Yesterday, some poor nitwit asked her blog readers to lobby an editor about the partial she'd just submitted. (She was surprised I'd seen it. I saw it the same way I see almost all the good stuff I talk about--a reader sent me the link).

I posted the blog entry here and invited you to tell me why it's bad idea.
You complied vociferously.


This nitwit of the week is one of many nitwits. We've ALL done nitwit things. I've been my own nitwit more than once, just today, and it's only 10am.

Here's the thing. You can recover.
This isn't death.

We all screw up.
All of us, every day.

It's what you do after you realize the great idea you had wasn't so great.
The email sent in the heat of the moment was overwrought.
What sounded funny to you wasn't heard with the same ears.
You just screwed up for whatever human reason.

Pick yourself up.
None of this "if I may have offended you" or "if I offended you".
A sincere apology is "I fucked up. I'm really sorry. I learned a lot from this. I ask your forgiveness". Those words can be really really hard to say, particularly when you are feeling attacked, and defensive.

Give yourself some down time and some perspective:
Go look at some of the wonderful art online at the Met. Here's the Temple of Dendur. Mistakes fall away in the fullness of time.

There's a reason I go to the Met at least once a week.


dancingwriter said...

Ah, the Temple of Dendur. The Met is probably the thing I miss most about NY--used to go there about once a week myself. Thanks for the memory, and for reminding me to visit the Web site more often.

Anonymous said...

I know what it's like to want to see your book on the shelves of every book store so badly you'd do just about anything to reach that goal. We've all dreamed of crazy ways to get an agent or editor to take our work. But most of us just cuckle, roll over and go to sleep to get ready for another day at the computer. The old fashioned way is the best way. Work hard. Write, write, write. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Write a wonderful query letter. Work hard on your synopsis. (Gads, gave myself the shivers with that one.)
This mistake will file away with the others made in life. She should take a day to kick herself on the ass till it hurts and go on with her life. She didn't kill God or Miss Snark. So it can be forgiven.

Bonnie Shimko said...

I love this advice. I know that "Oh my god. How could I have done that?" feeling only too well. I'm sure the Tor editor does too.

Janet Black said...

I believe an apology should be accepted. Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise have both opened a vein in public, the public should return forgiveness. That said, a second offense would not be so easy to forgive. It's a wait and see opportunity.
A silly faux pas online by a writer, soliciting support for her writing is so-o-o minor. I'm already forgetting it.

angie said...

This is some of the best advice I've seen in ages. Too many times, apologies fall flat because of the backhanded nature of the wording ("I'm sorry if you felt/thought fill-in-the-blank," or "that's not what I meant." Those kind of statements ultimately are saying "I'm sorry you're such an overly sensitive idiot." That's not an apology.

Miss Snark is absolutely right. No excuses, no qualifying, just say "I fucked up and I'm sorry."

We all do stupid shit. The person who is willing to take responsibility for their nitwittery is someone I can ultimately respect.

Sam said...

We've all done something that, when we think back on it, we cringe and wish we had a time-machine that would go backwards.
But then how would we learn anything?

Ig said...

Oh god. Can someone break into Random House's New York office for me and retrieve the pony that I sent them? There should be a lavender feedbag and a three hundred page manuscript tied around her neck. There's a free pony in it for you.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

kitty said...

Where I live it's the Rockwell Museum of Western Art.

I cringe to think of my nitwittery, and I'm still here :~)

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the feeling, though, that there was any of the "Oh my god. How could I have done that?" going on here...maybe it's just me?

Lauren said...

Thank you for that wise advice. I have been kicking myself in the ass for the last couple of days over a mistake I made in questioning someone's professional background.

It was so embarrassing I just wanted to forget it. But reading your column made me realize that the courageous thing is to face it and apologize--which I just did. Whether it is accepted, whether it opens up the original offer to me again is unknown and frankly,, unimportant. The important thing is that I acknowledged my error and I apologized for it.

Thanks for the reminder.

Virginia Miss said...

Great advice, as always Miss Snark

cudd said...

I think this might be my favorite post, because it shows that no matter how much you will rub in our faces the mistakes we made, you are in fact rooting for us to learn from them and make a comeback.

