Pub Rants

A Valid Reason for Psych 101

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Last week was certainly an interesting one where queries were concerned.

I received a query from a person who had cc’d 60 other agents on the email.

Now, that’s the first mistake here. I understand that this business feels depersonalized and the standard rejection letters certainly aren’t a joy, but email etiquette pretty much dictates that you query one agent per email. Query as many agents as you want but not in the same email.

Doing otherwise just makes agents itch to send the NO response as quickly as possible. Nothing like being one of a crowd.

Well, I’m guessing this is what happened. The query didn’t interest me so I replied with my standard letter.

The next day I, and the 59 other agents, received an angry email expressing the writer’s disbelief that not one in the pack of us (not much of a paraphrase here) wants to read THE NEXT GREAT BOOK OF OUR TIME (and yes, that was in all caps).

What a warm fuzzy. Definitely feel like I need to change my mind and request those sample pages now. Not.

Didn’t this person every take Psych 101? Has lambasting a person for not recognizing your genius ever resulted in the person changing his or her mind about your potential?

If you want the quickest way to shoot yourself in the foot, I’d say this would be it.

7 Responses

  1. Jackie said:

    You know, it never fails to surprise me when I hear (well, read) about these things happening in real life. I tend to think these types of stories fall under Agent Urban Legends.

    I think when you get letters like this, you should respond with an Urban Legend form response. Something along the lines of:

    Dear Author(s) and/or Writer of the Next Best Thing Since Name-A-Bestseller-Here:

    Thank you for your very inspiring email query. It saddens me that I will obviously not be the first to respond to this amazing offer to represent you and your work. Because you should settle for no less than an agent who has the time and ability to represent you in the manner in which you deserve, I’m afraid I’ll have to pass–even though your query certainly made me sit up and take notice of your name.

    Good luck…


    Separately…I love the new look to your site, and I’m bookmarking your blog.


  2. kitty said:

    I hope you hit the “reply to all” button.

    Do writers query, with “cc” in plain sight, thinking they’ll be creating some sort of competition amongst the agents?

    Btw, I’m here via Miss Snark. Welcome to the blogosphere!

  3. Crazy Chick said:

    I do not, cannot, and absolutely will not ever understand why people do this. Yes, being a writer can be frustrating if you’re looking to publish, but how alienating a large chunk of the industry will help you is beyond me.

    When I worked as a fiction editor at a university lit mag, we had people like this. I sent out an email (to the entire school, mind, since this was a university-owned magazine) announcing our publication party and we got a response saying “Well, as you chose to ignorantly reject my amazingly wonderful poems, I don’t think I’ll be attending”. That’s pretty tame compared to what you got, but still. Being rude never gets you anywhere. Oye.

  4. WFR said:

    That person sounds like the average idiot to me. I explained to someone that is having trouble getting an agent that the process is akin to finding the correct doctor for what your medical problem is. If you go to a podiatrist for a stomach ache. It won’t solve anything. He will become annoyed and think you are stupid. He was confused by this, but he keeps sending his mystery novel to agents that don’t represent mysteries and he is miffed by the lack of a response.

  5. Zoe said:

    I’d say it’s a good thing you didn’t take that person on; he doesn’t sound like he’d be easy to work with by any means.