Author Topic: Why is this industry the worst communicators?  (Read 1481 times)

Offline AVA_writing

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2021, 08:12:18 AM »
@RichardClin

I appreciate the perspective they are busy and people, but I also come from the corporate world. I have spent the last 22 years thinking about process, design and customer experience. There are so many opportunities here...



Ava (Primary Coaching, Secondary Pace Setting Leadership styles  ;D according to Korn Ferry)

Offline richardclin

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2021, 11:10:43 AM »

Agreed and excellent point. Ava. Certainly, I believe the industry as a whole has come to accept and propagate a norm that appears extremely inefficient. People probably felt that way about my industry as well. I just didn't feel it as I "sat on the other side."


What I have found amazing is sometimes submitting my short stories to literary journals, having them accepted, and then never hearing from editor again until one day someone tells me they saw my story online. Or else the editor tells me five months later that my story has just been published this morning in their journal. Now, that would have been like an executive submitting her resume to me and I then inform her several months later that I have placed her at Pepsico and she needs to show up HQ in about fifteen minutes ready for her first board meeting... :bash:

@RichardClin

I appreciate the perspective they are busy and people, but I also come from the corporate world. I have spent the last 22 years thinking about process, design and customer experience. There are so many opportunities here...



Ava (Primary Coaching, Secondary Pace Setting Leadership styles  ;D according to Korn Ferry)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 11:30:26 AM by richardclin »

Offline kciswriting

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2021, 11:22:05 AM »
The link below is for an article that discusses 3 agents/agencies who have either let clients down or committed outright crimes.

The article says that Danielle Smith (the second one discussed) was never charged with a federal crime, but asserts that the typical lax and unprofessional communications, and lack of transparency-- practices that the publishing industry regularly gets away -- with laid the groundwork for the deceptive ways this agent screwed her clients over.

Authors are reluctant to complain about these communication practices for fear of losing publishing opportunities or becoming known in the small world of publishing as a pain to deal with. A ruined reputation is no minor problem for an author to contend with.

There is a really sad quote from what one of Smith's clients submitted anonymously to Publishers Weekly, regarding the harm this agent inflicted.
https://writingcooperative.com/3-literary-agent-horror-stories-3345ef27a38d

They need to also add Mark Gottlieb to the Bad Agent List.

Offline richardclin

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2021, 11:38:18 AM »

Wow, this article is quite the eye-opener. Makes me wonder why we all just don't self-publish with the aid of some top freelance editors, book cover designers, marketers, etc...


Thank you for sharing this with us, Munley. It's good to know the dangers that lurk beneath the surface.

The link below is for an article that discusses 3 agents/agencies who have either let clients down or committed outright crimes.

The article says that Danielle Smith (the second one discussed) was never charged with a federal crime, but asserts that the typical lax and unprofessional communications, and lack of transparency-- practices that the publishing industry regularly gets away -- with laid the groundwork for the deceptive ways this agent screwed her clients over.

Authors are reluctant to complain about these communication practices for fear of losing publishing opportunities or becoming known in the small world of publishing as a pain to deal with. A ruined reputation is no minor problem for an author to contend with.

There is a really sad quote from what one of Smith's clients submitted anonymously to Publishers Weekly, regarding the harm this agent inflicted.
https://writingcooperative.com/3-literary-agent-horror-stories-3345ef27a38d

Offline Tabris

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2021, 11:42:49 AM »

Wow, this article is quite the eye-opener. Makes me wonder why we all just don't self-publish with the aid of some top freelance editors, book cover designers, marketers, etc...


That's the route I've taken, and it's marvelous fun.

Offline richardclin

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2021, 12:03:49 PM »

Thank you for sharing, Tabris. Supposedly I am making good traction in my querying, but I still think it still such a longshot of securing a book offer in the end. I've looked at the stats on QT and it appears most agents offer rep to about 1-6% of the authors from whom they have requested partials or fulls. So even if one has, say, ten or so fulls and partials with agents, the chances are still not high of securing an offer.


And then I've read that agents only place about 10-70% of the books they try to sell. Lastly, once you sell the book, only the top 1-5% receive meaningful marketing muscle from the publisher, so one has to still invest a lot of time, energy, and resources into marketing the book. In spite of all this, we all query and supplicate because there must be few truly extraordinary things to experience in life than a Big 4 publishing your book. Perhaps only your first kiss, wedding day, and first childbirth may surpass this emotion. I can only imagine for now...


Nonetheless, while I continue to query like a madman, I am preparing myself emotionally and intellectually for the possibility of launching an imprint to self-publish my current and future books. It does look like a lot of hard work but also much fun and learning to be had as well.


Tabris, I will hit you up via PM with some questions if you don't mind. I don't want to steer this chat down an entirely different path unless others here are eager as well to hear about your self-publishing journey.


Wow, this article is quite the eye-opener. Makes me wonder why we all just don't self-publish with the aid of some top freelance editors, book cover designers, marketers, etc...


That's the route I've taken, and it's marvelous fun.

