Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Friday Night at the Question Emporium

Vital situation to all writers. I queried nine agents, and have had rejections from five on my contest novel entry. I cannot prove, or disprove, that the potential agents did not Google my name. At current count, there are 1,235 of me in this country. Some are teachers, some are drug dealers. Sometimes, these people make the news.

The top one in the news right now, is the April Brown in Washington state, with the Charity Auction site, and her plagiarism suit brought about by Linda Ellis for sharing an email chain poem on her website. As you can see, an agent pulling this up, and not reading it could determine an automatic rejection for me.

What can I do in my query letter to differentiate me from all the other April Browns who show up in Google search? This can happen to other writers too.

Oh I LOVE seeing what writers are obsessing about other than..yanno...writing.

For starters, we're not going to google you at the query stage.  Right now you're lucky to hear back from us at all (yes, I hate that practice of No Response Means No and I do NOT subscribe to it but a lot of good and reputable agents do---dunderheads all.)

When we google you is when we're serious about taking you on.  First intimation of that is we ask for a full manuscript.

If you're worried about all the other people with your name the first thing to do is make sure I can find YOUR website. The one that tells me you live in Peoria, not prison. And you run a cat rescue facility, not a cat house.

You do this by signing your letter:

Thank you for your time and consideration,

April Brown
YOUR website
YOUR twitter handle
YOUR blog address

That way, I click on those.

And chances are I'm not going to google you at all unless you tell me something I think I need to verify independently.  Those kinds of things are:

(1) I was nominated for a (fill in the blank award)
(2) I'm published (with no title or publisher listed)
(3) I survived the sinking of the Titanic (or other amazing news-related stories)

If you're TRULY worried about this, invest in attending writers conferences where you can meet the agents face to face.

But really, quit worrying about this.  Write the best novel you can. Write the best query you can. Stake out your front lawn in cyberspace.  That's really all you can do.

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