Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hmm...what do you think?

Quiz time. Who would say this?
What is needed in your queries is only your experience in writing long fiction and not that in writing scripts, poetry or any journalistic endeavors. If this is your first novel, ever, state that and only that in your query. If you have written other novels but they are not the ones you are querying on, please mention them.
Make your guess, then click on down below for the right answer.
Okay, you're here, here's another excerpt:
We realize that many writer boards advise members to list all writing experience in your query letters, but this agency thinks it a waste of time and effort. It means nothing to us as we judge your ability on your writing sample(s) only and not what you say about yourself. We cannot use this information to impress editors, consequently, for us, it is meaningless and unnecessary information.
That's right, an AGENCY broadcast this. I guess this particular agency doesn't want to know about experience a) working with editors b) working with deadlines c) that guarantees you know how to compose a beginning, middle and end... I'm sure there are a slew of other arguments, but I'm too flabbergasted to come up with them at the moment. When another writer came back and presented a rebuttal to this, citing the deadline argument, the agent wrote,
The deadlines for articles and novels are different, as is the rhythm of the publishing process and how it proceeds. For me, it would be like saying that if I have held a job selling screws, that I would be an expert at selling automobiles because they contain screws--if that makes any sense. :)
If I were Forrest Gump, I might say that sense is as sense does. But I'm not, and only an idiot would want to go head to head with an agent, right? Granted, writing an article on peripheral arterial disease doesn't say I or anyone can craft a lengthy, complex novel, but having experience as a paid writer or even being a career writer is of no consequence? C'mon!

But maybe it's just me.


Blogger Kathleen Bolton said...

Methinks this agent has his/her head up his/her ass. Let's play a game. There are two query letters in front of the agent. The last line states writing credentials.

Letter A: "Though I'm a stay-at-home parent with no professional experience, I love the written word and have produced three unpublished novels."

Of course, we're bias because we write articles for magazines and trade publications, but it's no leap of logic to think that someone who can be published in non-fiction has a pretty good understanding of what it takes in fiction. I think the agent is patronizing and rude.

Letter B: "As a non-fiction writer with over 150 published articles in a cross-section of magazines and journals, my love of the written word has driven me to produce three unpublished novels."

Who get's taken more seriously. C'mon.

8:39 PM  

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