Monday, January 25, 2021

Avoid this error

I recently received email that I'm NOT going to describe as snippy cause I think that was more my response to it than the intent of the sender.

It said "oh gosh, sorry, thought you'd be interested" and the "quote email" was a read notice.

This author had queried me the day before and gotten the read notice.

And no reply from me.

And assumed I'd passed.


You get a read notice if I OPEN the email, which I do (at least google thinks I do) when I pull it out of my inbox and file it in INCOMING QUERIES.

I hadn't passed at all.

In fact, I hadn't read past the first line.

I responded to the author, pointing out the error of the assumption.

And honestly, as things go, this isn't even close to ass-hattery.

BUT, don't do it.

Don't assume a read notice is a pass if you don't get a reply.

And really don't email someone if you're assuming a pass, UNLESS you've let enough time pass.  I don't reply to my queries every day.

I save them up for when I'm gripped by blood lust for tasty tasty writers.


Steve Forti said...

I know this has been answered before, but please excuse my anxiety. What IS a good amount of time to pass before following up? Specifically on a full request. I've read 3 months, 6 months, not at all. You've mentioned having fulls out for over a year before. Surely we shouldn't wait that long? The suspense is rough. Either talk me into patience or action?

Mister Furkles said...

Nothing quite as reassuring as an agent's toothy smile.

April Mack said...

Frankly, it DOES sound snippy to me. It's not just you.

Also, isn't it the basics to not reply to a pass, if that's what they assumed it was?

Julie Weathers said...

It is snippy and I am the queen of snippy lately. I recognize it.

That's why I am in hibernation. It's just best for all concerned.

Timothy Lowe said...


Six months is fair. If they get pissed over a six-month check-in, you don't want them as an agent. Besides, if things are going as they should, you will need to eventually query a new project.

Just my 2 cents.

Steve Forti said...

Thanks Timothy. I'm at 4 months. I was going to keep quiet, but this helps calm my nerves (just a teeny bit).

How are the rest of you hanging in there? Miss seeing commentary every day.

Leslie said...

Yes, Janet that person was snippy. And rude. There's someone in my life who is like that when I don't jump and respond immediately to texts -- and expects a long and detailed response. I tend to retreat and look for excuses to delay answering.

Steve Forti, if their agency (or personal) website doesn't give any indication, maybe look at their social media, especially Twitter. If they seem tense about being overwhelmed with work or just in general, I'd hold off a bit. But if they seem relaxed and not complaining about too much to do, maybe give it a gentle try now? Whatever you do, my fingers are crossed for you!

The whole waiting and not knowing what to make of it is SO frustrating.

John Davis Frain said...

Glad to see the shark is lusting for blood. She's much more entertaining. Long as it's someone else's blood.

Steve, you're too good to sit around deciding when to nudge. Use that energy productively. Even if you're not working on a submission, you can whip up some flash. Just use Janet's photo to get started: sharp, sneer, grin, tasty, and (because it's you) fin-licking good.

I don't have a book to send ya, but I can state that you won't go wrong with THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by Simone St. James. Delicious.

Michael Seese said...

Clearly, his genius can't wait. You should have recognized it in his first sentence.

Amy Johnson said...

I think I can see where others here are coming from, but I'm interpreting the author's response differently. To me, the author comes across as genuinely apologetic. I'm thinking that when the author received what she/he thought (incorrectly) was a very quick rejection, she felt bad for taking up Janet's time with a project Janet so quickly knew wasn't right for her. (Though now we know there was no quick rejection.) The author might be mortified to learn here that she came across as snippy. If I were in her shoes, that's probably how I would feel. (Nope, I'm not the author being discussed -- I still have more editiing to do before I query Janet.) Putting myself in the author's shoes a bit longer: Though I probably wouldn't have responded to the suppposed rejection, I can see how a regular here on the Reef -- again, feeling bad about taking up Janet's time -- might believe a quick apology was in order. (Yes, reading the apology took up more of Janet's time. :) )

Like Steve, I miss the daily commentary. I hope everyone in our Reef Family is doing well.

Katja said...

I'm 100% with Amy Johnson!

Friends, don't judge people who we don't know whatsoever by only a few words. It's harsh to call them rude when there's at least 50% of a chance they are genuinely apologetic.

There're people who apologise quickly for all sorts of things. Maybe they're insecure in life. Or anxious.
I don't even see the benefit for Author of being snippy to Janet with just 7 words.

If this was Janet's boy- or girlfriend, it would be different. But it's not.

Like Amy said, a regular Reefer could well behave like this. It could be me!
And I've burned myself many times by mistakes like that. Sometimes because I reacted instantly, sometimes because I mulled over things TOO much.
One single wrong word once got me into trouble that I didn't realise was so bad in the context.

And yes, Author, you shouldn't be discussed like this here, especially if you're reading this about yourself. So, I put my arm around you. Hugs!

Colin Smith said...

I have to say I think Janet was right not to consider the reader's response as snippy. As Katja said, even if it was intended to be snippy, this person is otherwise unknown to Janet so it would be unfair to read rudeness into a response that could be taken either way. Give the benefit of the doubt unless it is clear snippiness was intended. That's not clear here. In fact, this sounds like someone new to querying--or at least someone who hasn't been reading this blog. :) I get that from the fact they said, "I thought you'd be interested." In a query, that's stating the obvious. If they didn't think Janet would be interested, they wouldn't have queried! I chalk it up to a newbie mistake, smile, and move on.

As a general rule, I find life is a whole less stressful if you consider people to be well-meaning unless proven otherwise. Take compliments and apologies at face value, even if a part of you wants to think they are insincere. If a comment can have multiple interpretations, choose the one that speaks the best of the commenter. It does no harm, maybe even gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, and you can go about your day. (Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but I did say it was a *general* rule!)

And THANK YOU to those who liked (and even shared!) the flash I posted in the comments of the previous blog article. I'm glad you liked it. :D

Donnaeve said...

My one cent opinion:

Person querying = not snippy.

But . . . seriously, who sets their email to flag when someone has read? If you read, you read, if you don't I don't really care to know.

Hm, does that sound snippy?

Craig F said...

Do you send an auto receive notice and an open notice? If so, I could see where the problem lies.

Auto-receive should be an industry standard. The most trying thing about querying, other than declined queries, is when a NORMAN is at the other end and you don't even know if your query got there.

A second notice that doesn't request pages could be seen as a rejection, I have seen some strange rejection letters.

I, of course, never responded to those.