Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Question: You? Me? Us?

Suppose you received a query from an author whose name bore an eerie similarity to your own. Should the author make a clever witticism about the similarity, or would it be better for the author to remain professionally aloof? 

We face this question of differentiation here at FPLM  since I am very pleased and proud to represent Stephanie Evans

who is NOT Stephany Evans

Even though they both love dogs, and both love Texas, and probably both think I should quit swearing so much, one is my client and one is my beloved colleague and we had to figure out how to differentiate the two easily. (There was a blog post about this, but don't read it unless you have a hankie, ok?)

Generally speaking you'll want to avoid anything cute or funny (particularly dry humor-wise) in a query particularly if your novel isn't about something cute or funny. And cute and funny can just totally miss the mark sometimes, depending on the agent's mood.

So, I'm going to leave this up to your good common sense (which you have demonstrated by reading this blog and submitting a question to the Question Emporium)

You might think of just a quick aside under your signature:

(No Fucking Exceptions) Thank you for your time and consideration,

Janet Reid
(the other one)


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

When I submitted a query regarding one of my novels to Stephany Evans I spent a whole witty paragraph on the Stephany Evans I knew and worked with, she was a furniture department manager and rug hanger who moved on to selling shoes. I'm not sure what she does now. Sometimes the brilliance behind a clever ice breaker just sort of fills your flats with cold water.

JeffO said...

Note that you will now likely receive at least one query that ends with "(No Fucking Exceptions) Thank you for your time and consideration."

Colin Smith said...

With a name like Smith, I knew from the get-go I would need to find a way to differentiate myself from other writers who share my name. (And there are other Colin Smiths in the world. And people always write me asking if I'm one of these *other* ones. They never write to ask if I'm the aspiring author who enters all those Janet Reid contests... *sigh*) Thankfully, my parents blessed me with a middle name, and though it's just a letter, that middle initial helps me in the cause of differentiation.

Speaking of Ms. Evans the Writer, when can we expect the next Sugar Land mystery? I really enjoyed the first two (especially the second, SAFE FROM HARM).

Jane Lebak said...

I've been on the other side of things, where I had to contact a client on behalf of a sales rep and the phone call began with "This is Jane Doe calling for Jane Doe." Fortunately the client was good-humored.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing to say except I read the older blog post and being a larger than large lover of dogs, all things doggy like, you were right, tissue needed. Just lost both of my Yorkies last year. I'm still not quite over it.

french sojourn said...


So sorry to hear that...we lost my wife's Corgi-wanna be and my Aussie this year..they had 13 years together...and then my dog had a 8 month vacation from the Corgi then he passed valiantly.

They are in a better place, and
they're always with us though.

Janet Reid said...

Jane, back when the Queen Mum was alive, she and her daughter the Q spoke on the phone daily. The secretary who place the call said "Your Majesty calling for Her Majesty" which always cracked me up.

Anonymous said...

@french soujourn...thank you and I can so empathize with your loss too. Both of mine had to be euthanized - unexpectedly and within three weeks of each other. It was...devastating. Both succumbed to kidney failure due to those jerky treats made in China. (FDA on it now - at least we hope)

Ms. Janet - sorry to bogart your blog, but all dog owners out here ought to know about these jerky treats made in China. Most have been pulled from the shelves. (Waggin' Train, Canyon Creek, Milo's Kitchen) But, be aware, and look for small print Manufactured in China...etc. Okay, I'm done. (climbs down from soapbox)

Michael Seese said...

I always include an f-bomb when I query Janet. It saves me the trouble of doing it later.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I use my middle name for the same reason Colin does, as a bit of differentiation and it cuts down on the times I get called Mister.

Not a bad idea also if you have a name that is just off of a famous one, or in the case of her sharkiness, an infamous one.

Stephanie Evans said...

This is late, but I want everyone to know I'm fine with Janet's swearing. Just not in front of Dad.