Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The point of this blog, which has apparently been missed

oh, please! all you rant and rave about is how much you hate this way that writers address a label to an agent or how stupid writers look if they mention in their query where they read about an agent, and you want us to act as if we care separately about you! ha!

guess what? I don't care about you. I don't care about your agency or your boss or anything else that has to do with you. I don't give a fig about your stupid assistant's position or any or your dumb griping. the only thing I care about is writing and my novel. Until you or anyone else at an agency wants to represent my work the last thing I'm going to worry about is your supposed feelings.

This is forced marching thorough the slimy ranks of commerce for most writers. get that? You have to act as though you care about us, the people responsible for you having your job in the first place, before I'll even consider treating you as anything other than just another possible agency.

At various points people have privately suggested that I disable anonymous comments in my settings, because all of the ranters seem to be named "Anonymous." (I didn't even know that was such a popular baby name) The truth of the matter is it doesn't bother me. It's a reaction of frustration. I am, after all, the rejecter of their work, and by implication, a rejection of them as a person, because their work is a part of themselves. I'm the person you're probably going to get mad at. Various people in my MFA program have come up to me and said, "How do you do your work with a clear conscience?" The answer is always, "Well, we accept the good writers and get them published. We reject the bad ones because we can't sell their work. It's really not a moral issue."

The purpose of my "ranting and raving" (see above) is to point out the various mistakes people make that either annoy us or make the writer look stupid, and you don't want to look stupid. A query is like a job interview - you want to be wearing your best suit and answer all the questions right, because you want this person to at some point give you money, and maybe a health plan with a low co-pay.

The things I discuss here are lessons to prevent you, the writer, from shooting yourself in the foot. If you only care about your writing and don't give a lick of your time to thinking about how to present it to an agent, I don't know why you are looking for an agent and I don't know why you're reading this blog. Since I'm the gatekeeper, my "feelings" (see above again) should actually be a pretty major consideration. It mystifies me when I offer advice and people say, "Well, I'm just not going to listen to that and keep doing what I was doing, even though you just said, at great length, why I shouldn't do it." If you're a writer seeking an agent, you should probably listen to what agents and their assistants have to say.

If you just want to write, that's fine. Join an MFA program, or save money and take an adult education writing workshop at your local high school (They're about the same level of education, but the latter is less pretentious). Have fun. Write some fan fiction - I love fan fiction. But don't come to me and ask for my advice about getting a professional agent if you have no intention of listening to it.

32 comments:

JM said...

I'm guessing Nonymouse wasn't asking for advice, Rejecter. That's a longshot on my part, you realize :)

Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out what to do w/ the box of 500 #9 envelopes, (non-self-sealing). It's the smallest size they're sold in. See, it's a real nifty idea; you don't have to fold 'em when you put them inside w/ your query letter. Yes, it's the SASE! And the return letter fits just fine, too.

However, your commentary on licking envelopes, made me feel...well, contrite.

On the upside, my ql is 1 page :)

I'm loving your info, Rejecter. Great job. Extremely helpful.

Are you planning on getting a dog? You know, maybe a KY Jr.?

The Rejecter said...

A dog? In New York City? Are you INSANE? I mean, people do it, but they hire dog walkers and stuff.

Anonymous said...

If Jerkyboy/girl there is so desperately uninterested in what Miss Rejecter has to say, then why is Jerky still reading the blog?

Go write something, Jerky. You know you've got better things to do with your time than ranting and raving about Miss Rejecter (allegedly) ranting and raving.

writtenwyrdd said...

Wow, what's wrong with me that I can't see any rants or raves on this blog? Oh, wait, I wasn't looking under Anonymous. LOL Rejecter, you must have a rhino hide. I'd have blocked anonymous posts by now.

Great blog by the way.

Chris said...

Other things Anonymous doesn't seem to give a fig about:

1. Capitalization
2. Grammar
3. Writing Professionally

And if I may be so bold as to ask, what position is your stupid assistant in, anyway?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You go, girl!!