It sounds like something a really awesome mother would say.

So when are you and George Clooney having little ones? ;)

ORION said...

I think the writer learned a hard lesson about the internet. I think both Miss Snark and the writer showed extraordinary grace and humility.
When I look at the many comments from Miss Snark's original post on this I am reminded of a feeding frenzy.
I wonder why?
Are they thinking - "if this person is the nitwit now, it means that I am not?"
Is it a chance to trash someone's writing? I do not know. It just made me want to say,"Be kind, folks...be kind..."
Even though this is a tough business there are luminous rays of compassion.
I love this recent post by Miss Snark and I will print it out and put it over my computer.
It made me no longer want to be anonymous.
Thank you

desert snarkling said...

The local equivalent would be to go for a long desert walk and stare at some mountains.

We all need to get out and get perspective once in a while, one way or another; to wash of the nitwittery of the past few weeks or days or hours.

Especially writers, after we spend so much time alone with our own words.

Kanani said...

Yes, an apology would be in order. If Tom Cruise can have an omelet with Brooke Shields, any unpleasantness can be breached.

Better yet: WWMSD?

I have this general rule about writing people.
I write it, then put it aside until the next day. If it still sounds reasonable and not overwrought, I send it.

But many times, I toss it. Cathartic writing sent via mail or e-mail is usually a bad idea.

mef said...

I think she gave a great apology, and what she did saved all of us from even considering something remotely similar in the future!

Anonymous said...

Humph. I've not forgiven Mel. Maybe he's sorry for his abusive spoutings, but he was driving drunk and could have KILLED someone, the flaming twit.

And I've never liked Tom except in that vampire movie and maybe a couple scenes from MI:1. He tries too hard.

On the bright side I realize I've not been to my city's fine art museums in freakin' years. If my pins can stand it I think I'll treat myself!

Thank you for the inspiration, Miss Snark!

delilah said...

What they need for people like us is a "I take it back" button or a built-in time delay that forces us to think twice before clicking send. I'd have the option on all the time - especially if I could wire it to my mouth.

But since neither option exists, we have to listen to Miss Snark's advice and put as much time into honing the perfect apology as we do our query letter.

Dog Save Us All

Ray Goldensundrop said...

As screwups go, and in the cadence of a native Minnesotan, things could be worse.

Didn't cost the editor any money. I once crashed the primary system of a major worldwide employer with a single keystroke. Cost millions per minute of downtime. Can still feel the VP's arm around me.

Didn't cost anyone's life. I haven't done this yet, but think about it every time I get behind the wheel.

It's certainly not as bad as losing one's cool with a lover.

Nor is this as bad as publishing nonfiction fantasies.

And no where near as bad as scamming suckers.

As nitwittery goes, this is a common variety that counts little toward things like salvation, soul progression, karmic debt payment, or credit rating. It's on the level of forgetting to lower the toilet seat or farting in public. Yep, we are all guilty and sure, life goes on.

It's really not my place to forgive. I'll easily forget.

Mea culpa always works better than sorry I offended you. Good observation there, Miss Snark! I'll be sure to keep that one in mind. I'm scribbling it in my Dale Carnegie little golden book.

katiesandwich said...

You know, I can't imagine how this writer feels right now, but maybe this would make her feel better. I never knew that a Tor editor had a blog (and maybe this makes me a nitwit, but I can live with that). And since I would love to be published by Tor someday, I'm going to have to add the blog to my daily reading list. I never would have found out about this without this writer's post, so I'd like to offer my thanks. And yes, this spamming thing was a bad idea, but Miss Snark is right: we've all made mistakes; we've all had hare-brained ideas. It sucks, but we can learn from them.

Anonymous said...

What got me was her claim to have spent "25 years online". She said:
"My 25 years online have groomed hard habits to break." If you figure 1980 is 25 years ago, that's a hard pill to swallow.

25 years? Web browsing is only about 14 years old. I asked her if she meant she was dialing up to someone else's Apple II to post on their bulletin board.

Kim said...

I also think the writer showed a great deal of aplomb (gotta love that word!), and this should be filed away under 'It seemed like a good idea at the time'.

