Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Query Question: I'm not sure you're good enough, when do I tell you?

 Your Imperial Toothiness,

I have a question for the blog, if possible, which is sort of related to the recent theme of incomplete information.

Suppose Agent A has your full, and after that request you discover some former clients saying concerning things about the practices at the agency to which Agent A belongs (not specifically about Agent A, but about the leadership team there and other agents).

For example, some former clients are telling really similar stories about different agents at the agency just spraying your MS at everyone with no thought or targeting, and then being evasive about giving clients their submission information. If true, these seem like big warning signs about the agency, no matter how cool Agent A seems. On the other hand, obviously you don't have the full story, only tales on the internet.

Is this the sort of thing that is OK to hold off on acting unless and until you get an offer? That is, should you just wait and see whether you get further interest and then raise the issues directly with Agent A so that you can decide once you have better information?

Or is it unethical to just wait and see, and potentially waste Agent A's time reading your full if in the end you're unwilling to take the risk that the rumours/reports are true? If you feel like there's a good chance you're just not going to be comfortable with the agency, should you just withdraw the MS?


Oh man, I love the interwebz! For all the good this new transparency has done for authors, it's also a source of the worst kind of gossip, backbiting and just plain vile lies. Also known as "the other guy's opinion."

For example, a former client says "she just sprayed my manuscript out there with no thought of targeting" is also what I might call "submit widely on the first round."

"Evasive about giving submission information" can mean "she wouldn't tell me which editor saw it at which imprint" --and after a former client called editors on their submission list, I'm a whole lot less likely to share that as a matter of course now, myself.

There are two sides to every sundered representation agreement, and both of them are completely true.


To the nub of your question: I think you're not wasting anyone's time if you have a good manuscript and an agent wants to read it.

If you've got concerns about how an agent submits manuscripts, ASK HER.  Don't EVER believe anything anyone else says. Some of the outright lies I've seen on author bulletin boards and discussion groups are flat out actionable, if anyone actually cared about what is said in those places.

Honest to god, some of the backbiting and ugly gossip reminds me of the most recent meeting of the Imperial Storm Troopers Ladies Aid Society.








57 comments:

Julia said...

One good thing about insomnia: it allows one to be the first to dive into Shark-Infested Reefs.

Last week, I posted a "Clue" analogy.

Then, to hint back to Brian Schwarz's post of yesterday, I thought it was too obscure, and I pulled it. But I saved it, and it seems awfully appropriate here. So I'm posting it again and hoping it's NOT too obscure this time.

"This whole thing is starting to feel like a game of Clue.

Only with everyone trying to figure out what everyone else is trying to figure out. "Professor Nimblewhacker SuperAgent in the Closet with Publisher DreamFizz."

All the while Professor Nimblewhacker SuperAgent is sitting there thinking, "Author JulieHoover in the Study with Lord LesserAgent DrankTooMuchLastNight and Publisher MegaBook BarnesAndNobility,"

Lord LesserAgent DrankTooMuchLastNight is riffling through his queries and periodically glancing over the rims of his half-moon glasses until he finally decides, "Nope. Author WritesSweatERotica in the Bedroom with Publisher HotJestErOmance," and hits enter, and the game starts all over again.

And all the while poor Author JulieHoover is downing Tums hand over fist sending out queries, studying Megalodon's blogs, completely unaware of the rules of the game; the players in the game; the weapons used in the game; or, really, the fact that the game even exists - only that she'd better start investigating what gifts to buy whom for Christmas.

It's all very complicated for a Bear of Very Little Brain.

Way back in the beginning when I started this, (let's all enter the Way Back Machine), I had this (admittedly naive) idea that I would... I don't know... just write my books, and it would sort of magically go away at that point.

Sigh.

Then it became clear that I was going to survive and I'd have to deal with the publishing issue myself, and I found Janet."

My point at the time notwithstanding, it really seems that the backplay gets in the way of the author's real job, which is writing good material at all stages of the game: first writing a good manuscript, then writing good queries, and then good synopses. All this other stuff - the politics and knowing who to know and how to talk to them and such - is not only secondary or tertiary, I'm not even sure it's part of the real "game," at least not when one's writing the first novel.

