Tuesday, February 3, 2009


On my perusal through various agent's blogs this morning, I came across a little post from the Caren Johnson agency that just boggles my mind:
How Not To Query.
Briefly, a writer who was querying agents used the same email and just kept forwarding it on, so that the address of every single agent that came before Caren Johnson was listed above the actual body of the email, meaning the poor person who read the email had to scroll down and down and down to find the letter. And then? It wasn't even a genre they represented.
I don't understand these people. I treat this whole writing gig as a business interaction. I strive to remain professional and level-headed. I do my homework. I want the agents to know I know who I'm querying, what they represent, how they like their query letters/proposals/submissions to be presented, because literally every second agency wants something a little bit different. Some want only a query letter. Some want a query and synopsis. Some want both of those as well as the first chapter. Some want the first five pages and a query letter. It doesn't make any difference. I give them what they ask for because I want them to take me seriously. And also, to do otherwise would be a waste of my time and theirs.
So what are these people, like the one mentioned above, thinking when they go about doing these things? It partly makes me frustrated because I just think if there was some way to weed out these people who don't bother doing background research, who send in whatever they feel like, who reply to form rejections with abusive emails, who serial-query agents over and over until they become spam, who apparently have no concept of what it is to act in a professional capacity, then maybe, just maybe, the percentage of us who follow the rules and are actually very serious about this industry might have an easier time of it.
That's my rant for the month.
Song: Heavy Heart by You Am I


Justus M. Bowman said...

"That's my rant for the month."

Only one per month? Don't feed the stereotype. ;)

I understand what you mean, but we just have to keep trying and hope one day people will recognize those who deserve to be recognized.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Wow - how unprofessional. * shudder *

The Dribbler said...

There's some extraordinary behaviour that goes on it seems. No wonder agents become exasperated.

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