Pub Rants

Importance of being Earnest (and anonymous)

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STATUS: Strangely elated and exhausted at the same time. I had forgotten how hard is to interview people. I want to make a good impression just as much as they do. I’m elated because it’s so much fun to chat with people who are excited about books and reading. I can’t wait to see who comes aboard as my new assistant.

What song is playing on the ipod right now? P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing) by Michael Jackson

I have to admit that this song takes me back to gym aerobics classes in 8th grade. Never doubt the power of association a song can bring—for good or for bad. I’ve never been overly fond of aerobics (or 8th grade for that matter). Still, the most danceable record ever made in my book (and yes I do mean record—there were no such thing as compact discs then).

Just recently I was reading Anna’s blog about not being stupid in public. She’s a little more blunt than I am (bless her soul) but I’m thinking not enough people read this journal entry and really should.

The internet seems like a big, wide open space where one can be free to write one’s opinions.

Just remember, it’s not so big a world when you are using your real name. As Anna mentions, you are not hard to find. She can see you (or a quick google search will find you easily enough). It serves no purpose to diss her publicly with your name attached with hers.

Hence the title of her blog entry.

I have to agree. I’ve been reading some discussion boards recently and perhaps it’s not the poster’s real name (although it sounds like one), but folks have been posting about how awful agents are. How they have no taste and couldn’t spot a good project if it hit them in the head, how if they just took the time to read this great query, which they’ve included in their rant, then agents would get wise (you’ve heard this whining before).

Yes, publishing is hard.

Hold the presses on that one folks.

But this is nothing but whining, in a public forum no less with your name attached. I’m too polite to say it so thank goodness Anna has already said it for me (see above teal text).

Agents visit these forums. I post but many agents I know don’t. We like to lurk as well as the next person (and before you accuse me of having too much time on my hands, I visit the boards for about 30 minutes to unwind and because I honestly find it interesting, relaxing, and it helps me to keep in touch with the writer’s world.).

I’ve been discovering many a lurker for my own blog. Just recently, I got a final contract in the mail that I needed to vet and then forward to my author. Included was a handwritten p.s. from the contracts administrator about enjoying my blog.

Holy Cow! The contracts people are reading my blog. Maybe I really should rant about that silly option clause they always want…


I mention this as a reminder that you never know who’s reading and if you use your real name, think twice about what you are posting. If you need to rant, I’m all for that (because I have a whole blog to do just that). I can get behind that. Publishing is tough and writers need to express frustration sometimes but don’t be stupid in public.

Choose a good pseudonym. I hear Spaceman Spiff is available.

(Free partial read to the FIRST person who correctly catches the reference and posts it in the comments section of this entry).

26 Responses

  1. reprehn said:

    Here’s the try…Spacemen Spiff is the comic strip by the creator of Calvin and Hobbs — but it’s only about Calvin, without the ‘wiser’ influence of Hobbs. It was created so the artist/author could have a little more ‘wicked’ fun. I’ll check back to see if I’m right — and so you can contact me 🙂

  2. LA Burton said:

    I totally agree that there is a lot of ranting on writing forums. I don’t think that it matters if it is about agent, editors or even other writers.

    You look very unprofessional just picking at one person or that thing that just drove you crazy. Just don’t shoot yourself in the foot because you don’t like someone or you still haven’t heard from that A-list agent.

  3. Elektra said:

    Luckily my name is so common that, even with a google exact phrase search, you get over three hundred pages of matches.

  4. MTV said:

    And of course who hasn’t heard of MTV – my “real initials” in fact.

    As a side comment, I find hard – nye impossible – to understand that even new writers don’t understand that agents review/represent what they can sell and there are a spectrum of reasons why an agent will pass.

    For these people – I suggest viewing the program “The Apprentice” and noticing one of the opening credit lines is – “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” Of course for the public ranters it could get personal -:)!!! But, then again they will be making it so…

    Besides – you either believe in your work or you don’t. If you have to ask is this okay… then I’ll tell you it isn’t – if only for the reason that you have to ask – Don’t you know if it is?

    Hey do me a favor – instead of ranting, spend that time finding an agent that loves it. You’ll make the world a better place in everyway!

  5. artisfood said:

    I love Spaceman Spiff!

    The best imagination retention an adult has ever shown in my world!

    Thanks, Kristin, for reminding me of what i should go read.