By the point that stuff matters, I sort of feel that one KNOWS that it matters and who it matters with. But again, I generally look at things through over-naive glasses, and admittedly purposefully so. I'd rather get bitten that way than miss out on good opportunities through my own cynicism and bias.

First things first.

Good morning everyone!

Sunfish

brianrschwarz said...

Haha! Julia, I'm very glad you posted your clue-riddled-comment! Continue to post such musings regardless of my (limited) capacity to understand them.

There are many things I can do, and a few I'm flat out terrible at -- puns, references, and scrabble top the list of terrible's.

To the OP and QOTKU -

It really CAN feel like an episode of Jerry Springer out there some days. I try to mostly avoid the commentaries by the disgruntled, if only because of how many delusional writers I've met. The sad truth is people have the most to say about other people when it's downright cruel. Especially over an anonymous internet that feels untraceable to so many.

When I'm digging for real dirt on an agent with that unsettling feeling in my gut, I go first to source zero. I message them on facebook or twitter and I flat out ask "How do you like working with Agent Toothless?"

If I can't get an opinion from a current client, I dig into the comments and ignore the angry stuff -- because odds are its garbage.

AJ Blythe said...

So I'm guessing Clue = Cluedo?

What a brilliant demonstration of the flip-side of cybertales. Thanks, JR.

I'm going to be a little hit and miss with the blog this week *sniff*. Hopefully hit more than miss.

To make sure my cozies hit the mark better than CSI does I'm studying Biometrics & Forensics and am currently on block residential. Interesting discussion when we all had to introduce ourselves and explain why we're doing the course...

"I'm Jack and I am on the facial recognition team in Dept Immigration and need to maintain my skills"

"I'm Jill and I'm with the Australian Federal Police and want to transfer to CSI team"

"I'm AJ and I write murder mysteries"

The room burst out laughing. But I can guarantee they'd all buy my book =)

Julia said...

AJ - what, now? Where do you find this stuff out?

Babel Fish

Lisa Bodenheim said...

AJ-you're the next Castle!

Julia-I enjoyed that clue game the other day too. Although I'm kinda like Brian, limited in my capacity to catch on very quick, reinforcing your comment about Bear with very Little Brain and it's complicated!

I'm glad I'm not searching for agents or publishers right now (too soon). I like Brian's take on going to the source of the discontent.

Maybe we need a snopes for authors! Help us dispel the false myths that travel around.

Amanda Capper said...

How does one join the Imperial Stormtroopers Ladies Aid Society? Does one have to be invited, or is it open to the critters? Because, due to my mother's rigid how-to-behave-as-a-proper-young-lady upbringing (bless her heart), I should be a shoo in.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

oh wait! Janet is the author's Snopes!!

Sam Hawke said...

AJ - I always thought our Cluedo was a much better name :) Do you remember the brief, ill fated TV series - i think it had a Daddo brother...

Your study sounds like a lot of fun, and a great knowledge base for writing crime!

brianrschwarz said...

AJ, you win the award for making me bust out laughing in the coffee shop this morning! They're thinking about putting my face on the wall, under the heading of Best and Most Embarrassing Regular.

I showed the baristas your comment and they laughed as well, and they gave me a pass after laughing themselves.

And Lisa, I think you missed a few letters in Snopes. Doesn't Janet pronounce it Schnoppes? And doesn't it come in peach flavors?

Also, send more gin and tonic to Carkoon.

Julia said...

Nothing clears the sinuses quite like hot cappuccino shot out the nose.

Julia said...

(And nothing says "I'm a person of tact, grace, and style," better, either.)

A burrito, Captcha? Really? At this hour? It's not even a breakfast burrito!

AJ Blythe said...

Julia, do you mean where did I find out about the course? Google is my friend :)

Sam, wasn't that some sort of game show? And yes, the study is awesome fun. CIT has a crime scene house - next week we have to go all CSI and find all the clues and evidence in a crime scene. Hmmm, Lisa's right, just like Castle *grin*.

Brian, not sure if I should be passing you a wipe or a photo frame. Here, have some rum.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Brian: and here I thought Janet was a loyal whisky drinker with a peach nose and palate. Little, ole, naive me.

Julia said...

(Hastily looking up drinks that include both whiskey and Schnappes... or if I should be looking rumors of them up on Snopes...)