As for the reactions on the comment trail to the first post, I was one of the ones aghast at the suggestion. Yes, I'm sorry is gracious, and it takes an extraordinary amount of guts to admit when you've effed up (wow, someone's actually accepting responsibility instead of passing the buck, how odd). Still, that doesn't mean that everyone who did the WTF is wrong, either. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea, but it defied all kinds of logic and - IMHO - a bit of naivete as to how the publishing world works.

I don't think Sarah should be blacklisted for a stupid mistake, but I do hope she's learned from it - and judging by her response on her blog, she has. And hopefully, it will stop anyone else from having that same *great* idea.

mma snarkling said...

hey, thanks for recommending my institution as an aid to reflection and seeing the Big Picture. You might try the Ancient Near East rooms next time for some beautiful survivors of past glories. And in the spring the Roman galleries re-open -- you're going to love them.

Dakota Knight said...

I think the writer should also take the editor's blog link off of her site...for the time being. She also might consider not asking the editor to still review her work and give an "official" answer via SASE. Please, stop the bleeding.

Oh, and a comment for "anonymous" about the 25 years on the web? Maybe she meant Killer Yapp years.


Great advice, Miss Snark.

Anonymous said...

My ex-wife appologized to me for her infidelity by saying, "I'm sorry for how you feel." Thats not an appology, thats pity so make sure you appologize for your actions.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit presumptious and rude: Her letter to Miss Genoese (whom she has finally started adressing as "Ms. Genoese" and not "Anna" as if they're buddies).

My sincere and abject apologies if you viewed what I did as attempting to SPAM you. That was, by far, never my intention.

I do hope you'll at least do me the courtesy to use the SASE (when it arrives) and officially respond to OST, as it is currently in the status of "submitted to Tor."

I'll be disappointed if, after this fiasco, OST isn't even reviewed, but so be it. As you say, there are a hundred reasons you reject dozens of manuscripts on a daily basis, many of which have nothing at all to do with the quality of the work. A post on a blog has to be a new one. Welcome to the net.life

In other words, if you don't review me you're being silly, and I doubt you'll even be professional enough to use my SASE.

Groan. It's a pretty snarky "apology", IMO.

Oldie but goodie said...

I've been online since 1980, and back when "the" internet was one of many nets. Yes, it was mostly BBoards and college networks back then, but people were on them. Just not as many of them.

And, intrestingly enough, net behavior hasn't changed too much since then. People still say dumb things, other people still jump on them, and defensiveness still turns molehills into mountains. It's just more noticable now because it's everyone and their grandmothers instead of a handful of computer affectionados.

Heed Miss Snark. It's pretty amazing what the words "I'm sorry. I screwed up." can do for you.

M. G. Tarquini said...

We have met the nitwit and he is us.

Mental note: Remove Strategy Number 6 from my Ultimate Manuscript Marketing Handbook.

Yep. Apologize. Move on.

rick said...

Actually, I believe AARPNET (or something like that) has been around since 1968 or so. My first experience being on a network was at AT&T in 1984. (That's where I discovered someone's doctorial thesis on farting and discovered it was due primarily to undigested sugars. Fascinating.)

So her claim is not all that far-fetched if she worked in a military or collegiate setting.

The Internet (World Wide Web), as we know it, showed its debut in the early 1990s.

-the other rick

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I feel very bad for Miss Yoffa. It was a poorly thought out plan. Thinking through to consequences can be hard. And I'm sure she is very upset right now.

I'm sorry you're in distress. But, it's better to learn now than later when a foolish mistake might matter more.

And the Met? I love that place. I have a list of little museums that I really enjoy too.

High on the list is Maryhill Museum. They have some wonderful things, though you can't tell it from their pitiful website.

Corning Museum of Glass! You must see that one, at least visit their wonderful website.

There are innumerable little historical society museums scattered all over. Fun places, often.

Then there are the "museums of books," such as American Antiquarian Society, Philadelphia Library Company, and Library of Congress.

They are relaxing places, Palaces of Thought, temples offering succor for the soul.

Ok, I'll stop.

Corn Dog said...

