Agent Jessica Faust from Bookends, LLC blogged on Wednesday about the famous #QueryFail that has been on Twitter lately. I haven’t read exactly what was written on Twitter, but others have informed me #QueryFail was formed by a bunch of agents who took the time (because they have so much of it) to make fun of some queries they received and actually posted those queries on Twitter. Of course, writers were fuming. Some agents, like Jessica Faust, recognized the need to allow the same courtesy to authors (although she never participated in the query bashing). Would you believe there were 252 comments on her blog that day? Holy crap!
What were the most common complaints writers had about agents? Agents who:
• Never sent out an auto-reply saying the query, partial, or full was received and then not following up with a rejection letter. Writers would prefer to have one or the other, at the very least, so they don’t have to wonder whether they’ve been rejected or their work hasn’t been received.
• Can’t meet their normal return time and don’t notify the writer that they’re running behind. Writers feel it’s common courtesy to act as professional as the agents expect in return. Writers understand when an agent is overloaded and hasn’t had a chance to get to their partial or full, but since the agent requested the material, the writer would like to know her work is still on the table and not tossed in the trash.
• Reject a requested full manuscript without ANY reason. Writers would like some sort of feedback so they can use the info to possibly improve their work.
• Don’t update their website with current submission guidelines. Writers don’t want to waste their time submitting to an agent who says they represent their genre only to receive a rejection stating the opposite.
• Complain about how overworked they are, but somehow have time to Twitter and blog. Granted some agents blog after hours, but some writers seem to really have a beef with time spent on Twitter. However, others posted they enjoyed learning more about the agent’s personality via blog or Twitter and didn’t find those options too time consuming.
• For whatever reason, decide they no longer want to represent the author, but don’t immediately cut the ties. They simply cease to respond to e-mails from the author for months before finally sending the “This just isn’t working out” letter. Writers would prefer to break the contract as soon as either side doesn’t feel the love anymore. Although, this may sting at first, at least the author can go on to find a more suitable agent.
• Only accept snail mail queries. Writers can accept sending paper partials or fulls, but queries?
• Think they’re superior. Writers want agents to remember: “Without us, there wouldn’t be a need for agents.”
• Send promotional material for authors they currently represent while including a rejection letter to the writer. Need I elaborate on this?
Well, that about sums up the comments. I haven’t had any experiences with agents yet since I’m still reworking my ms. What about you? Without naming names, do you have any good or bad stories to share?