Think, think...

(Oh, dear. Captcha's feeding me again. Must be because it knows I'm not writing. Captcha's my conscience.)

Har De Gar Gar Gar

LynnRodz said...

Sometimes I feel guilty spending so much time here instead of working on my WIP. I don't mean reading Janet's posts, but reading all the comments and the time spent commenting myself. Then this morning I realized this blog is good for my health. I'm guaranteed to have a laugh every single day. Today it's AJ, thanks AJ! It's said, laughter is good for the soul and for our physical well-being. So, from now on I'm not going to feel guilty for the time spent here.

Now back to today's topic, what I think is needed is a TripAdvisor for writers. We're all traveling the road to publication, so it makes sense. (Work with me here, guys!) On TA, right off the bat you get to see how many people are satisfied and how many people are not. For example, hotels. You see the gorgeous photos that the hotel puts up and then you see the real photos travelers took during their stay there. It's a real eye-opener. Not only that, each person who leaves a critique on TA breaks it down and tells you why they gave that score. (The rooms were dirty, the area of the hotel was in a bad part of town or service was excellent, etc.)

If you have 19 authors saying their agent is the cat's pajamas while one says s/he isn't worth your time, you have a good indication of what that agent is worth. If you have 10 saying good things and 10 saying bad, then you can start to ask questions. Still, IMO, the OP is jumping ahead to problems that aren't there yet.

Julia said...

Hee hee hee....
Sitting here picturing (Tee hee...) Megalodon checking her Yelp reviews. "Well, I liked The Call, but I wish I could've had breakfast and maybe some Schnapps."

Oh, dear.

Now I'm packing my bags for Carkoon. And eating Captcha Sandwiches.

Tuna Fish Sandwich

Dena Pawling said...

Many years ago when I was at a different firm than I am now, a colleague was facing court scrutiny and possible sanctions. Instead of falling on her sword, which even I have done occasionally when I mess up, said colleague decided to throw the firm under the bus. Unfortunately for her, this meant uploading a declaration of how-bad-this-firm-misled-me on PACER. For those of you who don't know, PACER is the website of the FEDERAL courts, and all documents [with certain limited exceptions, like statements of social security numbers] are visible to anyone and everyone who has an account. And anyone can obtain an account and read anything uploaded there.

Here's a recent example making the rounds of my legal sites [obvious warning, see url - NSFW]

http://www.scribd.com/doc/262792039/Fuck-This-Court

Anyway, said colleague was terminated from the firm for “not behaving as a professional.” I just looked her up on the state bar website and she's still not with a firm, because lawyers talk among themselves. There's a time and a place to gripe about your firm, and on a public FEDERAL forum, for some reason, just isn't one of them.

Job applicants who trash their former employers are also suspect. Would you want to hire someone who will trash your firm to a future firm?

Where are you obtaining this information? If it wasn't at a local chapter meeting, private email or text message, or on the telephone, I'd definitely consider the source. It's one thing to post on Query Tracker “this agent took 6 months to reject my query.” It's quite another, at least in my opinion, to talk about your former agent indiscriminately and/or in a public forum over the internet. It doesn't strike me as professional, and I'm sure agents talk amongst themselves, just like lawyers do. I would venture a guess that those writers would find it difficult to secure future representation. And I assume you don't want to be in those same shoes.

Research agents on trustworthy sites like Writer Beware. And if you're still concerned, ASK said agent privately, if/when you get a telephone call.

My 2 cents.

Julia said...

Exactly.
My.
Point.

But much more elegantly stated. (Bows to Dena Pawling).

And now Captcha has tried to feed me three times; it's 9:24; clearly, I've been in the Reef FAR too much already and have to swim.

Beta Fish

Jenz said...

When someone is assigning negative labels to others, you have to consider the source:

It's so great to meet you. The last woman I dated was crazy.

Really? That's terrible.

Yeah, I had to change my phone number!

Oh my god!

I know! She kept accusing me of dating other people. Then she'd call while I was out with them.

What?

Nothing. I know it's going to be different with you. You're special.

Jenny C said...

Julia- Enjoyed your Clue analogy!

Julie.M.Weathers said...