An apology is "I'm sorry." No "ifs" are attached nor conditional statements about the tome's "current status" and more shameless plugging. SPAM only begins to touch on what Sarah attempted and continues doing. Try rude, unprofessional, harrassing and now operating without a clue. Sarah, try "I'm sorry" and take down everything else on that post! That should work.

Southern Writer said...

Between this blog and the writer's, just about everything has been said - except what a magnanimous gesture it was for Miss Snark to publicly redeem this writer. I hope Miss Yoffa realizes how very fortunate she's been today.

Manic Mom said...

I wonder how many people actually sent an email to Tor saying the work was wonderful and worth publishing?

How many? Anyone know?

Jane Lebak said...

Thank you for the apology formula, Miss Snark. I plan to commit it to memory.

Miss Manners wrote a while back that one shouldn't "waste a perfectly good apology by adding an excuse."

Anonymous said...

Wow, letting it out that you sympathize with people in their "blonde" moments and even admiting to them yourself. You're going to ruin your reputation for being a hard ass in high heels if you keep that up Miss Snark.

But I suspected it all along. :)

Anonymous said...

let us take a look at ms. yoffa's "apology":

"My sincere and abject apologies IF YOU VIEWED WHAT I DID AS attempting to SPAM you. That was, by far, never my intention.

I do HOPE YOU'LL AT LEAST DO ME THE COURTESY to use the SASE (when it arrives) and officially respond to OST, as it is currently in the status of "submitted to Tor."

I'LL BE DISAPPOINTED IF, after this fiasco, OST isn't even reviewed, BUT SO BE IT. As you say, there are a hundred reasons you reject dozens of manuscripts on a daily basis, many of which have nothing at all to do with the quality of the work. A post on a blog has to be a new one. WELCOME TO THE NET.LIFE"

i've capitalized the language that is at best, BARELY apologetic, and in most cases, hectoring and snippy. i am sure ms. yoffa never "intended" to use such a tone, but there it is. and miss snark, you smelled it for what it is.

i'm sure ms. yoffa feels defensive, but she is the one who made the huge mistake and needed the fusillade of shots she got from owners of clue-guns everywhere.

it's hard (i know it is, sometimes i can truly apologize and sometimes i say things like "sorry if you felt that way," but eventually i squirm and look at my failing sideways and i hate it. i just hate it), but you might save the situation if you just apologize. straight up. like miss snark says. no bits where you not-so-subtly remind ms. genoese how to be professional, or treat her like some newbie who doesn't have a clue to what the net is all about.

by your own admission, _you_ are the one who needs a clue as to what the publishing world is all about, on the net or off. this isn't the "webbie design world" nor is it a publishing version of "survivor" where people vote who gets to stay on the island or who gets read by a potential editor. miss snark's blog should be a great resource for you as you attempt your transition from the webbie design world to the world of writing and publishing. good luck to you-- all of this won't last, especially if you can learn how to make a real apology.
welcome to the net.bite

magz said...

As always, Miss Snark..
Miss Manners would approve.

I've been guilty of the random Drunken Rant email myownself (usually to my own family for I rarely pick on Strangers) but oh MY!

I've learned to pen a sterling and sincere apology the next day!
(Ya done us ALL proud here; and truely proved yer the Snark w/Heart). Thank you Oh Wise Woman.

Anonymous said...

That was a very touching post, Miss Snark. You're right - there are times when we just have to swallow hard, admit that we ****ed up and apologize. Learn the lesson and go on with life, a little bit wiser.

This is not what Sarah Yoffa did. A true apology does not come with "ifs" attached. "...if you viewed what I did as attempting to spam you..." states that she does not believe that she spammed, only that she admits that it might be percieved as such. So much for the apology part.

There's no wisening up either. While she abhors coming so close to being a spammer, from her post it is obvious that she doesn't understand the publishing industry or her own actions enough to understand why what she did was so wrong.

Without her growing up and wisening up she has no chance of being published - ever. Not under her own name. Not under a pseudonym either.

Considering the many, many unpublished writers who *do* do their homework and struggle to learn and advance their skills, I fail to feel sorry with this one.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark generously offered up redemption, yet Yoffa's presumptuous and semi-bitchy letter to the Tor editor is still posted. She's almost threatening in her apology. I don't think she gets it.