Mirtika said...

I've recommended this blog to other writing pals, just as I recommended Miss Snark and Evil Editor. I can't imagine how anyone who pursues writing fiction as more than mere hobby wouldn't be interested in what agents, editors, and anyone else in publishing has to say about the process. I linked to this blog on a recent post about queries. I think the advice is useful.

For instance, someone may rant about your ATTN comments being idiotic. But you know what? I have done that ATTN-on-the-envelope thing. I did it automatically. Habit. And people I know have done it, too, without considering that it is not needed or, worse, possibly subtly insulting to an assitant.

So, getting the perspective of folks on the inside, on the receiving side, it helps. It matters. To me, anyway.

Blog on!

Mir

shelby said...

I think our anonymous friend is a perfect candidate for the Sobol Award contest. It's all about the writing there--no pesky query letters or temperamental rejecters. If you're the best, you get an agent! And if not, two critiques! Yay! Yay!

Also, Anon might want to consider sitting in the little chair at Walgreens and getting his blood pressure checked. That kind of anger can cause all kinds of problems.

Anonymous said...

Time to call the Wambulance.

Linda said...

cyIt's just like in a restaurant. Being friendly and smiling gets good service and the person remembered. Rude behavior or copping an attitude also gets you remembered--but not in the way you want.

Krista said...

Oh, I like when bloggers in the publishing world talk about fanfiction. I write fanfics like a mad woman. I like to think this is good practice that teaches me things and given me a better sense of flow. We'll see if my next novel is better...

Manic Mom said...

I think most of the anonymous posts are hilarious because it's just proving the writer is stupid, not caring about being courteous to an agent/assistant/mailman who delivers the query/etc.etc.

I was at a writers' conference once and the discussion was on marketing your book. A woman in the audience sounded exactly like this anon commenter (or is it commentor? Hmmm...). She said she was too busy writing to have to worry about marketing her books and she didn't have time to do both, and wouldn't ever do both.

I wanted to ask her what she had published, cuz I was bettin' nothin'.

mkcbunny said...

I don't know how assistants and agents face this kind of idiocy every day. Especially people like The Rejecter, who offer inside advice from "behind the curtain." Writers should be grateful to get such help instead of smugly insisting on being assholes to other human beings thinking it'll get them somewhere.

Craig Steffen said...

Re: M(r/s) oh, please!: It looks like somebody needs a nap.


To Miss Rejecter:
I agree with some of the other comments here; you have the patience of a saint. I have found your blog interesting and informative thus far.

Keep it up!

NoraDevius said...

I just wanted to say thank you for all the useful information you give in your blog. I’m looking forward to your next posts!

Anonymous said...

Well, no butt kissing in that email.

And quite honestly, I enjoyed the post. I'll post anonymously because speaking the truth is often a kind of death by identity in this business.

There are many ways to skin a fish. You can skin it the NYC way. You can skin it the California way. You can skin any old way, but fact is that if you don't skin it the way that the popular culture says it must be skinned, you're labeled a crazy.

Fact is, no way is better. It's just the protocol. Being a rebel myself, I don't give a rip about pleasing anyone on any coast.

Hey, anonymous. Skip the agent ride. Find a way to publish your book. Do that and then promote the hell out of it. They don't have it all figured out 100% of the time. And they're not always right. And they know it. It's about making money. Fact is, authors make them money. And there's so much butt kissing going on that it's just plain old sick.

And screw the comments about punctuation and grammar. That's why we have copy editors.