You know, I'm not a fan of "second-hand information". I come from a rodeo background where everyone helps each other. Rough stock riders give each other the straight dope on how a bull or horse bucks so their competition can make their best ride. Take notes, we'll be back.

Back in a former life when I wrote for a national horse racing magazine, I had an opportunity to interview a lot of people.

I called a trainer in Arizona after a big race for an interview and he said, "Julie, why are you calling me? Jim wants to know why you never call him for a story. I'm not even supposed to talk to you."

"Oops, I just figured he'd be to busy to talk to me."

"Well, he isn't. He's waiting to talk to you, here's his number."

Jim, was James Mitchum Hollywood producer and son of Robert Mitchum. After our first wonderful interview, he always called me after they won a race so I didn't have to find him.

Then I started interviewing an 18-year-old groom who bought a filly bred by Princess Kawananakoa, if you don't know her, you should. The filly was "royally" bred, but didn't look like much and he got her for a song. Then she started wiping out all the western and northwestern tracks. I asked him what he was going to do with all that money after his first big win.

"Oh, I sent most of it to Mom. Dad died and I'm the oldest of six kids. She's been selling off our ranch land to make the bills. I hope we can buy the land back if we win enough money, but mainly, I just want to take care of Mom and the kids."

He eventually bought all the land back.

Those times are golden.

Then you see the other side and it's pretty ugly. I've already told the whips and chains story, but it comes from one of those episodes.

Bob Baffert, who is a really nice guy, great interview, and great trainer, decided he wanted to train Thoroughbreds. You would have thought he'd infiltrated the elite TB world to poison every great horse who breathed the way they acted. He was completely shunned. What business does a Quarter Horse trainer have in our little sand box? Whispers, rumors, and accusations flowed.

Three Kentucky Derby wins later, four now, he is still persona non grata. No party invitation for you...you Quarter Horse trainer, you!

Luckily, he has a good sense of humor, but it irks me.

I told you we'd be circling back to rodeo, which isn't perfect, but does have a lot better attitude.

My mother was married to a rodeo stock contractor once. They split up, but she stayed in the little town where she he was headquartered. She was viewed as the woman from The Harper Valley PTA song. She, gasp, tended bar and was beautiful!

There was a Fourth of July parade coming up and Jack, rodeo stock contractor ex furnished all the horses for the dignitaries to ride. I still got along with Jack and he let me keep riding my favorite horse, so I was cleaning the horses up for the parade.

A boy from one of my high school classes came out to help and was trimming hooves. I thanked him for helping and he said, "Yes, well, you know I like you, but don't let Mom find out we were alone together."

I laughed. "Why not?"

"She thinks you're just like your mother and you're going to corrupt me."

I laughed harder. I was actually blacklisted by most mothers in town, so this didn't come as a shock. "And do you think I'm going to corrupt you?"

"God, I hope so."

LynnRodz said...

Dena, your comment opened my eyes. Great points. I renege on my 2nd and 3rd paragraphs about agents. TA is still a good service for hotels, restaurants, etc., but that's not the topic here so I'll go back to my cave and try to stay out of trouble in Carkoon. (Janet may put me in solitary confinement for that comment.)

Ardenwolfe said...

This question reminded me of a certain lawyer/literary agent who got a lot of negative attention some time ago.

I'll be honest: I marked him as a 'do not query' . . . ever . . . after I read some of the comments and listings.

Honestly? It depends on your source. If it's random gossip? Take it for what it's worth.

But if you read it on sites like Writer Beware? Consider it more carefully.

Sour grapes are one thing. But you know what they say about smoke? Research, research, research your potential agent or publisher first. That way, you don't have to bring on an extinguisher later.

Ardenwolfe said...

Oh and Dena is spot-on. That link was pure, career suicide.

Dena Pawling said...

Just to clarify, that link is recent and a different case entirely. It is NOT what my former colleague uploaded.

Julia said...

The more upset and angry one gets about something, the more one really ought to take Janet's opening quote to heart - that is, it's a great time to clamp those jaws and log the heck off until you cool down. I know a few examples of careers at least lacerated if not severed and marriages and friendships done the same way by people throwing their emotion into what often seems like the desolate and safely anonymous winds.

The internet is well populated by people just - like - you.

And just like road rage can do damage, so can internet rage.

