Hi-ho, lazy blogger here! *waves*
Yeah, I know, I haven’t posted in a while. It’s actually been sunny and (gasp) warm up here in the Great White North of Nowhere, and when that happens this early in the season — well, you don’t worry about global warming, or remind yourself that you have a daily word count goal, or even take naps. You get your cabin-fevered arse outside and soak up some vitamin D, baby.
Which is all to say yes, I suck, but no, I’m not sorry. I love it when I don’t have to wrap up in ten layers just to take the dog out.
In any case, I’m late to this party, but I was reading this post a few days ago — more specifically, the comments following this post — and I was a little blown away by some of them. So much so that I feel compelled to blog about it here. The story, in short, is thus:
A while back several agents and editors decided to participate in #queryfail, where they tweeted, over the course of a day, about the queries they received that did not make the cut, and why they didn’t. This went over well in some circles and took off like a lead balloon –not the awesome Robert Plant kind, either– in others. After which there was Much Hullabaloo, several agents blogged about the subject, and Jessica Faust over at Bookends decided to launch the above-mentioned agentfail, where writers list their querying and/or client experiences that were a total turn-off.
And then the flood. I mean, wow.
Some of the agentfail comments had helpful suggestions, positive feedback, and constructive criticism, which is great. Some were just understandable expressions of frustration with the process. And some of the less pleasant things posters described sound truly horrendous. I can only be grateful that my overall querying experience was a kinder and gentler version of The Quest than a few of my fellow writers seem to have gotten stuck with.
Some, I felt, were just bitter and not a little unreasonable.
Now (–yes, here it comes, the the inevitable qualifier–), I had plenty of writer-misery in the process of searching for The One. I kicked my share of kittens over rejections that stung or outright sliced (*ahem.* metaphorically speaking, of course, about the kittens). I agonized over my MS only to get that dreaded Dear Author email, and no doubt about it: some things about this process suck rocks.
That said, I’m more than a little bewildered by the (largely implied) opinion voiced in several of these comments: that agents don’t have personal lives, or other components to their jobs –fairly important components, speaking selfishly as a client– outside of reviewing and responding to queries.
I know rejection sucks. I know how crushing it can be to spend so much time and effort writing a novel only to be instantly relegated to “slush” in your efforts to get the damn thing published. There’s nothing like being reminded that your unique snowflake of a creation is one of hundreds, possibly thousands, in the pile, to take the wind out of your sails. But taking a form rejection –or a complete lack of response, for that matter– personally does nobody any good, particularly the writer of said unique snowflake. And expecting an agent to drop everything –even for five minutes, and I think we all know reading and reviewing even one chapter takes longer than five minutes unless you really don’t give a damn about what you’re doing– to tell every writer who queries them what they did right and wrong, is on the high side of unreasonable.
*shrug* IMVHO, of course.
Anyway. Rant over. Not everybody gets it right on either side of this line, but a little reason goes a long way. And the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes –agent or author– is a valuable one.