Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time for some complaining...

This one has really been bugging me a lot lately. I know many of you have heard me gripe about this on Twitter but maybe if we make this more of an open format, those websites out there that are supposedly there to help will stand up and take notice.

My simple complaint, that unfortunately leads to more work on my part, are those websites that feel they are helping out writers but keeping "updated lists" of agents and editors available. You know the sites, there are tons of them out there. Some good and some not so good. The idea is simple. Someone is surfing the net, finds agents and editors and puts contact information out there for the writers to access. I have no problem with this. Keeping a centralized list is fantastic for quick scanning.

But here is my problem.

These websites are far from accurate and provide the wrong information. As you know, I am always screaming that a writer should do their research and find out about an agency. This means getting on the internet, reading in books/journals, or visiting with them at conferences. Many of these websites are far from promoting it.

One website I found simply had my name, an old mailing address and my email. But it gets worse. It tells the writers that I accept all types of fiction AND non-fiction. But wait, there's more. This website found a posting of something I said about in 2008 only about category romance writers. Of course, my biggest complaint is the simple fact that there is no reference to the website with all of the accurate information.

I was fortunate to find this one because I did reject someone with a non-fiction and they replied back stating "How was I supposed to know?" What is worse is the fact that this author added, "If you had updated your information on XYZ site, I wouldn't have this problem."

Now don't go getting me going with that comment. You get the idea.

Now granted, I know I am preaching to the choir on this one. If you are here on this website, you are likely doing that research already. But for those of you who are just stumbling on this issue, you might find that the number of rejections you receive will be far less. To add to this, if we as a group can get those groups off their fannies and fix those websites, you might get responses back from all of us faster since we don't have to deal with those writers that were misguided.



  1. I'm here. On the right site. We're all good.

    I agree. Things need to be updated. It is seriously important to do the research. Not just the research, but the right research.

    Happy you addressed this.


  2. Thanks for the feedback but I am not sure what to make of it.
    I'd love to believe that a print query that was turned down, or will be, would somehow be a lot more interesting if I had delivered it to an agent in person, but I felt that my print queries, for one book, got a fair reading from the agents, and that the reason for rejection, (beautifully written but just not unique enough in a jammed field to stand out) was quite likely and reasonable.
    I also noticed that the agents at the one conference I attended were enthusiastic about everyone's work, which leads me to think that like women, they simply did not want to hurt anyone's feelings in person.I would strongly prefer to sidestep this whole well-intended Dog & Pony show. It seems to me that agents prefer (like all of us) to make decisions like this in private, not with a writer panting like a dog in front of them.
    I won't argue with your end of it. Thank you.

  3. To me, the original source is the only source for the most current information. But I've also seen people inexplicably refuse to believe the original source and go with the potentially inaccurate one. I have a friend who's an actor. Many of his credit lists are inaccurate--through typos in print publications, wrong years, and just plain wrong. He provided a list that he had personally verified he was accurate, and one fan refused to use it, claiming that a published one was more accurate!

  4. I can imagine it's irritating to be misrepresented on a website. However, the choices the author makes are really his/hers.

    Even though the author gets a name from an obscure website, he/she still needs to take responsibility and seek out valid sources. The agent's website would be a decent start.

    I understand some agents don't have blogs/websites, but when one does, there really is no excuse for an author to be ignorant of an agent's interests or neglect following the submission guidelines.

  5. Anon,

    Good point once again. You are right, it is really tough to tell someone no right to his or her face and that might be the reason for the approach so many take during the pitches.

    I do think there is another issue that the one-on-one approach has. As an agent, I get to meet you in person and see what you are really like. I can also pick your brain and really hear what you have to say. This is an element we simply don't get in the letter format queries.