People do things behind the wheel that would make them seem like bratty kindergartners in person, and they type things - I type things - that I'd never feel safe saying in person. The trick is to play up, not down, and make certain that when your audience suddenly becomes all too human, you don't suddenly feel all too remorseful for things you never should have said in the first place.

Words have meanings.

And nobody should know how to wield them with more accuracy, precision - or responsibility - than us.

At least, I think so.

And so, when reading reviews of anything, but especially anything writing-related, I search for professionalism, tone, and motivation - and if I get the sense that there is a personal backstory there, I tend to discount it, because it may not accurately reflect the capacity of the individual being evaluated. What it does is discredit the evaluator and his/her professionalism in my eyes.

Case In Point - a story From The Author's Perspective:

There are very few people in the world I truly loathe. Fewer than five. One or two, possibly.

There is a surgeon with whom I was once acquainted that I held in deepest loathing for decades. I seethed against this man. If it weren't for the fact that he is a brilliant surgeon who saves children's lives, I'd have dreamed of doing harm to his hands. But I only ever told a couple of people.

The root of all of this started over thirty years ago and ended in something utterly bizarre.

Finally, I emailed him last year and presented him with my twenty-odd year complaint.

He replied that he had no such memory, thought I was a gifted student, would never have done what I suggested he'd done, and had been surprised when I left his team.

I was flabbergasted. Either the man is a truly talented liar, has a terrible memory, or I was wrong. Regardless, it's a bloody good thing I didn't spew my venom all over the place as I was leaving, or I would have created a huge mess for no one - but myself.

And I try to bear that in mind when reading ratings. Everyone looks through situations with their own glasses, right or wrong, and that always skews things, if even just a little. So in the heights of emotion, usually it's best to shut up.

Even if it takes twenty-five years to get it together enough to find out what's really going on in a professional and not public forum.

Ta.

Koi Nibbling On Captcha Bread (and Ice Cream, and Sandwiches) as - once again - I failed Karen's and Colin's Basic HTML (not to say "Basic" - which has long since been outdated - class).

Donnaeve said...

Great comments.

This kind of stuff about agents/agencies reminds me of the fake book reviews which sites like Amazon and Goodreads have tried to clear up by incorporating "verified purchase" info.

Still, that doesn't mean they actually read the book, right?

I live my life by cliches, I suppose, and in this case, it's "don't believe everything you read."

I'd use my own judgement, and do like Ms. Janet suggests. Ask about the sub process if the offer comes.

Julia said...

YAY!
I'VE MASTERED ITALICS!


FEED ME, SEYMOUR! (Captcha brings on the pasta...)

Julia said...

Ironically, now I'm sitting here angst-ing (a "new" word) about which is the more correct in our lexicon:

"No one should know better than us..."

Or...

"No one should know better than we..."

And this is the kind of rabbit hole that eats my word count. And could end up with me sitting across from Megalodon in August with naught but Angels to offer. And that Just Won't Do.

Argh.

Back to Masterpiece's Mystery!

Rabbit Fish

(What to do when none of the pastas look like pasta? And then I got two food types right in a row! Captcha has an eating disorder.)

REJourneys said...

AJ: That's wonderful! I loved my forensics class, aka best science class ever. I've been thinking about taking boxing/kickboxing lessons to help with fight scenes. Of course, then all my characters would be throwing punches or kicks...

brianrschwarz: I was going to disagree with the throwing out the disgruntled people's comments, as in business, it's your negative comments that speak the truth and help you grow, but then I remembered ratemyprofessor.com (I didn't hyperlink it, it's ok).

I would always look up my professors on that site, just to get a feel of what I was getting myself into. I didn't have much of a choice in professors because of my tight schedule, but I liked to go into class prepared.

What I learned is the negative comments on there were usually from students who failed the course. They would trash the professor and you could hear it in some of their comments that they never did the work. I still minded those comments as it is best to be wary. Some of my absolute favorite professors had terrible ratings.

So, I guess that's my point to the topic. Keep the negative comments in mind, but hold your final judgment until you hear it from the horses mouth. (Or see it, I guess).

reCAPTCHA has officially lost its mind. It wanted Ice Cream. I chose the one image of ice cream. It told me I was wrong. I selected the cupcakes, and it accepted it. I know my ice cream. And those cupcakes, sir, were not ice cream.

bjmuntain said...

