Mar 30 2009
Out in the book writing world (which, on a Venn Diagram, is a separate by slightly intersecting sphere of the reader world that DA inhabits), there was a controversy over a series of twitters with the hashtag #queryfail. #Queryfail represented a number of agents and editors giving out advice, in 140 words and less, about how NOT to query. Many of the tweets had to do with blatant disregard of the agent or editors’ stated guidelines.
Nathan Bransford, an agent, took a stance that he would never publicly humiliate an author for a submission, no matter how egregious the submission was in ignoring the submission guidelines. Other agents were branded “mean girls” for participating in #queryfail in the fall out. (I took this opportunity to appreciate the “if you don’t have anything nice mantra” is one that is expressed in circles far beyond the romance genre).
Jessica Faust of BookEnds, who did not participate in #queryfail, made an important point today. Rejection is not about the author but the submission which is what I believe about books and book reviews.
Ned and I watch American Idol and he views Simon Cowell as the nicest guy on the show because some people need someone to finally tell them that singing just isn’t their thing. Simon is better than say, Paula, who will foster the impossible and ludicrous dream. In some ways, I saw the #queryfail exercise as one of kindness. It was harsh, true, but the fact is these things need to be said and sometimes, they need to be said in a harsh way for the advice to finally sink in.