queryfail was a bad idea. Then, the agents who realized how bad their idea was realized it at one point, stopped, and apologized. They're intentions were good. They're basically nice people with good intentions who made a mistake. Then, they apologized. That's not a knock against their professionalism, or even - really - their judgment, because everyone in the world makes mistakes and it's how one handles them once discovered that matters, and all of the agents I'd seen were genuinely apologetic.

Agentfail was worse because apparently an apology is just not enough. Folks also have to dance on the burned idols of agents that made one mistake.

If you're really offended by it, there's no need to post screeds to the internet. Just take those agents off your list. I've done that with magazines that offend me. It's easy. It requires no investment of mental energy. And, you can shout DELETED! at the top of your lungs, which is quite rewarding, actually.

The worst thing you can do to an agent is to not query them with your next project.

So, if you were really offended, just do that and move on. Otherwise, please everyone learn to recognize the difference between a real emergency and a fake internet emergency and learn to back away from the latter before you get emotionally invested.

The real, underlying issue is that, for some reason, the internet is where every minor ruffled feather must turn into a worldwide catastrophe!
 

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Anyway, found this great blog entry about the whole queryfail/agentfail deal, if people are curious: http://claena1.livejournal.com/119645.html
Another fine mockage of writers ;) From being on this site alone, all I see are serious writers. How would you like it, as an actor, if someone posted your audition reel -with your face blanked out- as a way of telling people not to act like you? Unless permission is given to use a query letter to 'teach' others, then please don't do it. I swear it's frowned upon to post up rejection letters and mock those? Querying is hard enough without fearing you're going to get mocked in front of hundreds. Nameless or not, someone else mentioned someone was identified from posting their query for help here. And agenting is hard enough without getting aggressive responses from writers you tell no. I think some lessons in manners need to be dished out to a few individuals.
 

BlueTexas

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What I learned from Agentfail and Queryfail is that if you make statements in public, those statements give a pretty good insight into the type of person you are.

Which gives other people an insight into the type of person you'd be to work with.

When agents and writers sign together, they become business partners. Agentfail and Queryfail were both good tools for evaluating who you might or might not want for a business partner. Granted, Agentfail would have been better if people had used their real names.
 
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