Pub Rants

How To Make An Agent Angry

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STATUS: Tuesdays that are really Mondays are never my favorite but I did have a great weekend. Saw INVINCIBLE. You know my love for sports films. Okay, not a great work of art and certainly not in the top 10 list but fun to watch nonetheless. Is it me or does Mark Wahlberg seem a little small to play a football player?

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BEEN SO LONG by Anita Baker

Nothing drives me more crazy than interested writers who refuse to follow directions that are clearly listed on the website.

In fact, I don’t know any agents who accept email query attachments unless specifically requested so there is no excuse for this cluelessness.

Today Sara and I tried to download the weekend email queries into Outlook—which is usual. Since we haven’t even opened the program since Friday, there are usually quite a few queries that come in.

Well, it just froze. After numerous tries, we gave up. I finally went into the emailbox via the web. Some yahoo had sent me a 4 MB file containing his or her children’s picture book.

4 MB

And I don’t even rep children’s picture books

I probably don’t need to tell you what I did with this excessively large file.

Another yahoo sent his proposal three times—all equaling more than 2 MB.

And I was wondering why we were having trouble accessing the queries. We certainly have high speed internet here but sometimes it just can’t handle 7 MBs worth of stuff and not want to time out.

Happiness from my lovely 3-day weekend immediately dispelled because it took us over an hour to fix the situation and download the queries of writers who actually followed the instructions.

Trust me, this is not how you want to gain our attention with your query. No attachments.

I mean it.

(Does anyone want a peanut?)

40 Responses

  1. katiesandwich said:

    Ooh, me, me! I want a peanut!

    One of my friends has a shirt with a picture of Fezzick (spell?) on it with the words, “Anybody want a peanut?” underneath. So cool!

  2. Jaye Wells said:

    Lordy. It’s sad when people who claim to write can’t read.

    My word verification is “gunzow.” Maybe instead of “going postal” we can call it “going literary.”

  3. joanr16 said:

    Nope, sorry, for me it’s “My name is Inigo Montoya you keeled my father prepare to die,” or nothin!

    Which is adaptable to the email-bozo scenario that Kristin describes, and oh so many others!

  4. GutterBall said:

    Unless your enemy has estudied his Agrippa*….

    Which I have!

    *Or in this case, your submission guidelines. Sheesh. I hate unsolicited attachments.

  5. Kiyotoe said:

    I’m going out on a limb and putting my self esteem and well-being in jeopardy by saying that I have just stumbled onto your page and would like to know where in your archives I might find your submission guidelines?


  6. Kim said:

    Ahh… I know something you do not know…

    I am not left-handed…

    This movie rocks – and the fact that it’s being quoted here makes up for the fact that it is rainig (YET AGAIN, I might add) here in the oh-so-soggy Northeast.

    Word ver: bltyn – that feeling when a 3-day weekend is ruined by those who cannot read.

  7. Anonymous said:

    “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says different is selling something.”

    You’ve got to love The Princess Bride.

  8. Termagant 2 said:

    I actually do know one CBA (read: Christian fiction) agent who took my partial as an attachment.

    Did she bite? Sadly, no. I’m gonna send her something else (mwahh-hahh-hahh).

    Favorite quote from TPB: “He’s only MOSTLY dead.”


  9. srchamberlain said:

    Yeah, if ten or so out of 70 Crapometer entrants still, despite Miss Snark’s frequent ranting on the subject and very clear instructions about the right way to do it, use “Dear Agent” for their entries, I don’t think the following directions problem is going away anytime soon.

  10. Anonymous said:

    “If there are, we’ll all be dead.”

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist stuart’s setup. It’s like hearing the first five beats of “shave and a haircut” and not finishing up with the “two bits.”

  11. Catja (green_knight) said:

    I’ve got Eudora set to download the first 100K of a message – otherwise it will truncate them and say ‘the rest of this 3MB message was not downloaded’ and I can decide whether I want it or not.

    I set it up when a 117K virus was going round and I was getting hundreds of the darn thing.

