Pub Rants

Mum’s The Word!

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STATUS: I love when editors email and say they are ready to buy!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? HEARTBREAKER by Led Zeppelin

This is my public service message to help out all my fellow agents. A lot of writers (published and unpublished) blog these days so I want to send out a helpful hint to all you unpublished writers who blog and who now have representation and are just about to go out on submission.

As soon as your manuscript is submitted, mum is the word. You can’t blog about the manuscript, the submission, the editors who will see it, or any rejection letters because guess what, interested editors will often read the writer’s blog.

And how do I put this delicately? There is just information that we, as agents, want to control about the status of the submission (for example, who is interested or who has rejected it and if the writer is blogging about it… well, you can see where issues might arise).

Repeat after me. Mum is the word. Do not blog about it.

30 Responses

  1. Sherry Thomas said:

    Wise words.

    Bran Fan, I think if you are talking of a whole loop of writer friends, then you should hold off until the deal is done. If it’s one or two friends, then use your judgment.

  2. Robin L. said:

    Good advice!! It’s so exciting, that I’m sure it’s tempting to blog it. I’d hope common sense would prevail, but sometimes we need a 2×4 to the head to be sure!

  3. Liz Wolfe said:

    I belong to a tiny group (6 of us) writers. We crit each other but mostly we’re just there for each other. And we operate on “Vegas Rules”. It helps. A lot.

  4. Kimber An said:

    I thought agents talked to their clients about issues like this. Since the odds are stacked against me ever obtaining representation anyway, I probably won’t remember this advice if it ever becomes useful to me!
    I hope one of my mentor-type Blog Buddies will club me over the head with a Klingon targ if it should happen.

  5. Bethany Hamilton said:

    Hmm. Not something a new writer may think of as a blunder (I know I wouldn’t), but great to know 🙂 Thanks Kristin!

  6. Heidi the Hick said:

    I’m so glad to read this, because I’ve thought of it. As an unpublished and rejected writer, I’m getting ready for the next project to find its way into a few slush piles.

    It seems like common sense to keep your mouth shut. But so tempting…

    thanks for clearing it up from an agent’s perspective.

    And for listening to Led Zeppelin.

  7. Heidi the Hick said:

    one more thing:

    After it’s been accepted and the deal is done, then you tell the world, right? Obviously not give away vital plot twists or anything, but it is good to start building the buzz I assume.

  8. Anonymous said:

    It’s amazing you have to point this out, but I know of at least one writer who has written all about her negotiations, how unhappy she was with them, etc.! Now she has an agent and still she blogs about them. Frankly, if I were an agent and had seen her blog, I never would’ve taken her on in the first place!

  9. Manic Mom said:

    Great, great advice. My agent is submitting my work right now but I’m not even telling anyone (barely my husband!) about it. I’m a firm believer in not wanting to jinx a good thing.

    And some writers must not think editors/agents read the blogs by the way they blog-rant about circumstances.

    And if you blog about how your work is being submitted but rejected, and a prospective editor checks out your blog and sees you’re blogging about how so-and-so said they didn’t like your work… well, what’s that tell the prospective editor right there?

  10. Kimber An said:

    I think the operative phrase here is “…all you unpublished writers who blog and who now have representation and are just about to go out on submission.” How many of us does that include? Hands? Most of us, I think. Considering that, I have to wonder what the advice is for unpublished-and-unagented writers who blog? Of course, it’s silly to yap about rejection. But, what else should we consider before we blog?

  11. Dirty Girl said:

    Good point. Thanks for bringing that tip up. There are multiple reasons to keep your mouth shut, and all of them good. Brag about it when you get that ms sold!

  12. Anonymous said:

    You’ve been talking to my agent, haven’t you? I was very vague, but it never even dawned on me that posting anything at all might be a problem.

  13. Gina said:

    Dear Bran Fan – – My 2-cents: My personal policy is to never write in an e-mail something that I wouldn’t want forwarded. I can’t control what somebody else decides to forward (and it is so easy to forward e-mail). If there is something exciting that I want to share but would not risk having forwarded, I telephone the friend and have a conversation about it.

  14. Imelda said:

    My husband works in the big multi-national corporate world and he, too, has a blanket rule of never putting anything in an email that he wouldn’t be happy for all the world and their dog to know he had said.