Offline Tabris

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2021, 12:12:09 PM »
No problem! There are so many resources out there for indie publishing right now that you don't have to go it alone. Read a couple of books about it and then join an indie forum or two, ask people for recommendations on their cover artists etc. The indie publishing community is really supportive and willing to share information.

Offline richardclin

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2021, 03:40:00 AM »

Fantastic experiment and perspective, Jonny. Thank you for sharing it.


I have found some agents to be quite willing to provide feedback even after turning down my query. While I won't ask for most form query rejections, for all customized query rejections and all rejections after reviewing my partial or full, I always ask for more advice while acknowledging that I am extremely appreciative of them taking time out of their very busy schedule for me. It seems to work, resulting in one agent changing a decline into an R&R for me and some meaningful, actionable advice from several others.

Of course, I've only been in query hell for about six weeks, so perhaps I'm still quite Pollyana-ish at this point. Perhaps before too long I will be cursing agents more than anyone else here... :ninja:

Good luck to everyone! It can be an extremely bewildering, frustrating, dispiriting process, but I think as Jonny mentioned, if we were in their shoes we might not fare much better.

@AVA_writing, yes I share the feeling and frustration as most of the others here.

Last night I went to the samples section here on QT and decided to read some of the shares from the QT community to see how the others write etc. and to try my literary agent hat on. I got through about 5 of them before I felt exhausted and could not do any more. It was odd as I can usually plow through a good book in a day or two. But it was juggling the totally different stories and perspectives, voices and characters, from sample to sample that was tough. My mind was drifting. Not because any of it is was bad, but rather it was writing that came to me rather than me seeking it out despite me going through a pile (if that makes any sense). It was also evening and my day was long. I then started scrolling through them, trying to spot interesting things, instead of reading them. This too soon became tough. This was my first hour as a literary agent, fresh and intrigued, and I was already done.

I understood the effort each writer put in, I personally wish each writer will succeed in their aspirations. But it was the storm of numbers that overwhelmed me.

I pictured having to get through 100's, maybe 1000's of these a week. Like Richard said, on top of running other affairs, having a personal life, and my own dreams which may pull me away from the day job. I would not be excited at all. Nor a perfect communicator.

Having to respond to each and every one of those queries as well?  :flag:

These guys and gals really have a lot of go through and having to communicate with 100's of people on an individual basis every day is just not possible. Current clients and books will be present in their minds, Twitter rants second, and queries somewhere at the bottom.

But they do want to sell more books. They need more authors and books (especially junior agents) so they will seek these out. Each of us has a chance at getting an agent! This is neither lie nor fairy tale delusion. Look at it this way: why sell one for $100 when you can sell two for $200. Especially if you earn money from those sales. Literary agents need them books.

Agents just have too many things to juggle to be able to communicate well.

Some of you come from corporate jobs I see, same here :) I am still doing my thing it the ICT world. And even here, clients and colleagues seldom respond to e-mails. People often say, "Oh, I missed that, sorry," when followed up on. But when they need something, they're pretty good at replying!

Google "Day in the life of a literary agent" and you will read some interesting stories. Top agents pretty much have nothing to do with queries (which makes me wonder why they say they're open . . . hmmm communication!). Junior agents, it varies. The UK agents seem to dedicate more time to queries than the US ones, just my experience from research. One UK agent spends about 4 business hours each day just going through query letters which sounds promising.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2021, 03:51:50 AM by richardclin »

Offline MKWrites_318

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2021, 08:01:42 PM »
I watched this video last night. This put the whole agenting thing into perspective for me in a way that nothing else has, so I thought I'd share it, since it addresses this topic.  :)

https://youtu.be/Xvzv6314bg8

Offline raktinope

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2021, 09:25:27 PM »
The video was helpful but now I'm wondering if I've been pronouncing "query" wrong. Is it "queer-y" or "k-wear-y"?

Offline richardclin

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2021, 01:01:36 AM »

Thank you, MKWrites, this video was immensely helpful in putting things in perspective from the agent side.

I watched this video last night. This put the whole agenting thing into perspective for me in a way that nothing else has, so I thought I'd share it, since it addresses this topic.  :)

https://youtu.be/Xvzv6314bg8

Offline Johnny 5

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2021, 04:16:12 AM »
Thanks for sharing. Her video on why she quit agenting is also pretty interesting and a very sobering insight to the life of a literary agent. It made me love my "dreadful" day job.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2g6fwukFfU
« Last Edit: November 07, 2021, 02:43:15 AM by jonny_555 »
Find the blessing in your curse

Offline MKWrites_318

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2021, 12:26:57 PM »
Oh wow. Thank you for sharing that, jonny_555. I'd read more than once from older agents that there is a huge burnout rate in the industry, and this added info makes it pretty easy to see why that would be.

Offline AVA_writing

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Re: Why is this industry the worst communicators?
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2021, 10:17:00 AM »
Thank you for sharing the video links. The more I learn the more I am fascinated by the intricacies of it all.