Dear Miss Snark
I'm sure that the massive good karma you‚ve generated by creating this wonderful blog will make up for a lot of prior bad behavior. (What priors? Miss Snark denies all)
I've worked for three years to complete my novel, making a lot of sacrifices along the way. I am now ready to query agents and have been gathering information from websites.
In discussing submissions, one NY firm (noted for handling fiction) posted an article by an agent (actually an ex-agent) in which she described tired old story lines that everyone hated to see come across their desks. I was stunned to discover that one of her descriptions fit my plot exactly. Since her description is so well-written and exactly the right length, I was considering incorporating it into my one-page query letter (customizing it of course, with the names of my own characters).
My question is this: should I leave the agent who wrote the article off my query list (she seems to be highly regarded) or should I submit to her anyway and just run the risk that she will recognize her own words and reject me out-of-hand because of the obvious plagiarism?
Cause yanno(tm) the only people who read agent's websites are writers, right? Like I don't look at them?
Plagiarism is stupid.
Do I really have to tell you not to do it?
If you do, you'll be sorry. And I don't mean in the karmic sense. I mean in the sense that when people find out (and they will) you will have destroyed any kind of mutual trust with your "lucky" agent let alone everyone else. Publishing is a relationship driven industry and if you steal things from agent's websites the only thing more fun than catching you is talking about it...endlessly.
And of course, the idea that you pitch an idea using words from an article about "tired old plots no one wants to see" is really just icing on the cake.
Let me check the date of the email...April 1? Sadly...no.