You guys on this blog are far too classy, nice and forgiving for this girlie.

The Rejected Writer said...

We seem to have forgotten how to apologize these days. Miss Snark is right. There is never an "if" in an apology.

Further one must know and understand that just because an apology is proffered, it may not be accepted. There is no inherent demand that Ms. G (or anyone else) accept it.

You may hope she does. You should hope she does, if only to help heal the wound you have created through an unfortunate choice. But she is not obliged to accept it, or do anything other than send back your submission unopened.

Forgiveness isn't an easy thing for anyone...no matter the offense. Yes, the Met can help. So can lots of other things.

Move on with life having learned from this mistake.

Just Curious said...

Any one know what exactly was in the original request/ supposed slew of emails saying her work was good?

Anonymous said...

Having a truly phenomenally stupid idea is part of being human. That being the case, almost anyone can - if asked nicely - forgive and forget the stupid moment. After all, we've all been that nitwit, and we will be again.

What separates the sheep from the goats isn't the nitwittery itself, but how they react to the realisation that, today, they are the nitwit. People with a brain and a spine say, 'I'm really sorry. I'm glad someone pointed out my nitwittery before it went even further. Lesson learned.' A HUGE percentage of the time, everyone forgets it and moves on.

An 'apology' implying that a) it's other people's reaction, rather than my action, that's at fault; b) you people just don't understand the internet like I do; and c) it's basic courtesy for you to forget this ever happened, so you'd better review my submission... that's not an apology, and it won't fix anything.

Nadia said...

You know you've been playing computer games too long when your finger starts twitching and you keep thinking: just hit delete, just hit delete. As so many others have said, we all do some unbelievably stupid things, and we survive. You live and learn.

Anonymous said...

A comment--

Sarah is an active member of an online community run by a publisher. In that community, people from time to time will go to the publisher's forum and say "Such and such on the Slush board is a great story--you should buy it!" Others will chime in saying "Oh, this is true, it's great, buy it!"

Personally, I always cringed when I saw such posts. Nevertheless, it IS a part of the culture of the particular online community (and I don't know how the publisher regarded it), and it's quite possible that Sarah didn't realize that this approach doesn't carry over outside that community.

That said, now that she DOES know, well, a genuine apology would seem in order....

Oh well.

Kim said...

After reading the rest of the comments on this post, I popped on over to Sarah's blog. It looks to me that she's taken all of it down in regards to TOR. Hmmm... better or worse than just saying 'I'm sorry' and taking down the first post? I don't know. But I thought it was interesting all the same.

Talia Mana said...

She must have deleted the post. It was there a little while ago, now it's gone. Could pick it up on cache I guess. A very wise decision. Maybe she read anna-louise and realised her mistake?

Kellie said...

I've been watching this debacle with some measure of amusement, being an editor at a (very tiny) publishing house myself. I could forgive the initial post as an overenthusiastic writer's honest mistake, but believe me, after that "apology," I wouldn't touch her manuscript with a ten foot pole, even if it was absolute literary gold.

Lots of people can write. Editors are inundated with manuscripts every day; many of them are even good. With so much to choose from, any editor with half a brain will immediately pass on someone who sounds like a child saying "I'm sorry I got caught" instead of "I'm sorry I did it."

rabs said...

She took down the page (unless my computer is just being funky). I think that's probably the best plan.

$1M said...

The tone of the apology was patronizing.

I hope that Ms. Yoffa, at some point, appreciates that she has been very lucky. Her error was caught by someone who was doing her a favor and Miss Snark provided, for free, $1 million in PR advice.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the Pope didn't read this before he made his "...if I've offended..." apology.

Corn Dog said...

Oh yeah. The page is down. Let's just pretend like the whole thing never happened. la te da de da Sarah skips off into the sunset thick with the smoke of clue cannons.

GutterBall said...

I am reminded of Terrell Owens and his "apology" to Mr. McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles.

I'm sorry if anyone thinks I've done anything wrong.

