Thursday, March 12, 2009

You Tell Me: Thoughts on Queryfail

I was catching up on Nathan Bransford's blog yesterday, and one of his posts turned into quite a debate about the recent Queryfail Day that some agents were involved in on Twitter.  I honestly had no idea so many people were so upset about it.

For those of you who don't know, Queryfail Day was a little event on twitter where agents who felt like participating could post tweets with snippets from queries that they rejected. The idea was to educate writers on what types of things you shouldn't include in a query, so that we wouldn't make the mistakes of trillions of others.  They also (when it happened, which wasn't often, if you followed it in real time) posted Querywins, which were queries that got partials or fulls requested, and were written well.  The agents used no personal identifiers or book titles or anything in their queryfail tweets.

It turns out that a lot of people got really insulted by queryfail, because some of the queryfail posts were pretty snarky.  They said it disrespected those people who worked hard, done everything they could to succeed in publishing, and sent in something they put their hearts into. Some people even went so far as to say that they will never query an agent who participated in queryfail day.

Since it's going to potentially be a monthly event, I'd like to know what everyone else thinks about this.

Personally, I loved it.  I was not insulted at all.  I maybe didn't learn a whole bunch, but there were a couple tidbits of knowledge I gleaned from it.  But my thing is this: the queryfails that were accompanied by snark had not done everything they could to get published.  If you didn't follow it, there were some pretty ridiculous queries.  The vast majority of those people probably hadn't even written the book, and were just blasting out mass, unpersonalized queries.  Or they obviously didn't take the 30 seconds it takes to look up the agent/editor's submission guidelines.  They are not treating the agent with the respect they deserve, and most of them probably won't even have a clue about the queryfail that they've been a part of.  So I don't really think it hurts anyone.  The queryfails that were generally helpful were posted earnestly, and absent of any snark.  That's make take on it; of course, I'm not an easily-insulted person, so maybe my take is a little less than sensitive. I don't know.

But that's why I want your opinion. :) SO, what do you think about all this madness?


Casey said...

I think the bleeping and whining is ridiculous. Most of the writers that got nailed with bad snark made inexcusable mistakes.

I can only think of one queryfail that might have been taken a bit far, but it was awful so... *shrug*

I personally can't wait for the next one.

Paul Äertker said...

I'n not a huge fan.
We all cherish our stories and think they're the greatest. We try our best and if our best falls into someone's worst file then so be it. But to mock it is disrepectful. I am more motivated to write good queries based on reinforcement rather than ridicule.

PurpleClover said...

Not sure. I see it both ways on this one.

I'd love to read it (how did I miss it) so I know what is acceptable and not acceptable. But I didn't read it so I'm not sure what you mean by "snarky"...I'll have to check it out.

But I also agree with Paul. Some people have put their hearts into something and even though it doesn't have their name or info, how embarassing would it be to know that the office is getting a laugh at your query? Yikes!

I like it better when they post the full query (with permission) and break it down line by line. At least you knew it was coming and they seem to give good advice that way. I've had it done to me and while it was embarassing, at least I got the info I needed.

Not sure Twitter is the place. Besides...if they have the time to blog and twitter, why don't they have the time to write a better response than form. At least have check off boxes as to WHY it was rejected!!lol

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PurpleClover said...

Thanks Tyler for trying to blow my cover...again. :P

You mentioned my blog on Facebook and now you called me by my real name on blogger. What are you trying to do to me??! lol.


Tyler said...

Whoops! There, all evidence removed. ;)

I'll be more careful from now on.

PurpleClover said...

thanks! you're a sweetie. :) Although I have a pretty popular first name so I wasn't THAT

Corey Schwartz said...

Wow! Really interesting that mentioned this now, because I just got a hand slap from a friend for my last post. I didn't mean any offense, but she warned that asking people what bestsellers they would have passed on invites criticism of books and editors/agents might hold that against me. Yikes!

Should I pull it down?