First, an explanation. #queryfail is an event that happened on Twitter, where agents and editors Tweeted about why they rejected queries. Sometimes it was a sentence from the query, sometimes it was a comment like “four paragraphs about his education, not a word about the book.” All author identifiers were removed.
Now, of course, because it’s the internets, there’s a lot of squawking about how unprofessional it was of these persons to post such things, how they are mocking hardworking writers, blah blah blah.
Sorry, but this hardworking writer says suck it up. Here’s why.
- Agents and editors are not public servants. They work their asses off for not much money because they love books, but they do need to pay rent/mortgage/cat-food bills. They don’t do that by coddling writers–until/unless you actually manage to land one, and then you better keep the coddling needs to a minimum. If you want to be in the business, better to learn that now.
- Hell, let’s go with the obvious. QueryFail (should have) taught people to FOLLOW THE DAMN GUIDELINES. Those aren’t random rules set up to annoy you–the agent or editor has put them in place to make her (it’s usually her) life easier, and she will not smile on the courage of your convictions if you send her what she specifically asked not to see.
- Rejection is a fact of life in publishing. Again, get used to it.
- Everyone wants to work with people who share their values and views if possible. #queryfail just gave you a list of people who think #queryfail is informative and in other ways a good thing. Don’t agree? Don’t query them. You’ll be happier, they’ll be happier, the world will be a Better Place.
I have to wonder how many of those being loudest are actually actively querying. I know how it is/was for me–email queries with no response at all, SASE after SASE after SASE coming back with rejection slips, email rejections in answer to my email subs…revise the query, revise the book, revise the query…
Imagine you’ve sent out a hundred queries, and every last one has come back with “not for me.” Now seriously–what would you give to know if it’s the query, the book, the market, or that Eau de Workout Socks you spray on every envelope?
So come on, writers. Build a bridge and get over it. And then get back to writing, now that you know who you don’t (or do) want to query when the time comes.
(In the interest of full disclosure, yes, I have queried at least two of the agents who participated. Yes, I would have been upset to see mine there–in a full headdesk “shit, that was stupid!” kind of way. Then I’d fix that damned query. Probably pout a bit. Have some ice cream. Then get back to work.)
If you want to learn from it, you can find #queryfail here. If you want to kvetch, you can comment here, or take it where they all agree with you. Google can help.