    Once you hit ‘send’ it is in the public domain. If you ever want a public life it is best to remember to be on best behaviour when you commit things to writing – especially when it is writing that cannot be recalled and burnt!


  15. OpenChannel said:

    Thank you for this, Kristin! I’m exactly in this position and hadn’t even thought about this. I might have blogged about something as soon as some news came. How tempting, right? I mean, one gets excited and wants to share.

    Of course, I would never rant about an agent or editor on my blog, I just think that’s bad ju-ju.

    Hmmm, it doesn’t matter any more, but at one point I was keeping score of who I submitted to and how long the responses took from agents and what they requested from me. Was that bad? It was not negative in any way. I was doing it in an informative way, showing someone the process I was going through while hunting for an agent.

    My agents have read my blog and never mentioned it before.

  16. Anonymous said:

    I didn’t know this–but as a published and unagented type, I suppose this doesn’t apply.

    And keeping track of how long some agents take to reply (especially when it’s at wide variance with the reply-time stats on their web sites), misleading or false info on said sites, etc., etc., just strikes me as fair sharing of information. If agents don’t like that the authors share facts, too darn bad.

  17. Josephine Damian said:

    Gina, Manic Mom and Imelda – great advice.

    Kristin, if – when – I’m in the lucky position as an agented author with a submission in the hopper, I’m depending on my mentor, fellow RWA chapter member, and your client, Linnea Sinclair, to show me the ropes. Thank God I have someone like her to be my guide on what to do – and on what not to do!


  18. Mary Akers said:

    Yes! Great advice. And even once a project is sold, there may be reasons to hold off mentioning the sale right away. I checked with my agent, just to be sure, before I announced the sale on my blog.

  19. Anonymous said:

    Much as we love the creative end of things this is still a business and we have to respect that.

    Here’s a variation on the keep your yap shut and you stay out of trouble rule:

    A few years back a neo dissed me in a public venue.

    She went into detail of how I’d insulted her, blah-blah-blah. It was a surprise to me, since we never really interacted. I waved at her across the room. I think.

    I privately mailed her, the gist being if she had a problem she should have mentioned it at the time, and–most important–you never trash a colleague. It only makes YOU look bad.

    She replaced the entry with a very huffy apology. It was so wonderfully huffy that a mutual friend wrote to give her the 101 about professional behavior.

    Thankfully the entry vanished, but too late, the damage was done. She will never ever be asked by me (I’m an editor, BTW) for any work. I don’t care how good a writer she might be, she’s no one I want to work with for any reason.

    You will read about pros fighting it out in public forums. While it can be fun to watch, take it as an example of what not to do.

  20. Patricia W. said:

    I’ve thought of doing it too. But makes sense so thanks for a lesson in publishing etiquette.

    I’ll just announce that I’m done and it’s gone (not to who) until I have something concrete (representation or a contract) to share.

  21. Anonymous said:

    Because the film rights on my manuscript were optioned without an agent, I’d like to add my own piece of advice per the screenwriter. Do NOT talk about it to anyone, especially if the topic is a hot one.

    No one!

  22. Anonymous said:

    Aha! Nice to know staying mum while sending previous manuscript around was good to do. Hard, but good to do. Thanks!

  23. Paul West said:

    Hmm! I’ve always been told that agents and editors are much too busy to read writer’s blogs and look up writer’s web sites, even if the writer includes the links in their query.

    So, when did they get so un-busy?

  24. Anonymous said:

    Paul, agents and editors are too busy to check out your blog at the query stage. At that point, you’re one of many hundreds or thousands at the same stage vying for their attention.

    Once you’re at the stage that an agent has submitted your ms. to an editor, and an editor is considering buying it, they’ll want to know much more about you, their potential investment. That’s when they’ll go looking.

  25. Kimber An said:

    Oh, dear. I just noticed a boo-boo. I meant to indicate that, like me, most of us do NOT already have representation. Duh. *I shall now don sackcloth and ashes.*

  26. L. Davis said:

    Great advice. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before, but seeing it spelled out like this has definitely ensured that I won’t be blind to the dangers when the time comes for me to start sending out submissions.