Monday, January 29, 2024

Past Missteps




Several years ago, when I was much stupider, I briefly interned for a reasonably well-known agent. I let her know ahead of time that I had a vacation lined up where I would be off grid about a month after I started, which she was on board with.


However, due to some wires getting crossed on my end and some stressful visa shenanigans, my last email to her before I left didn't end up getting sent, and I didn't notice until I got back - effectively meaning I accidentally ghosted her a week early. I apologized profusely once I returned, but she never responded, and, in what I now recognize as a stupid move, I slunk off in shame and never tried to contact her again.


So, my question is, what should I do if I ever try to query her? Should I pretend to be just a random queryer and pray she doesn't remember (and that my novel is good enough to catch her interest), or mention that I briefly interned for her and hope that I don't immediately get banished to the shadow realm if she remembers I accidentally ghosted her?



Trust me, she remembers.

You should acknowledge your internship with the addendum of "I still regret I slunk off in shame after accidently ghosting you for a week."


Don't apologize again.

Don't try to fix things.


We've all goofed up in major ways.


Let your spiffy query and excellent book carry the weight.


A savvy agent doesn't let stuff like that get in the way of nabbing a good book.


There are only two things that put an intern on my fecal roster:

Being rude to writers.

Posting crap about their internship on social media.


Notice that ghosting isn't one of them.



E.M. Goldsmith said...

The world of publishing does feel like a mine field, doesn't it? I think you just have to press forward. Everyone does silly things - and yours was totally an accident - technology can fail. I have done so many brain-dead things on my journey. I just get tired I think. Keep on pressing forward. We here in the Reef swim against the tide.

On a similar note, I worry I did a silly thing.

Janet, I sent you an ARC of my book. And I don't know if it was the right address and I worry you didn't get it. You were ill for a very long time. I lifted the address from your website.

That said, my book, Salvation Taverns releases tomorrow. The link has all the information - the reviews, all the bazillion places you can order the book, my newsletter, all the junk. And the reviews have been pleasantly good. Kirkus was almost kind to me. And they are not always kind. Wow, they can be so mean.

Publishing is a tough old business. No matter what route you take. No matter what role you play.

BJ Muntain said...

In a tricky case like this, it's good to ask about protocol. You'll be going into this properly.

IF she remembers, and IF she holds a grudge, it will just be another rejection. You'll be getting a few of those. They're a badge of honour - wear them proudly. They are proof you were brave enough to send your hard work out into the world.

I hope the agent remembers you fondly. But if not, it's not the end of the world. There is no publishing purgatory for a faux pas. That's reserved for people who try very hard to be a$$hats. It takes *work* to get into that place.

Amy Johnson said...

Sorry all that happened, OP, and it's good you sought the Queen's wise counsel. :) Seems there are some unknowns to the story. E.M. mentioned tech fails. Maybe the agent assumed the best of you and figured you emailed her but a tech mishap on your end or on her end must have prevented her from receiving your email. Maybe she did respond to you, but a tech mishap on your end or on her end prevented you from receiving her response. Maybe the agent was sick for an extended time. Maybe there was someone else in her office whom the agent thought was handling such things as contact with you, but communication wires got crossed. Maaaaaybe all this time, the agent has been regretting what she thought was her error and her skulking off, and lamenting losing you as an amazing intern and potential client.

Craig F said...

Yes, everyone slips on the ice (or, in my case, that thin layer of sand that covers everything in Florida) a time or two. Most can empathize with it.

The only thing I know about all technology is that it breaks at the worst times.

I wish you luck, but, if you face it properly you probably won't need it.

John Davis Frain said...

That Amy Johnson, she'll find the bright side of midnight. This truly is a fine neighborhood Janet has developed.

EM, congratulations on RELEASE DAY, which is already occurring on the east coast and the finer sections of Europe and Australia. Not yet to my neck of the woods, but I'll be checking my local bookseller!

Keep writing, y'all.

Amy Johnson said...

John Davis Frain: :)
E.M.: Happy, happy, happy day! It's happening! Hope you savor, savor, savor it. Congratulations!