  6. Mike Strahan said:

    Spaceman Spiff is Calvin’s spaceman alterego in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip written and drawn by Bill Watterson.

    A lot of the design that went into the Spaceman Spiff themed strips was derived from Krazy Kat, an earlier comic strip written and drawn by George Herriman.

    As everyone knows, George Herriman was the inspiration behind Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T (Pretty Young Thing).

    (I’m only kidding on that last part…).

  7. Agent Kristin said:

    We have a winner! You are correct Carrie. Email me at and I’ll send you instructions on how to submit 30 pages of your work.

    I just realized that “free” might imply that normally there is a fee. oops. I just meant a free pass to send without querying first.

  8. reprehn said:

    Well, I have to admit I didn’t really deserve to win anyway…I’ve never read Calvin and Hobbs, so I googled it; which was why I was only close. Fun game though 🙂

  9. Mike Strahan said:

    Shoot. Oh well, you don’t represent the genres I write in anyway. A partial would be wasted on me.

    Great blog, BTW, I’ve been a daily lurker for awhile.

    Thanks for the contest Kristin. Good luck Carrie.

    (dances off to make sure his two toddler P.Y.T.s are still in bed)

  10. Evan said:

    I almost feel singled out (giggle).

    I did something similar (distantly) recently and learned a lot from it — the ‘oh no’ factor is a great teacher.

    I’d already read Anna’s post too. Ack.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Becky Taylor said:

    Ouch, but point well taken. Thanks for the (new to me) blog link. I always enjoy reading the angry. Try as I might to be wroth, I always end up sounding like Pollyanna. Congrats Carrie, I hope to see you listed among Kristin’s clients in the future.

  12. December Quinn said:

    Argh! Stupid Greenwich Mean Time! It was almost 3 am here when you posted that and I was in bed!

    I’ve never understood people who behave as if their blogs or websites are their private under-the-bed diaries that nobody can see. Even if you’re not mentioning names, I would imagine that stuff (“Agent B said no. She’s an idiot”) leaves a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

    Whiny writer rants are why we have telephones and spouses. (Or, we could do what I do and just keep it to yourself, because it isn’t productive and it’s fairly dull for others, anyway. Nobody wants to hear too many stories about your children or your writing.)

    (Heads off to blog about how unfair Agent Kristin is for not taking time differences into account, because it’s all about me, me, me, me…:-D)

  13. Sam said:

    Spaceman Spiff is the best –
    “The engine is blown out and there’s smoke all over! The evil Vorgans have blasted a hole right through my spaceship! – Darn! this always happens right after I wash and wax this thing…”

  14. heidi said:

    And to add some random trivia, Spaceman Spiff is a spoof of Spaceman Smith (say that three times fast!) from the comic strip “Dick Tracy”.

    Alas, like so many other things of my recent experience, I’m too late with the answer. Esprit d’escalar strikes again.

    I guess I’ll just have to query the old-fashioned way.

  15. bonniers said:

    When you said “free partial,” I thought that meant you were going to send us part of your slush pile to read for you 🙂

    Just kidding. I think.

  16. Termagant 2 said:

    Rats! I ogled the Spaceman Spiff entry too late!

    Now, if you’d be so kind as to run another contest and I’ll send you my partial (insert evil cackle here)…

    I think the reason we rant on these blogs, and most of us keep it anonymous, is that there needs to be some “safe” place to talk about the vagaries of the publishing industry. Sometimes the people in it make mistakes. Sometimes we honk each other off. I know I’ve had volumes of advice to “find a good agent, a good fit, do your homework” and yet nobody says HOW this desirable goal is accomplished. So I tend to mumble & mutter on blogs, I guess.

    T2, suggesting a contest involving Deranged Snow Goons

  17. Amie Stuart said:

    December, me either. We were discussing online promo this weekend at my local RWA Chapter and someone asked what you shouldn’t blog about. THe best way I could put it was to pretend you’re standing in the middle of the mall shouting your business to anyone who walks by.

  18. Robert Sloan said:

    Good stuff. Sometimes this sort of rant leaves me slightly confused — and her blog was great for making it clear who she didn’t mean — the shy person who finds it easier to meet people online or some other situations. That it’s specifically about personal flames, and especially flaming people you want to work with again later on.

    Hehehe. I was just glad it wasn’t “don’t be stupid and go posting long rambles about childhood experiences or local weirdness or the cute thing your cat did.”

    I’ll shut up now. But my cat’s really cute and sleeping in an adorable position.