However, I am also reminded that he screwed up and was forgiven enough to find a place on the Eagles. And then he screwed up again and was forgiven enough to find a place with the Cowboys. Why? Because despite his flair for the flambouyant, he's an excellent athlete.

Now, if he'll just shut and play, all is forgiven. Same here, I'd imagine.

Anonymous said...

I really can't help thinking that this is none of our business. Surely it's a matter for the blogger and the editor to sort out between them?

All this judgemental harping on about the sincerity or otherwise of her apology is starting to sound like the gossip of very small-minded people with nothing else to think about. (And, yes, I'm butting out now.)

Kelley Bell said...

"A sincere apology is "I fucked up. I'm really sorry. I learned a lot from this. I ask your forgiveness".


May I forward this to The Pope?

Anonymous said...

Surely it's a matter for the blogger and the editor to sort out between them?

Um, that's sort of been everyone's point. It should have been exactly that.

When she invited everyone on the internet to become part of it, then she was de facto inviting everyone on the internet to have opinions about it.

snarkaholic said...

Ray Goldensundrop said...

I once crashed the primary system of a major worldwide employer with a single keystroke. Cost millions per minute of downtime.

Ray, please forward me your contact details. I have a special job that needs to be done and your skills will come in handy.

Anonymous said...

Ten years ago I left a message on the voice mail of a man I was crazy about. I was crazy all right. Anyway, I said something like, "Even though I have a bird with hair that sticks up on top of it's head, two dogs, and three kids, I know that you will eventually see that I am the woman for you." Yeah, not five minutes had passed that I wanted to jump from a 10 story building. I would have done ANYTHING to have gotten Bellsouth to erase that message. And I do mean ANYTHING. Finally, when I thought it safe to crawl out from the covers and leave my house,I wanted to never see this man again.

Seven years later: We are very much in love. Notice I said, "WE"

Georgia Girl (-:

Anonymous said...

"When she invited everyone on the internet to become part of it..."

Oh, of course, now I see. She was asking for it! Burn the witch! Burn the witch!

She didn't invite everyone on the internet to become part of it, she invited the readers of her blog.

I don't quite understand why some of the posters here are so outraged that they seem to think she should apologise to the entire internet. If we're all a global village now, then I guess these are the global village gossips, rubbing their hands and cackling at the misfortunes of others.

Just Saying said...

Aside from the questionable apology she's also been whining over at Baen's Bar about how badly the mean editor has treated her.

Clueless doesn't even begin to cover it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, of course, now I see. She was asking for it! Burn the witch! Burn the witch! [...] I don't quite understand why some of the posters here are so outraged that they seem to think she should apologise to the entire internet.

Would you mind quoting one of the posters who "seem[s] to think she should apologize to the entire internet"? Somehow, I missed seeing that among the posts that pointed out what a real apology is and isn't, and how what she'd posted certainly didn't qualify as an apology to the editor in question.

Nice try at aiming for the "unjustified persecution" angle, but it just doesn't quite fly here.


BradyDale said...

Wow, Miss Snark is being nice and supportive? Don't tell your broker.

Just kidding. I know you have two sides. I know it's cheesy, but the new Batman movie has this repeated phrase the Bruce Wayne's father said to him when he was little.

"Why do we ball, Bruce? So that we may learn how to pick ourselves back up again."

I always find that a little encouraging.

Anonymous said...

She didn't invite everyone on the internet to become part of it, she invited the readers of her blog.

She asked that people (anyone) read the first chapter, share it with everyone they knew, and that everyone then post on the editor's blog and beg her to buy the book.

Think about that. Is that the way you'd want to be hired for a job? "Mom, call this boss for me, and get Dad and Aunt Jean to do it, too. We'll prove to them I can do it, and I'll get hired!"

Anyway, she has no readers of her blog that I could see. Until this happened, there were 0 comments to every entry on her blog.

I don't quite understand why some of the posters here are so outraged that they seem to think she should apologise to the entire internet.

No, she needs to give a not-backhanded apology to the editor. Think about this: the author wasted 6 months writing a novel of a type that the editor was looking for, only to flush it down the toilet by pulling a weird stunt, then not apologizing. Personally, if she apologizes or not, I don't really care.