Dena: I read a few pages of that scribd document. I was afraid to read more.

Julie: I love you, you wanton corrupting daughter-of-a-mother. :)

Julia: It's 'us', because it's the object of the preposition 'than'.

I know people say to look at forums like the Absolute Write Water Cooler or sites like Query Tracker, and while they do have their uses, I tend not to stay long. Absolute Write, for example, can absolutely trash an agent simply because that agent hasn't responded to a query, and so-and-so heard this and this-other-writer-I-know-on-Twitter said that, etc. ... only to turn completely around a few hours later when one writer pops up and says, "This is my agent and I love her." Then others pitch in with, "Well, she responded to me," or "I heard she was pretty nice." I don't know how often this happens, because I don't hang out there a lot, but I've seen it a few times when researching agents. I trust Preditors & Editors and Writer Beware more.

As for the original poster, I'm right with Janet again. It sounds like this agent is reading a full manuscript (congrats, OP!). Now, a full ms request is terrific, but it's nowheres near a sure thing. I'm pretty sure it's still less than a 50% chance for an offer of representation, and probably much less.

Me, I wouldn't withdraw. What does it hurt to leave it with the agent? The agent reads it, and will or won't call. If the agent doesn't call and, instead, rejects it, no problem. If the agent does call, well, you've got a real, live agent on the other end of the line to pick their brains.

Talk to them about your reservations - though do it obliquely, such as, "What do you think of this business practice?" or "What is your strategy for submissions?" If you want to be direct about it, tell them you heard this about your colleagues and ask what that's all about.

And be *sure* to ask them what they would suggest you can do to improve your manuscript. Maybe do this first.

Write all the answers down, and say you need to think over a few things, and you would call back tomorrow (or in two days, or whatever feels right for you). THEN make your decision. And if you decide not to go with them, at least you've got some input on your manuscript that you can work with.

Elissa M said...

I, too, read only a few pages of the link Dena posted. I think that person had their tin-foil hat too tight.

There's not much I can add to this discussion, really. It always boils down to "consider the source". Gossip is gossip, and should never be trusted as truth.

Karen McCoy said...

Julie, your quarter horses story reminded me how one of my library school classmates thought Shetland ponies were quarter horses because they were a quarter of the size.

Which brings me to the OP: One might not know one pony (agent) from another until they talk to someone like Julie who knows.

Like Ms. Reid says: Ask.

kdjames.com said...

Very often, the person complaining reveals more about their own faults than those of the person they're bashing. The things that make you angriest tend to do so because they hold a kernel of truth you don't want to hear/admit.

I'd also advise this person to keep in mind that one writer's "nightmare" agent might be another writer's "dream come true" agent, even if the agent deals with both writers' work in the exact same manner. And while it's good advice to query widely, that shouldn't mean to query every single agent you can find without regard for whether they're a good fit for you. It's your career; do some research like that matters.

Julia said...

bj - Unless you're a conjunctionalist.

In which case, it's "we," as in:

"No one should know better than we know."

Clearly you see on which side I fall - I ended up putting us. However, I think my dearly departed Dad (of the German/Swedish Kodak Carousel) would have disagreed. He was a vehement proponent of the conjunctionalist viewpoint. Which ended up with me falling short of 50K today, because I have to go home and be mom instead of writing about a mom who is trying to save one near-drowned kid because she's chasing the ghosts of her own drowned kid.

:)

Captcha, here I come.

And RE Journeys - Captcha HAS lost its mind - it told me I was misinformed on sandwiches this morning and presented me with ice cream. Maybe it just wants us all to have ice cream because it's getting warm out. Everywhere but VT - where it was, actually, 90 degrees out last week, but is rainy and 60's today. It was snowing 3 weeks ago.

Climate Change, Anyone?

See? I'm digressing. Again. But there are only 35 comments, so I don't feel too bad about it.

(And there it is! GOOOOOOAAAAAL! Ice Cream FTW [For The Win - I initially thought it stood for Fut The Wuck, but was rapidly corrected...]!)

BTW, anyone interested in soccer and parodies, as I am, look up "Scott Sterling Goalie Soccer Parody" or "Scott Sterling North Carolina / Yale Game." I could watch that for hours.

