3.18.2006

The Anon feature

Dear Miss Snark,

I read the blogs of several agents these days, although you were first. Sometimes I comment on your blog, because you're anonymous (and I know you don't handle my current genre). On other agent blogs I usually simply lurk. I'm nervous about making any impression on somebody who might be someday considering my work professionally, because I think that agents take comfort in the screen of anonymity that comes with an unsolicited submission from somebody they've never heard of before.

What happens when you get a query from somebody you recognize? I know it's unlikely, but presumably it happens, or it will someday. Would you rather it didn't?

In my case, I recently lost my head and posted a comment on the blog of an agent I do intend to query someday soon. I believe it's highly unlikely she'll remember me as long as I manage to control myself in the future but now I wonder if it's something I should even be bothering myself about. Of course, you are not her, but you're the one I don't worry about asking. Is silence golden?

I suspect this is one of those tiny details that vanishes beside the enormous significance of /good writing/-- but I'd like to be polite even if my writing isn't up to snuff.


Well, several of my colleagues report they are getting queries that say "I know who you really are but I won't tell" which is just hilarious since they are not querying Miss Snark.

And truthfully, I barely look at names in my slush pile. I read cover letters and pages and sometimes I wonder "did I see this in the Crapometer" but mostly it's in one eye and out the other.

And I don't remember many names on the comment pile, so if you comment once, you're as good as anonymous. I remember the people who comment often, make me laugh out loud, have goats, or have figured out ways to send twenty dollar bills.

I'm pretty sure all the other agents who blog have as much incoming material as I do. Frankly we're lucky to remember Mr. Clooney's name at the end of the day, let alone our own.

Bottom line: don't worry. Ask questions. Post comments. Query on. Good writing is really all I care about.

13 comments:

SherryD said...

It's amusing (not really) to hear someone assume you'll remember them, simply because they commented on your blog. I am a part-time cashier at a hardware store, and of course we have regular customers who come in once or twice a week. They expect me to remember their name, if they have a charge account (or not), whether it's a tax-free account (or not), what they bought the last time they were in and if they have a Rewards card. I'm so often tempted to say - are you friggin' insane? I talk to over 500 customers a day - how am I supposed to remember YOU? But I don't. Names and even faces become a blur after a while.

Lady M said...

I'm glad this was brought up.

Because for me - I completely prefer someone I'm interested in working with me to be someone as prolific as me.

(And I'm a freaking wordy person... LOL!)

But I have worried about the "what if" something I have written has been sent to someone who has seen my replies or I have offended online... etc. etc. etc.

Would it make them not read it and turn away in disgust, if they recognized it was from me?

Or would they read it - like it - only to find out it belonged to me and then round file it?

(gnaws nails)

I've also wondered (as I am sure many of the participators here and elsewhere) the flip side.

Is it possible - to have some of your work read... and liked because of who your online personna is? Because you participated?

For me, being online and participating is a way to learn... To get to know the inner workings... To ask... To join in... To be a part of a community.

But this is one of those things that has crossed my mind.

December Quinn said...

Funnily enough, I was actually turned off of an agent because of his/her blog-not one I've ever commented on. I was interested in him/her, but after reading decided we would not be a good fit at all.

But yes, it can make one nervous, can't it?

Rick said...

WHAT! Miss Snark doesn't remember the one comment I've made!
>runs and cries<
Better now.

In all honesty I thought about this once, then remembered all the people that expect me to remember their name. I even have a facial reminder to clue me in. I wouldn't worry on this one too much.

Kirsten said...

Just don't comment cocktail hour ;-)

Dee said...

So, you remember my goats...how nice.
;-)

NL Gassert said...

I recently re-discovered the blog of the agent who requested a partial from me. It was in its beginning stages when I first queried her. Of course, now, after I queried, she talks about query pet peeves and the like. I was mortified. At least, I didn’t do anything she dislikes, but I sure left out stuff she is keen on reading. Sigh. If she hadn’t already requested the partial, I would have buried my head in the sand, to never query near her zip code again.

I do, however, take the opportunity to comment on her blog. And I use my real name. If a polite comment turns her off, if something I say or ask makes her round file my partial in disgust, then, honestly, I don’t think we would have had a good working relationship. Agent blogs are a great opportunity to gauge personalities, to get a feel for the person you might like to work with for years to come.

BuffySquirrel said...

Damn, I only sent $10.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear December Quinn,

I had the same experience, and I sympathize. One blogging agent used to be on my "ideal agent" list, and I made the mistake of querying ummm "them." Their rejection was a disappointment until I read their blog. Then it turned into a relief.

I'm sure we would interact much as do flint and steel. Ridiculing aspiring authors is not educating them. Charitably, it shows a person on the edge of burnout. Realistically, it shows a self-centered, egocentric personality.

If they mistreat new writers, they will mistreat their clients too. Not of our sort, my dear. Not of our sort at all.

McKoala said...

Outstanding. Miss Snark and other agents have memories that are as faulty as the rest of us. They're human!

Carmen said...

I have nothing to say but my word verification is sxyusa. I tried to think of something to say just so I could point out my word verif, but I'm not in a creative mood at the moment.

(Suppose Miss Snark will remember that comment?)

Miss Snark said...

well, I made it my new screen saver, saved it to disk, faxed it to Grandmother Snark for the family Snarkives, AND commented on it. I'd say that comment will live forever.

word verification: ufreternity

Brady Westwater said...

You better remmber my name. I test marketed for a full year before I selected it...