I think some people are missing the point. It had nothing to do with spam. The point is, harassing an editor, agent, boss, lover, etc. in any way is not the way to get one interested in you.

I don't think there's anything wrong with pointing out the stupidity of another person. This is a blog where we learn from other people's mistakes. Incidentally, I've seen "-sry" post on Miss Snark's blog before in the comments, so you'd think she'd have learned something from it.

Sorry, anonymous, nice try. I'll "suffer the little children", but I won't suffer stupidity.

blaironaleash said...

'Aside from the questionable apology she's also been whining over at Baen's Bar about how badly the mean editor has treated her.

Clueless doesn't even begin to cover it.'

I went over and had a look. Boy, she's really not sorry at all, is she?

Personally I don't think the whole thing was such a big deal: a mistake, yes, but not a crime. It's the sophistry of her response - the attempted misdirection of audience attention, like an amateur magician, to the rudeness of Miss G's response, rather than her own error - that I find annoying.

Boy, if a four-letter word upsets her so much she's lucky she's not a salesperson calling me on a rough day at the office. And should perhaps ponder the fact that, effectively, that's exactly her position.

Till you're signed up, you're not a client, love. Just another huckster.

Anonymous said...

Yes, she is still whining and calling ALG names over at Baen:

Dom, just to be clear, I don't agree with but definitely am not arguing
with her objection - it's the use of expletives in a public forum where
she is one of only 3 representing the PROFESSIONAL FACE OF THE COMPANY.

I am someone who can and does swear up and down, it's easily part of my
regular vocabulary. I do, however, consider my audience and adjust
accordingly. Perhaps, that's part of my ability to compartamentalize my
brain. I defnitely do that (we discussed this on the "are you shy"
thread a month or so ago). Unless I'm representing a company like a
corner bar--not the this place, but a real life establishment that
sells liquor--or a manufacturing plant or some other place were "sailor
types" are working and that's the language used daily, I just don't find
it appropriate to use expletives for public discourse. Even granting her
personality or preferred image she wants to project (of someone who
swears regularly, as part of her daily vocabulary, perhaps making her
sound more like a teenager?) at the very least, I would have expected
the f*** word to have stars as I just did here. It didn't. She didn't
star out or otherwise censor the language for publication on the web.

I know Tor does not really want this to be their image. I know TNH and
PNH do not conduct themselves this way on *their* blog (the only other
public blog "advertised" as representative of Tor's editorial staff). I
know Tor has authors who do not behave this way or use this sort of

I didn't know this was appropriate in *that* corner of the Romance genre

I'm trying very hard to bear in mind that there are other Romance genre
authors who do not use expletives in their public or professional
communications--not even in private written communications. (Suzanne
Brockmann and Jenny Crusie--both of whom have and do use expletives in
their FICTION--would never communicate with foul language in public
statements) It's simply not a professional way to communicate with
strangers. I suppose if she KNEW me....maybe. But I'm a total stranger
so that theory is shot.

It's just Tor Romance, I guess. She is, after all, the entire
one-person "department." I suppose she can make any image for that
department she wants. I just was expecting the same level of
professionalism as the rest of Tor Books.

I'm undoubtedly reacting because it was expletive-ridden angry words
flung *at me* but I would find it "odd" at the very least and
"inappropriate" at best whether it were me or someone else. In fact, I
do believe she has used expletives on her blog before (not in an angry
fashion, just to make her words colorful). Not often, but I have a
vague recollection. I also have a sharp recollection of her admonishing
words to BE PROFESSIONAL IN ALL COMMUNICATIONS. Seems like a conflict of
interest from where I sit.


I imagine if anyone was inclined to give her the benefit of the doybt before, that's gone now. How unprofessional can one person get?

GVDub said...

"She didn't invite everyone on the internet to become part of it, she invited the readers of her blog. "

Unless your blog is securely password protected, posting something in your blog is inviting "everyone on the internet". This is something that people often seem to forget, even people who, like the person in question, claims 25 years of online experience. You should never put anything in your blog that you don't want the whole world to read, especially considering that, despite all attempts at security, someobody who can read it may decide to repost it in a more publicly accesible spot.

