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Author Topic: Youtube video on a lit agent who sends back insulting responses  (Read 5347 times)
munley
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« on: April 16, 2009, 09:36:32 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-dI5DkkVOU

The Abosolute Write web page has a forum discussing the same agent, who apparently rants at writers for various reasons, like "wasting his time" if he asks for a full, after reading a partial, and is told the writer just agreed to an exclusive for a certain time.
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sarah_biglow
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2009, 08:07:08 PM »

That's kind of ridiculous!  At first I thought it was a lit agent complaining about the queries he receives.  I was surprised it was a disgrunted query-er.  Still...ridiculous.
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UNPLANNED [Women's Fiction] (Dec. 21, 2012, MUSA PUBLISHING)
JeanneT
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2009, 02:48:35 AM »

Well, it probably doesn't do that author any good to rant, but the agent in this case seems to be pretty questionable.
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munley
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 07:53:01 AM »

Well, it probably doesn't do that author any good to rant, but the agent in this case seems to be pretty questionable.

Yes, if you type the agent's name in quotes on an Internet search, you'll get hits on complaints about this agent on other sites that are not youtube videos of rants.
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isinglass
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2009, 09:23:36 AM »

Well, Preditors and Editors doesn't say anything against him, but he doesn't seem to know a lot about the business. He states at Abolute Write that it's better to have someone versed in law handling your contracts than a mere literary agent. How can he not realized that attorneys, like writers and doctors, specialize? If you have an entertainment attorney or a lawyer experienced in publishing contract law going over your contract, great. But plenty of nonattorney agents have worked with publishing contracts, and they're doing just fine. And I'd rather have an agent who's seen dozens or hundreds of contracts and know what to push for and what's not worth fighting for than an accident attorney, even a good one, who's never seen a publishing contract before.

And he rants a lot. Writers have enough self-esteem problems without having to worry about needy, emo agents.

It is possible to tell whether a book's a go just by reading the first page or several. If the writing isn't polished enough, or the story doesn't grip the reader right away, or it's just not a genre the agent is interested in, then there's no reason to read further. But there's no reason to be rude about it.

I spent a year as an unpaid first reader for a small sf/f magazine. We were instructed to read the entire story and comment on it, but honestly, in almost every case I could tell within a couple pages whether the story was a go or not.

My two cents.
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koji
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 07:33:39 AM »

While I think it is possible to judge the quality of a book by the first few sentences (and his first bit did not draw me in, honestly) there is absolutely no reason for an agent to send such a rude rejection. If anything, it is off-topic. We are querying specific works, not a reading of our future. I believe anything can be taught. If he has a good story, the rest can be taught with hard work. There is no reason to basically say he has no talent and should just give up.
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Waterfall
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 09:39:53 PM »

The genre of the rejection letter is more formulaic than any kind of pulp fiction.
A: Thanks for sending me this!
B: While it shows promise...
C: ...I just wasn't into it.
D: But keep trying—someone will love you.

Works for job applications and breakups, too. "It's not you, it's me."

When I review for the Journal of Environmental Psychology, the reviewers are asked to give a score to the editor ranging from -3 to +3. If I remember correctly, the scores correspond to something like this:
3: this article adds immensely to the field, and will become a core of the literature.
2: this article is quite strong, and deserves publication with no or few revisions.
1: this article is competently done, and can be published with revisions.
0: this article has significant flaws, but I believe that it can be revised profitably.
-1: this article is unlikely to be successfully revised, but I'm willing to review it again if you think otherwise.
-2: this article is unlikely to be successfully revised, and I'm not interested in seeing it again.
-3: this article is essentially inept and cannot be saved, because the underlying research is so badly flawed it can't tell us anything.

I'd love to see, instead of canned form letters that we have to dig around in like chicken entrails, agents simply send us back a number corresponding to something like the above (for instance, a 2 in fiction might mean "this is a viable project, in a genre that I don't work with"). Any one agent's review can be dismissed, of course, but if a MS gets a whole series of 1's and 2's, then there must be hope. If it gets a string of -2's, then I have to rethink the whole thing.
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koji
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 01:22:36 AM »

That would be awesome.
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