Tuesday, November 8, 2011

There Are No Stupid Questions

O.K. So maybe there are stupid questions, but I really don't want to go that direction with today's post. What I really wanted to stress here is the need for all beginning writers to ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. This is how we learn and grow as writers.

I think that too often, writers feel that asking questions somehow shows they are really out of the loop. We really see this during those infamous editor/agent panels at most conferences. Writers will sit there in complete silence and be lost as to what is going on. Instead of asking questions, they sit there in the hopes that somehow, by a force of supernatural powers or something, they will gain the knowledge they need to move on with their writing and careers. Sorry to say this, but it isn't going to work.

When agents and editors come to conferences, our goal is really communication and education. We are here to talk to writers. We want to help. (Or at least I do, maybe it is different for other agents). In fact, the more we can answer some of those questions, and the more the writers can learn what to do and not do, we will slowly see a few less of those submissions that make us cringe.

So ask questions.

And this questioning doesn't have to strictly be at conferences. You know all of us agents who are out here blogging daily? Ask them.

Those editors who tweet and open up questioning for a day? Ask them.

How else do you expect to learn?

Now, with that said, are there really no stupid questions. Sorry to say this, but yes, there are stupid questions. For the most part, it is when you are asking questions that are clearly posted on all of the editor and agents FAQ pages. We do our best to provide you all of the information you need to make a great first impression. Asking things such as "Scott, do you accept YA Romance?" when it is posted on my website that I don't would be one of those "stupid questions."

Get the idea?

Now get out there and start asking questions. My bet is that not only once you start asking questions, you will find more to ask, but you will also find you start learning and improving as a writer.



  1. This is an encouraging post. Right now my mind just went blank as far as questions go, but I probably will return to your site with some in the future. Or to your tweets on Twitter..

  2. I'm so glad you mentioned the questions that are stupid--my crit partners and I get so frustrated when we go to a panel and the majority of the questions are "How do I submit a manuscript?" "What is your email?" and other things that are covered in the packet you get at the door.

    Or else the questions are so highly specific to that person's project that the time schedule would have been better served if they'd just tried to catch a moment with the agent or editor.