Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And for second place, TWO referrals

The invaluable Meredith answers the phone in the Lair. If you call me, you get her. Our desks face each other, so I can see her as she talks on the phone.

This morning, I set down my coffee cup about ten seconds into this call:

Meredith: well, we set a goal of answering queries within 30 days, but often times it's much sooner.

(pause pause)

Meredith: yes, we understand Important Editor gave you Janet's name

(pause pause)

Meredith: well, yes, I review the queries first, and Janet reads them as well.

(pause pause)

Meredith: you're welcome to send your query again. It will go through the same review process it did before.


Meredith: Yes, I think you're right.

*nice southern belle phone cradle replacement*

*bear snarl*

Turns out Querier was CALLING (error #1) because we responded too QUICKLY (error #2) and thus concluded The Shark Herself had not read the query (ERROR #3.)

Compounding her three errors, she wrote back to Important Editor (#ERROR #4) to complain about this foul disrespect of Important Editor's name and referral. Important Editor, who is nothing but the soul of kindness, replied she didn't have any insight on why the querier had been rejected.

And then the Querier forwarded the entire string of emails to me (ERROR #5)

You probably know the basics of why the errors are errors. What you may not realize is that editors don't have any more insight into what agents are looking for than you do. In fact, some editors may have substantially LESS. They aren't tracking our sales, our blogs or our tweets. They're seeing what we send *them* not ALL the projects we're sending out.

I can count on one hand the editors who'd be able to tell you correctly what I'm looking for.

The way to handle referrals is like a bit of a leg up. You mention it in the query. That's IT. It doesn't get you a pass on calling, complaining, or cluelessness.

The last thing the querier said to Mer-Bear before she hung up was "well, I guess you're not the right agency for me" and that, author friends was NOT an ERROR.


Alyson Greene said...

If I wanted a job at Widget Industries and happened to know Carl who works at Widget Industries, I might say, "Hey, so I'm applying for the widget inspector position can you put a good word in?" And maybe Carl would mention it to his boss.

But if I don't get the job, or even an interview, I'm not going to call up Carl and ask why I didn't get the job. I'm certainly not going to call up Carl's boss and say "Hey! I know Carl! Didn't you hear Carl say how cool I am? Something must be wrong in your HR department, because I didn't get the job."

Laurel said...

Argh. And how soon do you think it will be before kindly editor is willing to offer her name as a boost to another querier?

It's all your fault for being too efficient.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I know you can't post them, but I wish you could post the string of emails. This sounds like something that would end up on one of those uncomfortable email sites.

Now I have the urge to call and tell Mer-bear she's doing a good job, just to give her a good phone conversation for the day. (<--- I wont actually do this; I have no desire to commit career suicide.)

Jillian said...

WOW! It never ceases to amaze me! Such arrogance on the part of the caller- I can see why you wouldn't want him/her as a client. If they act like that before they are a client, imagine how they'd act as one.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I like the bit about forwarding the emails. Reminds me of tattling for some reason. Goddamn tattle tales.


amy said...

WOW. Caller could have figured that out without a phone call. Why do people make this so complicated when YOU are not?

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

Maybe the Querier hasn't read your blog to learn some etiquette about sending queries.
Maybe you should make it a prerequisite... Hmm...

Ari said...

It just seems to me that anyone (with or without a recommendation) who cared enough about his work and about putting his best foot forward would know what an agent is looking for, what that agent's likes and dislikes are, what that agent's query preferences and turnaround times are (and a whole host of additional info) IF he had performed due diligence by searching the agent's website and (finally) by making darned sure his query passes the shark test.

But, of course, that's just my untried opinion.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I just don't understand the logic of forwarding you the string of emails between the querier and the editor. In my head, it's like, "See, Editor totally referred you! And I told Editor that you rejected me! Tattle tattle tattle!"

Of course, it could have been entirely different in the querier's head, but I don't get it. What did she want to accomplish? Does she think Editors are like your bosses, and you'll get in trouble?

P.I. Barrington said...

Talk about lack of professional courtesty! I'd be disappointed in a rejection, who wouldn't, but didn't the caller comprehend that behavior and attitude would not only make you the wrong agency for them but most likely ALL the agencies to follow?

Simon C. Larter said...

The joke's on you. I was using an alias and a voice converter box. Ha!

Erm...hang on. Disregard that last bit. Carry on. Nothing to see here....


Keisha Martin said...

As Stephenie Tanner would say on Full House "How Rude."

Michael G-G said...

At least it was a woman this time. I was starting to think that all these clueless callers had something to do with having a Y-chromosome. (Unless it really was Simon with the voice converter.)

Jeanne said...

Sounds to me like that writer knows very well how to sabotage him/herself. And to think, they almost had an agent.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

It's strange how many clueless people there are in the world. I guess desperation makes some people do stupid things. Mer-bear does good work.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

I am constantly surprised at how clueless some people can be as they burn every bridge that has been placed before them without bothering to cross first. As someone who has not started the querying process, I promise not to follow this path.

A Funny Daddy. said...

A new telephone service, if only.

Meridith took the call.

Her expression did not change, but merely darkened as the ranting emanating from the handset intensified.

Casually, her left hand drifted to the big red button on her desk. Holding the handset away from her ear, she pressed the button delicately.

The ranting continued for a brief moment, suddenly went quiet, before being replaced by screams.

Meridith replaced the handset, a deep frowned betraying her thoughts. The sharks really were putting on a lot of weight.