And thank you for not being one of the butt kissers. I appreciate it.

shaggy dog said...

writers are a bunch of crazies.

i know this because i am crazy. and i write. and i read the same handful of blogs as every other crazy here. i spend countless hours reading these blogs under pretext of "learnin bout the biz" when really, i should be working on my query. it's a sickness.

even so, i don't understand people who overidentify with miss snark to the point where they call you "miss" (when your first name is clearly "the") or make in-type poodle jokes or talk about clueguns or some such.

i think they are all just being lonely and should get up from the computer and go play with their 3D friends. but then i realize that i know all of their crappy jokes so really, i'm just like them, except i have no 3D friends and can't make 2D friends because, as a 3D person, i secretly look down on the dimensionally challenged.

instead, i leave comments on the handful of blogs i read. since other bloggers use comment moderation, most of my posts never see the light of day. this is probably for the best because i am actually very mean-spirited, though usually i try for tongue-in-cheek, which, since i am an asshole, does not leave a good taste in my mouth.

i am also poor (did i mention i was a writer?) and cannot afford capital letters. i understand this annoys some people (or one person some times), but to each his "yanno," i say.

i guess what i'm saying is you should turn on comment moderation. i think for every self-medicated, circumlocutory crazy like me, there is a crazy with a grab bag of mean words, a hatful of unkind sentiments, or maybe a gun.

your blog is great.

Anonymous said...

OH, come on, Shaggy.

The world of publishing is bigger than the world of agents. It just that no one gets it. MJ Rose got it. She rose beyond all that. Yeah, she's the exception, I know that.

But it can be done. And it is being done. Sadly, not enough.

And you are as important as anyone else. Really, you are. It's not a club, although it really is a club mentality.

tinkerbell said...

in reply to the OP:

> the only thing I care about is writing and my novel.

Every great writer cares deeply about society and the human condition. They care about people so much that they have to write about them. They are extremely sensitive and perceptive, and have developed their craft to the point where they are able to share their perceptions with others through their writing, in a compelling and entertaining manner.

Anyone who is so up their own arse that ALL they care about is their own novel, to the point where they feel rudeness to others is acceptable, is never going to make a great writer.


Also...whilst understanding the necessity for certain people in the industry to blog anonymously in order to speak openly without fear of reprisals, here is a tip:

As a commentator on someone else's blog, if you feel passionately about something, say it under an identifiable username, preferably linked to your own web page so that people can see who you are.

It's the difference between standing on stage with your back turned to the audience whilst shouting into your trousers, and facing the audience and talking to them like a grown up.


> but fact is that if you don't skin it the way that the popular culture says it must be skinned, you're labeled a crazy.

I take your point anonymous. The nuts and bolts of the problem are very simple though. Do unto others as you would be done by, ie treat others with the same courtesy and consideration with which you would like to be treated yourself.

Anonymous said...

What I can't understand is why the anonymous posters who tell us 'the only thing I care about is my writing' are always the same ones who don't begin sentences with capital letters, and who can't punctuate.

When they're called on this, the response is generally 'don't be a grammar Nazi' or 'that's what we have copyeditors for'.

I just don't get it.

If you care about your writing, you care about the words you choose, and the way you assemble them to form sentences. Always. Online, in print, or in a private notebook.

That's what writing is. That's all writing is.

If you're a writer, you will care about the details, and it will bother you when you get them wrong.

If you don't care about punctuation and grammar, you are writing badly - and you will continue to write badly until you do care about them.

It's that simple, and it's non-negotiable.

Anonymous said...

Block anonymous posts? How else would I be able to say this? Hi.

JDuncan said...

Curious how anon can only care about writing, his novel, and finding an agent, but then turn around and have this kind of attitude. Seems a wee bit counterproductive. You may not care about their feelings much, but you sure as hell better remember they have them, and act accordingly. I suspect you are going to find it a long road to being published if this is going to continue to be your though process. You don't have to be a butt-kisser to be polite, just respectful, which you seem to be in short supply of.