Strangely, nobody at my son's soccer games seems to want to join me...

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

"after a former client called editors on their submission list"...

Yikes, no wonder they're a FORMER client.

Dena, holy rolling armadillos (stolen from Julie) that link reminds me of Orson Scott Card's "Empire".

So what is the "Imperial Storm Troopers Ladies Aid Society"?

I googled and found this image

Maybe it's this this

After losing myself a few clicks and glasses (what was I drinking? ) later, I think it might have to do with Wicked Lies and Alibies

Julie M. Weathers, when is your memoir going to be published?

Julia, I wish I could follow you. I read your comments but maybe I'm beyond the Atlantic pond to get it.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Angie,

Julie M. Weathers, when is your memoir going to be published?--

Probably before this fantasy and I have no plans of writing the memoir.

;)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

All I know, is that I know nothing.

Just because Hitler endorsed Beetles does not mean I wouldn't drive one. Actually I bought one for my daughter when she got her license. It was a great car.

Speculation is simply opinion without basis.



bjmuntain said...

Julia, for my sanity, I've decided to keep my grammar naziness to what is actually given, and not try to figure out if there should be another word that the writer feels should be understood.

In other words, I only understand what is on the page.

So, if you say, "No one should know better than we/us", I would say "us" because that's what's written.

If someone wants it to be 'than we know', I expect them to say that.

Leaving things to be 'understood' leads to biiiig misunderstandings. And a writer's job is to write clearly enough that the reader knows exactly what the writer wants them to know.

And now we can all discuss just how sane grammar nazis can be, anyway, despite creating little rules for themselves.

Julia said...

Bj - with you, which is why I went with "us;" and yet I hear nasty Miss Stapleton in sixth grade snapping about how "you understood."

Yes, Miss Stapleton; all too well.

And yes, I fear I wax obscure. This is why I adore my betas. They ground me. Detail works in PICU notes; blog notes, sometimes, not so much.

Mea culpa (I'm sorry ;) ).

At least I didn't throw in the random Schnapps anecdote I was considering...

The stories work better either live or woven into larger narratives. :)

Soccer Mom Fish

Julia said...

Oh, dear. Too random for blog. Has anyone ever been exiled for sheer over-obscurity?

I failed blog....

DLM said...

I ran across a site once that had some nasty things to say about our own hostess (and dismissed the community here as a clique of brownnosing idiots). Upon a little investigation, the integrity of the complainers did not hold up. But I've also seen complaints about agents which did seem to hold water.

Without knowing any given source, commentary has to take a second seat to sales, clients' discussion of their agents, fit - research in general. It's unfortunate but all too true that rejections can lead to reactions, and reactions vented online are forever. As the OP described them: Tales on the Internet.

It seems worthwhile that these stories appear to be coming from former clients, and address not only a single agent, but their agency as a whole. This MAY be less a personal problem born of disgruntle-ment.

I'll add my voice to the Writers Beware suggestion; there, at least, you're not just stumbling upon random vitriol.

This, to me, is the other side of the "don't burn your bridges" coin ... just as it's counter-productive to become known as the jerk who went OFF delusionally after a rejection, this kind of "feedback" also cheapens the word of others. (Julia's point about emotionalism in these stories is well taken!!) It is hard enough to know where to turn in this difficult process without having to question everything everyone wants to say they "KNOW". We've seen just recently, thanks to Janet, how much crackpot "knowledge" is everywhere to be had.

bjmuntain, with you on AW. There can be great info, but there can also be ... subjective posts, and the community is so difficult and chaotic P&E and WB feel easier even just as tools.

bjmuntain said...

Julia: no culpa at all. :)

Tell Mrs. Stapleton she's part of the problem, not the solution. Imagine shoving Strunk & White* down her throat whenever she interferes.

As for exiled for obscurity - I wouldn't know. I've only been a regular here a short time. I think Colin knows all there is to know about exile, though.

*For those who haven't come across this yet, Strunk & White's Elements of Style is a simple style guide. Some people consider it the bible of style, but it's really only a beginning. But S&W were all about simplifying things.

I got ice cream. Neither of the pictures I chose looked like ice cream, but they looked more like ice cream than the others...

Julia said...

