Tuesday, March 27, 2007

In Which People Do More Dumb Things

Everyone once in a while some new stupid idea comes along that we legitimately have never seen before. It's a new and fun occurrence - the first time.

Opening some guy's unsolicited three chapters (not the end of the world), I read the query, which began with, "I had the pleasure of meeting you at the _____ Conference." In fact, it was the same conference name that had been written on the envelope, which I had ignored.

Now having just completed going over all of my boss' expenses for the last year to enter them for tax purposes, I think I can safely say what business-related trips she has taken, because she kept the receipts. I turned to her and said, "Did you attend ____ Conference?"

"Oh, no. I was on the list, but I cancelled way in advance."

Clearly the guy had just gone down the list of names of all of the agents supposedly attending the conference and hit them all up with queries, hoping it would be an "in." Well, it is an "in" even if we don't remember you, provided we did actually attend the conference and did actually meet a ton of people we wouldn't remember. So, be more careful like that, or end up looking like a jackass.

18 comments:

Josh said...

Course, it could've said, "Hi. I was the guy who camped outside your bathroom stall until you agreed to let me send this to you." That's a meeting you never forget.

Kanani said...

Maybe, maybe not. There are people who get confused. Best to just let it slide, look at the work being offered.

Anyway, people have done even worse to get their foot in the door. Lucky you, he didn't say, "I knocked up your assistant."

Anonymous said...

Kanani:

Naw. I think he was being a dishonest scumbag.

Either way, it doesn't matter, since the work has to measure up even if he has met the agent.

Tessa said...

An invite to send earned at a conference is memorable -- to the writer, at least. And most times the editor or agent will give that person a business card. I've been to some pitch sessions where an agent has given a special "to be enclosed" note that let her know she really, really did meet with the writer.
I asked, and she told me a story similar to the one you noted, and commented if she'd met and agreed to read all the submissions people claimed, she'd be doing nothing but.
So yeah, people lie. A lot. It just amazes me that they think they're the first to come up with the scheme!!

Richard said...

Is what he did really any different from someone who writes a book using Coles Notes instead of actually reading the book?

Humans are surprisingly deceitful and dishonest. They claim to have done things they have never done; they inflate credentials on resumes - they lie, exaggerate, omit and imply constantly.

Like people who claim to have seen the Indian Rope trick, he may not even be aware that he is lying. It may just be ingrained in his feeble mind that, yes, he was there and, yes, he met your boss.

Kanani said...

So, did his writing measure up?

(My hunch is "no.")

And will your reply start with:
"Dear Scumbag,"

Anonymous said...

Caught in the act - I like that. I'm sick of liars.

j h woodyatt said...

Please make sure all your colleagues know this joker's name.

Anonymous said...

The problem is by being a dishonest weasel, he set the bar much higher for his work. If you think your work needs a 'trick' to get noticed, you're probably better off using that cunning on a rewrite.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark has nitwits.

The Rejecter has jackasses.

You go girl!

Bernita said...

I remember being so pleased to be able to write "requested" on an envelope - and then found out that some writers fake that as well.
Bastards raise the bar for us all.

Dave said...

That's so despicable and rotten.

I hope you simple sent the SASE back with a "sorry" ...

Please don't reward the jackasses of the world.

nitwitness said...

If I peek in your window in the middle of the night, waving my manuscript, does that work better?

December Quinn said...

Unless some nefarious soul stole your boss's identity at the conference...
which of course didn't happen, but what a writer's/agent's nightmare that would be.

Thomas said...

Dumb people exist to make intelligent people look better.

Davy said...

Sadly, the incident you describe wouldn't so much as move the veracity needle a fraction of a millimeter out here in TinselTown.

There is so much concentrated bullshit being traded back and forth in the entertainment industry, that a person in Hollywood claiming to have met somebody somewhere--as a means of getting his foot in the door--is so harmless and benign, it almost qualifies as telling the truth.

phantom logoff said...

Is the agent is question SURE he/she didn't attend this conf? From what I hear, most pitches are received over drink #3 or 4 or 40 on a bar stool, which means if you don't drink, fuhgedaboudit.

Maybe s/he DID go and just doesn't remember.

Judy Schneider said...

Acts like this dilute out the efforts of those of us who actually do meet editors and agents at conferences and then follow up with an invited submission.

I guess it's similar to how shoplifters have made it more difficult for the rest of us to return legitimately purchased items.