megwrites: Shakespeared! Don't be afraid to talk Elizabethan, or Kimberlian, or Meredithian! (shakespeared!)
[personal profile] megwrites
I came across this post, entitled "Agent Query Policies: Stop the Griping" by Rachelle Gardner this morning while making my way around the usual places on the internet.

It's a good post. It's healthy for writers dealing with the inevitable frustration and teeth grinding anxiety that comes with submitting to remember that agents are busy, busy people. Long response times (or no response) is not a deliberate slight on their part. They're dealing with a day that only has 24 hours in it, and well, there's just only so much any human can do - and I do not think there is a single agent who deliberately keeps a longer response time than necessary or who withholds a response just to spite a writer. Non-response and long response times are the nature of the beast.

Remembering that agents are not trying to be rude can help with the frustration.

There is also a very important warning in that post, if you scroll down in comments. Agent Colleen Lindsay says, in this comment on the post,

I rejected a manuscript that I had been seriously considering last week because upon a cursory online search, I found a LiveJournal post by the author badmouthing me and several of my colleagues for what she thought were excessive response times. Well, that blog post cost her representation from at least one agent. (OH, and it was a LOCKED LibeJournal post. You do know that Google Reader doesn't respect locked posts, right? Well, you do now.)



This an extremely good warning to writers, and to all LiveJournal folk.

a) Google Reader does not respect locked posts at all. So what you think is private may not be private at all

and

b) Agents are reading your blog, they are paying attention, and they are Googling you. Be careful what you say on the internet, even when you think it's private.

That comment has scared the crap out of me. I don't think I've ever said anything that can be construed as badmouthing any particular agents, it definitely gave me pause. I wonder if my strong opinions have cost me representation. Have any agents looked at my blog and said, "Wow, this woman is mouthy and obnoxious. Reject!"

Some things I wouldn't mind getting rejected over. If an agent is so opposed to the idea that I fully and vocally support same-sex marriage rights, for example, its best we never work together.

Other things are not so simple. I was very outspoken about criticizing the proposed "new adult" category from St. Martin's, including being very critical of posts made about it. BTW, S. Jae-Jones earned a lot of respect from me for her response to my posts. I was probably far too harsh in some respects, but she handled it with considerable grace.

If an agent read those posts would they believe I'm difficult to work with?

If you are one of the agents who has or ever will have something by me under consideration, I'd like to say: I'm actually easy to work with. I take editorial direction well, I don't expect you to return calls or emails instantly, I understand that you're busy, I'm open to having anything I write torn apart for the sake of a better story, and I do try to conduct myself as a professional.

In the future, I'm definitely going to be twice as mindful of what I say online, even when I think it's private. Also, I'm possibly going to lodge a complaint with Google Reader for not respecting locked posts.

If you're also a writer querying about? I'd recommend the same.

Date: 2009-12-01 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tltrent.livejournal.com
Re: locked posts--that is SCARY! What about private ones? As everyone always says, never believe that anything you put on the Internet is private.

*delete, delete, delete*

Date: 2009-12-01 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fiction-theory.livejournal.com
I don't know about private ones, and she didn't mention anything in her comments on that particular post. I would think they wouldn't - but I wouldn't count on that.

Fortunately, I don't use private posts except as drafts for posts that later become public anyway if I need to store something because I can't finish it right then.

But I went back and really scrutinized my personal journal (it's elsewhere) for anything that might put agents off. I don't see anything (not sure how complaining about the weather would hurt my publication chances) - but now I find myself just a bit paranoid.

Date: 2009-12-02 12:46 am (UTC)
ext_22: Pretty girl with a gele on (Default)
From: [identity profile] quivo.livejournal.com
Chiming in to correct that the kind of friendslock Google Reader DOES respect is the kind you apply from the beginning, not the kind you apply after posting an entry as public. This is of course a separate issue from people that can see your flocked posts being jerkasses about them, and entirely separate issue from private posts, which should stay 'private' if your LJ isn't hacked or whatnot.