  12. carol in the seaway valley said:

    Yikes! When I read today’s blog topic I felt a moment of unease. Why? Because yesterday I sent Ms. Nelson my synopsis. That would have been a million mile fall from grace. Whew!
    Back to work…

  13. Ryan Field said:

    Funny, this was just discussed last week. So, for all you idiots who wonder why agents don’t want attachments, Kristin just gave you the perfect example. READ IT!

  14. Patrick McNamara said:

    If you’re using Outlook Express, then go to “Tools” in the menu and select “Message Rules”. Then select “Mail…” On the right side select “New”.

    In part 1 scroll down to where it says “Where the message size is more than size.”

    In part 2 scroll down to where it says “Delete from server.” (It should be at the bottom.)

    In part 3 click on the highlighted “size” and enter an amount for the size. You’ll have to figure out a size, though you might want to start with 1000. If it’s too low you could have trouble with submissions that you ask for, but it should prevent the problem of 4Meg downloads.

  15. Gabriele C. said:

    That’s what I get for living in Germany and reading books instead of watching TV/movies and listening to opera instead of the whole pop/hiphop/rock/whatever stuff.

    I never get those jokes. 🙂

    But I’d like to have some peanuts.

  16. Amanda Brice said:


    I could MAYBE see mistakenly emailing the full instead of the partial (if the two files had similar names and it was an honest mistake) but that would only be if the agent accepted email attachments and wanted the material by email. But if the agent specifically says just a query by email?


    Sorry you had to go through that.

  17. Anonymous said:

    Frustrating, Kristen, yes, however, these nagging setbacks come along with the success you hoped for before launching your agency. Stop complaining, and sell books.

  18. Anonymous said:

    Naively, perhaps, before I started this writing business and before I started reading agent blogs, I though that literary agents might have some sort of appreciation for writers…their source of income…their reason for being, after all.

    But the more agent blogs I read, the more disheartened I become. Agents, at least the blogging agents I have read, seem to view many of us with complete disdain.

    So, some of us make mistakes when we submit- perhaps you should view this as a measure of your own success. You are popular, and get many, many queries. You are being queried by human beings, and as far as I know human beings still – and will forever – make mistakes.

    I wish agents would be a little mindful of the(somewhat skewed) balance of power in the agent and ‘new writer’ relationship. And – as anyone in a position of power should – behave with a bit more empathy .. a bit of appreciation for the position they are in….and a little grace.

  19. Kimber An said:

    Oh! I think I just realized how I got inspired to write that one scene in my story in which Junior shoots green goo all over Jackson! “Woah-ho! I throw back my head and laugh haughtily at you!” As Porthos the Pirate would say, “God, I love my work!”

  20. Anonymous said:

    Agents, at least the blogging agents I have read, seem to view many of us with complete disdain.

    Would it surprise you to learn that many other authors also view with disdain those who cannot be bothered to show common courtesy and at least a modicum of professionalism, such as following directions or doing basic research on those agents being queried?

    Everyone makes mistakes. But you are responsible for putting forth every effort not to inconvenience others by your mistakes. Chiding others for being annoyed at your failure to do so is avoiding responsibility. The proper thing to do when you have made a mistake that has caused another inconvenience is to apologize, not to tell the other person why they should give you a break and what a meanie they are.

  21. Michele Lee said:

    You want an “agent” who treats writer’s wrong, go to
    not here. If you were slingging patties at the burger place and a customer said no mayo, but oops you were on autopiolot and did it anyway (or no one gave you the memo) wanna bet you’d still get cursed out and have to do it again anyway? Just because you’re in the service industry doesn’t mean the sustomers have the right to belittle or berate you.

  22. Anonymous said:

    I was one of the ones who followed instructions…

    …and thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly too! 🙂

  23. Anonymous said:

    More coincidence – I just posted a Princess Bride comment on the top thread, and then I scroll down to the second and find this 🙂

    ‘Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die’ may possibly be my favourite line in all of literature.

  24. Anonymous said:

    Inigo: “You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.”
    Wesley: “You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.”