agentfail – Let’s Discuss

2 Apr

Jessica Faust at BookEnds (is she tired of me linking to her yet?) decided to give writers a chance to have their own anonymous agentfail after #queryfail on twitter. It got a little messy. Unfortunately, there were a lot of angry rants thrown into some valuable nuggets that deserve discussing. Hopefully agents will grab the good stuff and do some blogging this week and next. There’s a lot of things I’d love to see them address.


While anyone who has queried for more than “just a few” knows, we all have our own personal agentfail. No, you won’t be hearing about mine and I’ve already discussed my query expectations HERE. Please note, I said MY EXPECATIONS, not the reality or even the norm.


But, I thought I’d take a few minutes to grab from agentfail a few of the things I hope we hear back on from the agents.


The overwhelming comments of the seemingly same were:

  • Please either confirm receipt of query OR send rejection
  • If you request pages, please send a rejection, even if it’s a form
  • Post clear data on your website
  • Follow your own stated standards
  • And lot’s of miscellaneous comments about Twitter and blogging
  • Keep in touch with your current clients


I have to say, I believe all the agents and agencies I follow have great reputations and deal fairly with the issues stated — although I have no way of knowing about the last — BUT, even the best agencies do some of these. I understand the idea behind not sending R’s for queries, but can honestly say as a writer, I’d rather get a cut and paste form rejection than eternal limbo. I know agents are busy. I even know what it’s like to deal with queries (what would you call resumes? they’re job queries) but this one is my sticking point. I’d like to know I should cross you off the list for that project. I also understand agents are busy. I get that. But, I have to say, when there are so many people who are working full time and have a family they can’t neglect WHILE writing and polishing an entire book …. yeah, we know busy as well.


Comments I didn’t agree with were varied and numbered. For instance, I have no issue with people blogging or twittering. It gives me an idea of your personality – which, lets be honest, we all want someone we can build a successful work relationship with. And, seriously, you aren’t killing a few minutes here and there at your job? If you weren’t, how quickly would you burn out?


A note (if anyone cares) I would be careful what I blog about. Personal beliefs that may be offensive to others (at least 2 mentions of that), issues about health or family that show an ongoing lack of work time (several mentions) and I’m so hungover (I laughed at that one, but then guessed yeah, not in the work place) — well, I can see where those should be skipped – I understand everyone drinks too much occasionally, but I hope you aren’t reading my query with the lights pounding on your skull. Like I said, this is all of our workplaces. My guess is, these are NOT the norm. My fear is, agentfail made it feel like they were. There were several people who hadn’t started or who were just starting to query and mentioned being “afraid” — Well, starting to query is frightening enough without compounding the fear of sending your work into the world with the fear that all agents are horrible people.


That just isn’t true.


I’ve had one bad experience and one disappointing one – and a whole lot of positive and great ones. Every agent I’ve personally spoken with has been pleasant and professional. Maybe I’m just lucking out, but I doubt it.


What I hope is that agentfail and queryfail do one thing –> make both sides of this situation realize we’re in this together and to consider that we’re ALL busy and ALL working toward the same goal, publishing great books.


Thoughts? Comment? Anger or Frustrations? – and yes, no names please here either.

3 Responses to “agentfail – Let’s Discuss”

  1. Melissa Blue April 2, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    I’ve been watching the train wreck and have to say the really good fails are being buried with all the other fluff complaints. The number one offender is just getting a response, period. I think after some many writers have spent time reading agent/editor blogs we now understand how busy you are. We also now understand that this thing we do is a business. So, in a business you respond. Yay or Nay or just an auto response saying you received our e-mail.

  2. briaq April 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I agree. Its a shame it got so heated. I almost feel like a poll might have been better – all the ones I marked above, a couple of others that got hit here or there and an “other” category.

    It did get people talking tho 🙂


  1. Publishing Blogs Weekly Round-Up « Luv YA - April 3, 2009

    […] at BookEnds opened up the comments on her blog for an agentfail day. I already blogged about it HERE and then, when all the anger started to grate on me did a little agentwin post HERE. A couple of […]

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