Friday, March 6, 2009

Rethinking #Queryfail

When I posted about #Queryfail, I said that it was snarky but educational. Some just settled on snarky. You can read about the fallout here (expand comments) and here.

So I started to think, "Did the snark outweigh the benefits? Should the agents and editors who participated be ashamed of themselves?" My simple answer is, "No."

I mean no disrespect to those who think this was mean and unprofessional--they're entitled to their opinions, and I don't even think them wrong, even if my opinion doesn't fall along the same lines. I just keep coming back to the fact that #Queryfail gave us--the newbs who will always be newbs if we don't learn how to be navigate this hurdle--information that we're not getting anywhere else.

Another look at the Tweets I reposted:

Three paragraphs, no plot, no hook, and lots of "me, me, me, look how wonderful I am! The writer should have known better. Even the questionable query advice available online gives the basic clues. Yet, in the heat of writing and thinking about selling your story, it could easily end up you're too focused on selling yourself. You can bet your advance that we'll all be checking to make sure we haven't lost the hook and plot in our bids to get agents to "pick me".

"What if everything you knew to be true, turned out not to be true? What if it were, in fact, false?" Wow, a first sentence #queryfail. {That could have been me. I started out writing my pitch like a movie ad, too.} Like I wrote, that could have been me, and it was more writers than the one qf I quoted. Because we don't know any better. In advice on how to write a query, I must have missed that doing this is an auto fail and I've seen it again and again from myself and others. I got clued in by a fellow would-be (who got it from an agent). There are a lot of other newbs out there who don't have groups or partners who are now clued in, too.

Please consider my erotic novel 4 publication.I have attached the synopsis & complete manuscript as per you submission guidlines. OK, yes, the editor in question could have gotten this information across by writing "Don't txt-tlk in your queries and spellcheck!" Most of us already know that. Maybe some of us will remember that spellcheck won't catch the dropped 'r' on 'your' and have a second pair of eyes check our work before sending it out.

It would be lovely of the contributors to #Queryfail to reword the more unique entries so writers don't discover from Tweets why they've been rejected, maybe even before the rejection letter reaches them, or end up feeling humiliated even if no one else knows who they are. But it would also be lovely for us newbs to keep getting the info that might keep us from auto rejection.

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