I was raised with Strunk and White third to Shakespeare (after the Bible) and above the Chicago Manual in terms of "Writer's Mother's Milk." <--- Dating myself (In terms of age, not eligibility)

Ridding myself of that is about as easy as changing my blood type - and as painless.

Possible - but really, really questionable in terms of the effort/return graph.

Strunkfish

Let them eat Captcha-cake

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Nominating is auto correct bjmuntain

I got soup

bjmuntain said...

I... am, um, flattered? That my name autocorrects to 'nominating'. Wow.

Julia, I am a terrible person. I read style guides for fun. I just had a huge rant written out about S&W and style guides, and general style... but nah. No one is interested. And so I shall simply say that S&W is a good start, but it's not the end-all and be-all of style. But, it is a good start.

*hides under the desk in case the S&W lightning finds me*

Soup this time. Nothing *looked* like soup, so I just chose the things in bowls. I guess I chose correctly.

But OpenID didn't like me. So then I got cakes. I chose a flan and a wedding cake. That seemed to work.

Julia said...

bj, you're absolutely write. Completely and totally and I agree.

I simply was led to the "Memorize This" altar in sixth grade, and I was raised as a writing Catholic.


The Captcha Burghers of Paris.

Colin Smith said...

Hello! Wifey came home from the hospital today, so I've been a little preoccupied. Great topic, and a good discussion here. Of course, former clients of an agent leaving on bad terms will not be giving glowing reviews of that agent. Talking to current clients of the same agent should help to get perspective and discern whether there's any truth to the criticisms. There's no smoke without fire, but that fire may actually be cooking food and keeping people warm, not burning down someone's house. :)

RobCeres said...

Before I hired the roofer to put a new roof on my house I asked him for references, which he was delighted to provide. I then called the references, and they were delighted to tell me what a wonderful job he did. After he did a wonderful job on my house I told him he could use me as a reference, and he did.

Before I sign with an agent I will ask her for references, which, I hope, she will be delighted to provide. When I call those references I hope they will tell me what a wonderful job she did for their book. And once I've signed a publishing contract, I hope I will tell her that she can use me as a reference, and I hope I am a good enough client that she does.

bjmuntain said...

Hi Colin!

Great news that your wife is home today. Take good care of her.

Looking forward to seeing you back, active as all git-out, soon.

Colin Smith said...

Thanks, bj! It'll be nice when I can get back in the loop. I have all-day meetings at work this week, so that too will greatly restrict when I can join in. A taste of Diane's world... :)

W.R. Gingell said...

I would like to be part of the Imperial Storm Troopers Ladies Aid Society.

I hear they have cookies over there.

Colin- hope you and your wife take care :)

Julia said...

WR - Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies.

W.R. Gingell said...

Huzzah! Cookies for me!

Ilex said...

I believe I know what agency this question is about, since I read that same Absolute Write thread, and signed with them anyway, since my agent is the only one who offered representation for my off-trend novel.

Therefore, I can offer a couple of optimistic comments.

First, while my agent is mentioned in that thread, my experience with her has been very good. She's been very responsive to me, and gave my manuscript a really excellent line edit, asking questions and making suggestions which forced me to revise it into a better, more focused story. Whatever else happens, I've got an improved book thanks to her, and that's nothing to sneer at.

Second, I recommend reading the blog of the person complaining on AW about shotgun submissions. She reports there how she got a lot of very nice, detailed responses from editors during that submissions process -- which doesn't say "shotgunned at inappropriate editors" to me.

The sad truth is, not every manuscript is going to sell. I'm part of a support group of unpublished writers who are either on submission or about to be, and some of the other writers have been through this with up to three other books already! And one of them has a Hot-Shot Agent. An agent can only do so much to sell a book to a publisher. As writers, all we can do if one book doesn't sell is write the next one.

So, while I can understand the disappointment felt by the posters on AW, all I can tell you is that my experience with one of those agents has so far been only good.

Ilex said...

P.S. I've looked at the AW thread again, and want to be clear that the blog I'm referring to is NOT the one that one poster has links to.

The person whose blog I read used to have her book title in her AW post, but has since removed it, making her harder to find.

Theresa said...

I, too, would like to sign up for the Imperial Storm Troopers Ladies Aid Society. I adore the alternate reality vibe from this blog.