Monday, May 23, 2005

What's Wrong With This Picture?

You know, last night I worked from 10:30 pm until, oh, about 1 am on answering queries. Here's what I found in my inbox as a reply to one of my "passes" on a project:


Well, good, what a relief not have to give away fifteen percent on a couple of books that'll sell themselves anyway, in the right venue.

No further comment except to say this--haven't we had a long discussion on this blog about how an agent may reject a writer the first time only to offer representation the second? If that's the case, wouldn't you say that the above reply wouldn't be the wisest course of action? :)
Deidre

17 Comments:

Blogger Bonnie Ferguson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 9:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Bonnie Ferguson said...

Somebody actually said THAT???

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 9:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ellen Fisher said...

*Snort* How fortunate that you didn't offer to represent a person with so little sense of professionalism, huh?

Honestly. Some people have absolutely no clue.

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 9:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

The thing that would surprise you is not that agents receive replies like this one, but just how often it happens. :) D

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 9:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Oh. My. God.

Not only is that incredibly rude, but the writing community seems so small . . . I can't imagine.

And that happens often?!

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 11:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Deidre: As a reformed bridge burner (ah, the passions of youth) I can only hope the writer of that email will come to her senses and realize her poor choice. I do think the illusion of distance that comes from communicating via email causes thoughtless behavior. I'll just throw in that my experience with The Knight Agency has been completely positive. You courteously asked me to resend the query that got lost in cyberspace, asked for my 3 chapters and sent me along to Nelpele, who has also been great. Anyway, I'm sorry to hear you have to deal with this kind of thing all the time. Here's a cyber-hug.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 12:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

You're all so wonderful! Honestly, I thought that sharing it might be an interesting jumping off point for conversation here. I think it points out an interesting phenomenon and that is the perception that agents are somehow the enemy and that they relish rejecting authors. The fact is we are eager (obsessively so) to find new talent. That's how we make our living and how we make a name in this business--by discovering wonderful new authors. I never forget what one of my earliest editor mentors (and yes, I not only had agent mentors, but editor mentors as well) told me, advice that has stayed with me my entire agenting career. She said: it only takes one book. One fanastic bestseller and you've made your entire career. Or even one really strong book and you've made your career. It only takes one book.

Sounds like a new blog posting in the making doesn't it?

At any rate, the agent's quest is very much at odds with the viewpoint that we are out to massacre the confidence of authors, that we're killers of innovation, or whatever it is that The Angry Rejected often seem to think.

So, there you have it. My thoughts for today. Off to bed...
d

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 12:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Ellen Fisher said...

To be honest, I can admit to a teeny twinge of sympathy for the Bridge Burner. It's terribly frustrating when you send a manuscript you love out into the world, only to get thousands of rejections saying, "I just don't feel quite enthusiastic enough about this project..." Of course this is something an author has to learn to deal with, but it IS hard.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 7:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kristen Painter said...

That person made the unfortunate mistake of putting their thoughts into an email and clicking the send button. Sure, you might feel that way but for crying out loud, don't put it into print!

Although, it does make for interesting reading. ;o)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 8:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jaci Burton said...

Well I started to reply to this, but then it ended up about 6 paragraphs long *g*

Maybe I'll just blog about it instead.

My only comment here....OMY

;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 9:14:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jenny Turner said...

I have to share my experience with The Knight Agency after reading this and the comments :)

Five years ago, after spending about two (of the three) years writing my first novel, I wrote my very first query letter--and sent it to The Knight Agency. I had been told, and told, and told again that I would receive a gazillion rejections before I had any 'takers.' I was prepared for the rejection. But instead, I got a lovely letter requesting a partial.

When that happened, when I returned to the writing course I had used to craft the query, and shared the awesome news, I was so STOKED!! To me, this was a perfect example of the universe saying, "You Were Meant to be an AUTHOR!"

Unfortunately, I was better at writing query letters than novels at that time and the end result was a 'pass'--and a good pass too because that manuscript is still unpublishable.

But I wanted to share my experience as a sort of 'opposite' to that letter, because--well, it made me remember fondly my very first rejection! LOL! At the time, I thought "One down, a gazillion to go--I'm on my way!!" *GRIN*

Warmly,
Jenny:)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 9:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

I'm with Kristen. The problem is pressing SEND. My initial response to any pass is always along the lines of "Hmph. Boy, will *you* be sorry!" followed by half an hour to several years (at last count) worth of soul searching to lead to "Yeah, that's fair." But you never SEND your snark. Save it for the manuscript, where it will do some good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 12:51:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous jami said...

This is one of those emails you write, take a deep breath, and DELETE. It's funny to me too, since I can vouch that the form rejection I received from you a couple of years ago it not only polite, but also arrived within two weeks. I can't tell you how many query black holes my stuff has fallen into. Sure, all rejection is disappointing, but at least you have closure and can move on.

One question - and call me sexist - but was this person a man or a woman. Somehow it really strikes me as a guy thing to do. In any case, it's someone who hasn't been at this for very long. He/she's going to have to learn a little impulse control!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 6:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Trace said...

Wow. Talk about burning bridges!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 8:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Trace said...

You know what I find the most difficult though? Not so much the rejection, which can be difficult (for me the rejection of a query is far less painful than the rejection of a partial, which is less painful than the rejection of a full) is the reaction of friends and family.

They can never understand why the book isn't published lickity split. They figure that if you write a book all you have to do is send it off to a publisher and it sells. The unsaid feeling, which you can read in their eyes, that 'boy, your book must suck if it *still* hasn't sold' is hard to take.

Not everyone gives me that feeling. Of course some are very supportive. It's just the ones who don't have a clue. They just don't understand.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 8:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Anna Lucia said...

Good grief. I can't believe anyone would actually send that!

Okay ;-) I can. But it never ceases to amaze me. Of course rejection is a disappointment, but that's the conversation you have with your friends, not with agents and editors.

I know where you're coming from, too, Trace! Every time I get a rejection my mother (who is generally wise and wonderful and very supportive) takes it as a personal affront. When she asks, "But why?" I say, "Because I'm not good enough yet."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Richard Carbajal said...

As an illustrator/writer... I have been at this for a few years and never have I seen such giant leap of destruction from someone looking for representation.

Early in the game, I learned not just professionalism but kindness, respect, etc. opens more doors. While I sought representation in the illustration field, I was told many times not to waste my time regarding such a venture... agents simply won't take new artists no matter what. Fuel for me to press on. I learned many things... always reply with a "thank you" and "can you recommend someone". This little reply sends agents running to help. Agents are human beings with the desire to want to help and if approached the right way, they will answer you with kindness and respect. Many a month I spent emailing back and forth to agents... soon one giant agency, in the eyes of illustrators, took pity and recommended someone. Alas, I had an agent. After 3 years of not securing work (not the agents fault but the timing, I say this as I still consider this agent a friend), I began the horror of looking again and with nothing more than "It saddens me to leave the agent I am with, but I must work in order to sustain a roof over my family's head," you can imagine the outpour? I've had an artist rep for over a year and am extremely happy with her. As I pass this tale to others who may not know, while I continue on my journey to secure a literary agent, please remember…always be kind.

It's tough enough to have to get rejected, it is just as tough to reject someone.

"Sooner or later we will be noticed, or we will become good enough to be noticed." ––R.P. Carbajal

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 at 5:02:00 AM EDT  

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