Of course this post may have been put up just to inflame the blog comments, as it appears there are a few out there who get great joy out of doing so. Anyway, glad you have a thick skin, Rejectergirl!

jnr said...

kinda funny, kinda sad. it's amazing to me that anyone could read your blog or miss snark's, without immediately understanding that your intention is to be helpful.

this kind of attitude may help the writer in question finish a manuscript. but it's not going to do much get an actual book out there.

if Nonymous reckons you're being overfinicky or harsh or judgemental? god forbid Nonymous ever has to deal with an editor.

writtenwyrdd said...

The whole point of this blog is to share an insider's point of view so that we, the writers, can finesse our approach in querying agents. Or so it seems to me.

Sue said...

Well, ranterperson is feeding my conviction that there are two kinds of writers out there--craftsmen interested in learning how to tell/sell a story and twits who haven't yet figured out that "writing as therapy" is fine only as long as you don't let anyone other than your therapist read the stuff.

This is a business, ranterperson. At your place of business you would be sharing tales of woe with laughter if a potential customer/client treated you the way you treated Rejecter.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Oh, I love it when writers go all pretentious and uppity. "If you aren't extra nice to me, I'm not going to let you read my stuff."

Sigh. You know, that kind of attitude isn't welcome in any industry. Publishing is no different. Be nice, folks. That's the best you can do.

Hope said...

I'm pretty sure that Anonymous isn't a great tipper when he goes out. He's also the guy that tells potential agents that he's the next Dan Brown.

Don't worry, babe. Normal people get your point.

CMonster said...

I'm reading a book on seduction (for characterization purposes, of course), and one of the things they stress over and over is attention to the other person, what they like, how they react. This is how to treat people, and readers, who, you know, are people too. Maybe it's cool to not care what the authorities think, but you better care about the effect you're having on your readers. Unless, you know, the rest of humanity is too much of a bother, in which case, get off the frickin internet and move to a desert island.

Marcia said...

While I don't really agree with treating anyone this way, I can also see some underlying merit in anonymous' post. In this blog I've seen a lot of references to writers as being annoying or stupid. They've also been made out to have shady intentions when they are probably trying to follow honest (albeit contradictory to yours) advice they've probably heard another agent/editor give.

I think the biggest piece of advice I can give anyone following various blogs is that there are NO universal truths. What works for one agent/assistant/editor, will inevitably bug the crap out of another. Do your research.

I'm a bit taken aback by the amount of general...distrust for writers expressed throughout this blog. I highly doubt an aspiring writer sets out to annoy anyone or to make mistakes (which no matter how you dice it, are INEVITABLE). And no, I don’t condone trying to trick your way onto the desk of an agent.

I appreciate your willingness to try and educate the masses, but honestly, when writers are valued by the amount of $$$ they can earn an agent – how can you be offended if the opposite is also true?

Anonymous said...

bUt dont yoo GET it?

eye wOz tell1ng y00 hOW MuCh I DONT CARE bowt what Y00 think!

WHY DONT Y00 LISSEN WHEN I TELL YOO HOW MUCH I DONT CARE ABOWT YOO!

I WILL T3LL @LL MI FRIENZ on MYSPACE about wot a beyatch yoo R

wEn Im top writter yoo will b cryin n ill tell OPRAH thet yoo SUX

PS Please find complete MS of my second novel attached. I have provided the pictures too.

Anonymous said...

You've got to have a sense of humour about this stuff.

Please don't block anonymous comments! I do have a blogger page but since it's to do with a specific part of my life (weight loss), I never link it when I'm commenting on non-weight loss blogs. We're not all morons!

Writerious said...

As the last anonoymous poster pointed out, the pathetically funny part about the original Anonymous and all his ilk is that on one hand he's ranting about those cruel, unfair philistines with no sense of taste are "controlling" or "dominating" the industry, runining it for all "real" writers of genius, and at the same time are busy shopping their own (usually pathetically bad) novel around.

Naturally, they're getting rejected not because their writing is so vile it cause paint to peel and small children to cry when read aloud, but because no one can recognize that they're really geniuses.

Naturally.