Saturday, October 11, 2008

Make sure not to lie

So, it has happened again.

I got a submission a while ago (so it took me a while to post this) and again, I have a writer claiming information that is false in the letter. No, they aren't lying about themself, they are stating information about Greyhaus that is wrong.

Look, telling me where you got the information about the agency is fine, but please do not make it up. I know where I have information being posted and it still amazes me that people claim they got the information from resources I am not listed on.

What does this tell me? Well, for one thing, this person is clearly sending out mass emails to everyone with the same information. This means they really are not doing their research and are just hoping for something to bite. More importantly, if they can't be trusted in a query, why would I trust them in the agent-editor relationship?



  1. Scott,

    This post touches, on some level, some of the topics we all talked about on the resubmission post. Since it's unlikely you meet your agent before you sign with them (unless your writing is so great they sign you at a conference), it seems to me that professionalism, honesty and full disclosure are very important elements in starting/builing a client/agent relationship.

    I wouldn't like it if an agent or editor lied to me, so why should it be okay for an aspiring author to lie? This is one of the last industries that seem to be based on a handshake. And if you can't trust someone, why would you sign them? Just getting your foot in the door is no good if you embarrass yourself once the person lets you inside. If an agent or editor rejects you but remembers you as someone who has conducted themselves in a professional, dignified way, then it seems they would be more likely to look at future submissions/queries. And the opposite is surely true. What a shame to make your name worthless before you even get published.

    Also, I would think that it's important that a writer know a little about the business, not just the writing. This would obviously include the ability to do thorough research before jumping into the business side of things. I want to be smart and savvy and I want that from my agent as well.

    The best relationships---business or personal---are ALWAYS based on honesty. Seems like a simple concept, especially for (presumably) a romance writer who needs to understand the human dynamic pretty well in order to build the kind of characters and stories we want to read.
    Who knows, though, with that kind of research, it could have been a query for a western.

  2. OUCH!

    I hear of so many writers who have sent out twenty-five, fifty, even a hundred or more queries out in the span of a few months.

    I always cringe at that and bite my tongue. How could you possibly know if ALL of these agents are reputable, much less that you are following their submission rules to the letter.

    :) Terri

  3. I feel like a terrier with a bone. Sometime we will have to talk about the reasons good writers fade away- I actually started a book aboutt this years ago, and had a top agent bite on it, but I felt in the end that the time had simply passed for books about women's issues. I still feel that way. It would have been a very expensive (interviews and transcribing and transportation) project, all at my expense and risk, and I decided the potential buyer pool was way too limited. Mistake? I still don't know. I could still write it, but feel again, readers have moved on to SF and garden-varietry porn, er, erotica, and it would havew been a great waste of time.
    Meanwhile, Leticia, my last word, I hope.
    Behave with class, always. Write that agent a nice note thanking her for considering your project, tell her that are open to a rewrite, and ask her if she could be more specific.
    If she answers in a useful way, great. If not, you've lost nothing. In this market it's a shame not to follow up any leads.
    Human nature never changes, and if she handles some "top" writers, no doubt they are treated very differently. You have not made any money for her, yet.
    Pay close attention to the way you ARE being treated right, however.
    Scott, sorry about the problems. Jealousy, perhaps? Needing attention? Bah humbug.