Date: 2009-12-01 04:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] takumashii.livejournal.com
I just looked on Google Reader for my LJ and a community LJ for 2010 debut authors, and none of the friends-locked entries came up.

If there's a problem with friends-locking and RSS, though, I don't think that Google Reader would be the problem. I think it would be LJ's responsibility not to publish that data to RSS. And if LJ made that data available, I'm not sure how Google Reader would avoid scraping it.

Date: 2009-12-01 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fiction-theory.livejournal.com
Ha! I did that exact same test once I saw that comment, both with my own journals and several others. I didn't see any f-locked entries, but I'm not ruling out that it could happen.

Good point about complaining to Google Reader rather than LJ. But at the same time, Google might be more responsive than LJ. I've tried to report issues to them in the past and have gotten NOWHERE with it.

Date: 2009-12-01 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merriehaskell.livejournal.com
re: Google reader--I did just test a crapton of friends' journal with locked posts--WHILE logged into LJ, and I can't see the f-locked stuff, just the open stuff. I'm not saying she's wrong, but I can't prove that she's right.

HOWEVER, and this is important: I know for a fact that when you post something and friendlock it AFTER you post, it WILL show up on RSS feeds, unless you are ninja-quick and lucky as Rowling in your timing to lock it down after the fact. Once it's out there, it's out there.

Date: 2009-12-01 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fiction-theory.livejournal.com
Hmm. It may be that the author of the entry that Colleen Lindsay read did lock her post after the fact. Now that I read the comment, it is entirely possible that she's warning that locking after the fact doesn't work rather than saying that locking an entry to start out with doesn't work.

But it still makes me more determined to be on my best online behavior and to really be cautious of what I say.

Date: 2009-12-01 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] merriehaskell.livejournal.com
That's prudent, regardless.

Date: 2009-12-01 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] takumashii.livejournal.com
Yeah. I'm not really suspicious yet, without further evidence, that Google Reader doesn't respect friends-lock, but there's always the possibility that someone on your friendslist could copy your post into a public entry, or screencap it--out of a personal grudge, or innocently.

There is no such thing as perfect security on the internet. I'll complain under friends-lock in a general sense, but if my posts were released to the wild... there's a difference between, "Agh, I hate doing copy-edits," and "Agh, I hate my copy-editor." (This is just a hypothetical. My copy-editor was fab.)

Date: 2009-12-01 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fiction-theory.livejournal.com
Well, it seems weird to me that Reader wouldn't respect friendslock but the main search engine seems to. I've never had an issue with f-locked entries being posted up there.

there's a difference between, "Agh, I hate doing copy-edits," and "Agh, I hate my copy-editor."

Agreed, and if your copy editor read that, I'm sure they would understand and even agree that copy editing can be a bit of a chore at times. Especially since they do it all day. :)

I keep telling myself that an agent could probably be sympathetic to me saying, "Wow, queries take a long time, I'm really anxious to hear back" and know that it's not the same as: "ZOMG! Agent So-and-So takes such a long time to get back, I hate him/her!"

But it still makes me a bit nervous, though.

Date: 2009-12-01 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenoftheskies.livejournal.com
Thanks for the links.

It gives one pause, doesn't it?

Date: 2009-12-01 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fiction-theory.livejournal.com
It certainly does!

Date: 2009-12-02 12:50 am (UTC)
ext_22: Pretty girl with a gele on (Default)
From: [identity profile] quivo.livejournal.com
Also, as far as the whole issue of agents reading over your shoulder as a writer, it just seems like yet another ghostly pitfall to watch out for as an aspiring writer, especially as relates to the whole pseudonym/real name issue. If you don't put up your 'real blog', you'll be too fake; if you do put it up, you'll be construed as offensive or mean or whatnot. I figure that if crazies like Warren Ellison can hold down a writing job while being loudly crazy, I'll do just fine.

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