Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dodging bullets for fun and profit

Prima facie evidence that Jessica Faust is nicer than I am can be found on her BookEnds LLC blog post today.

It amuses me to no end when people seem to think that asking for more information, or asking for it in a certain way is a burden. Here's my response to that: don't query me.

Querying an agent is not a right guaranteed to you by the Nth amendment to the constitution. If you don't want to send me information the way I ask for it, don't. It's ok. I'll live. You will too.

Here's my version of pretty much the same interaction:

Ring! Ring!

Me: Hello, FinePrint.

Caller: Hello, I'd like to speak to Janet Reid.

Me: Speaking.

Caller: I'm looking at your website where it says not to call.

(Pause for the irony of this to perhaps dawn on caller, but no such luck)

Caller: It also says you don't want to miss out on anything.

Me: (thinking, yes, I know what's on my website, I wrote the bloody thing) yes?

Caller: Well, I have something that's unlike anything else ever done before!

Me: You'll need to send a query in writing. Email is best.

Caller: oh. But let me just tell you a little bit about it

(Pause for caller to drone on for some time, while I open and sort query letters paying no attention to what caller is saying)

Silent pause

Me: You'll need to send a query in writing. Email is best.

Caller: Ok, well, that's fine. I'll put (redacted) in subject line.

Me: That's fine, just email it to me.

Caller: I'll put a link in the email to my website with the book on it.

Me: I don't click on links, please just send a query letter.

Caller: Why won't you click on a link?

Me: I'm not going to discuss this with you further.

Caller: (in a tone that conveys he'll have nothing further to do with ME, thank you very much) Bye!

Me: (not-so-silent-laughter)

Now, the difference between Jessica and me? She clearly feels bad when this kind of thing happens. Not me! But like I said: she's nice. Me, I'm cruel enough to make werewolves dance!


DebraLSchubert said...

"Me, I'm cruel enough to make werewolves dance!"

I have a fabulously nice rejection from you that proves otherwise. (Is "fabulously nice rejection" an oxymoron?)

Laura D said...

No need to feel bad, I love the sarcasm. I used to wonder at people who would walk by an aisle full of pens to come to the customer service counter to ask where the pens were. Seriously, the whole aisle!
I had tons of laughs at people behaving stupidly in customer service. BTW-How many pieces of chicken come in a 10 piece bucket has always been my favourite question!

Eric said...

"Cruel enough to make werewolves dance" is an awesome line. Seriously though, I have to agree with you on this. And I have not yet had the opportunity to submit a query (since I'm still working on my MS), but I can't believe how many people still get it wrong. I guess I shouldn't be stunned, but holy cow people. Anyway, thanks for providing the smile.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I heart dancing werewolves. :)

David said...

In other words, "I know it says not to call, but obviously that doesn't apply to me."

I bet there are books out there that tell people to ignore the rules and be aggressive because that's how you get doors to open for you, etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I would survive without this blog, I really don't!

(Dances With Werewolves sounds like something I should be a part of)

DeadlyAccurate said...

You're still nicer than I am, because I'm pretty sure my exchange would've ended like this:

Caller: I'm looking at your website where it says not to call.

Me: That's correct. ::click::

Alexander Field said...

I might possibly be even more rude than you were. I think I would hang up the phone fairly quickly with a rude comment of some kind. Read the web site again! It's less than ironic, it's retarded.

Dana said...

I completely agree with DeadlyAccurate. I think you're losing your edge Janet; that was far too nice. :)

Jaded Jennifer said...


Oh wait. I'm not a werewolf.

I think the thing that irritates me more than anything is the extreme lack of common sense that seems to be spreading. We've got a pandemic going on and it's been around a whole lot longer than swine flu. It's called Stupiditis and I see it more and more every day. Only known cure is a swift smack to the back of the head with a frying pan. Which is really hard to do over the phone, by the way.

I really wouldn't call you cruel. I'd say you're fed up. I can relate to that.

BuffySquirrel said...

You're probably right, David. I used to have a friend who was convinced you could never get anything done without shouting. Me, I think of the adage about flies, honey and vinegar.

AravisGirl said...

Cruel enough to make werewolves dance?


You think this person would realize when it says Don't Call, it means Don't Call.

Margaret Yang said...

The thing I hate is that this clown makes the rest of us writers look bad. Since we writers can't slap him, we're very happy when an agent does it for us.

Lumpy Dog said...

But are you cruel enough to make them shave? That's my question.

Laurel said...

Are you deliberately throwing Jessica Faust under the bus? Now every idiot who can't be bothered to follow protocol will query her before you. That really is cruel.

Janet Reid said...

My evil plan for world domination...revealed!!

Anonymous said...

I don;t get why writers randomly call up agents. its so ridiculous and completely defeats the purpose. Plus it really is easier to sell a book in writing than to ramble on incoherently over the phone.

Henri said...

Cruel enough to make werewolves dance. Mmmm! That sounds interesting. Would you consider being my agent. Can I call you about this.

Sun Up said...

I'm still laughing.