Posting something on the World Wide Web is very much like writing graffiti on the bathroom wall. You have next to no control over who will ultimately read it and, thanks to sites like the Wayback Machine, you don't even know that you can get rid of it if you should decide that you were, in fact, in error. There's no real 'backsies' in cyberspace.

Anonymous said...


Put your ego aside. Not only was your spamicide inexcusable, but your apologicide was even worse.

A simple, "I'm sorry," would have sufficed.

You've blown it with this agent, so move on. Remember your conduct when it comes to the other agents you'll contact.

Anonymous said...

Wondering why Miss Snark is allowing posts like this to go on. Give the girl a break.

Anonymous said...
Yes, she is still whining and calling ALG names over at Baen:

Dom, just to be clear, I don't agree with but definitely am not arguing
with her objection - it's the use of expletives in a public forum where
she is one of only 3 representing the PROFESSIONAL FACE OF THE COMPANY."

Deborah Hern said...

I believe Miss Snark is allowing posts to continue because this is an object lesson to anyone who wants to know how NOT to deal with an agent/editor.

At first, I figured she was just clueless and, humiliated, took down the post. Then, I read her "I'm sorry you took it the wrong way" apology. Which is not an apology, since it puts the blame for taking offense on the other person. THEN... I checked out her posts at Baen's Bar, wherein she essentially trashes the professionalism, maturity level, and status of not only the editor, but Tor Romance. Which is odd, since she certainly didn't hesitate to send them a partial when asked.

Bottom line? This may be someone who cannot be helped, by gentle suggestion, straight talk, tough love, or massive firings of clue cannons. She has her point of view and no one will sway her. Which is fine for her, but not so fine for her future as an author.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, none of this Vaticanesque, "I'm sorry you took it that way," pseudo-ruefulness.

Anonymous said...

Wondering why Miss Snark is allowing posts like this to go on. Give the girl a break.

/S/a/r/a/h/ Anon, people would give this twit a break if she had apologized sincerely and dropped the matter. But no, she is howling her temper tantrum all over Baen's Bar, trying to blame the editor when it's Sarah who acted unprofessionally. The twit can't even tell the difference between a personal blog and the publisher's official website. And that's just one cluestick in a huge bundle that she needs.

Kim said...

I have to admit, I did a double-take over at ALG's blog. It was surprising to see f bombs sprinkled throughout and I got the feeling there might be a hint of anger issues beneath that surface. Mind you, this was just my opinion.

On the flip side, this is HER blog and she can write whatever she sees fit. Until this whole thing happened, I had no idea ALG's blog even existed! I think it's pretty funny that Sarah thought nothing of HER unprofessionalism, but slapped someone else's hand for the same thing.

Funny, though - that seemingly unprofessional blog sure didn't stop Sarah from sending in a partial, did it?

Well, I'll say this much for Sarah, I think she already knows the outcome to her submission.

**eye roll**

Anonymous said...

I don't quite understand why some of the posters here are so outraged that they seem to think she should apologise to the entire internet.

I'm the one who intially said that, when she posted this appeal on a public internet site, she de facto invited comment from anyone reading it.

I'm not one bit outraged by any of this. Why on earth should I be? And I haven't seen anyone suggesting that she should apologise to anyone but the editor in question.

I'm just bewildered by the idea that, when someone posts an appeal to readers on a public blog, it's somehow nasty and evil and horrible for readers to have any opinion or reaction other than the one she wanted them to have.

And those reactions had the potential to do her a whacking great favour. This situation was salvageable. It was even salvageable after the non-apology. If the writer had read all of these comments and taken them to heart, she could have undone the damage to her relationship with the editor.

Just because these comments didn't say what the writer wanted to hear, they're not necessarily nasty or small-minded. Sometimes saying what someone doesn't want to hear has the potential to do the person a huge favour.

barbara said...

Umm...does this writer even read Making Light? If she thinks PNH and TNH don't use bad language on their blog, well, she hasn't noticed Patrick disagreeing with people in the comment trail.
Further, both of them have been Very Clear Indeed that Making Light is not Tor's blog but theirs, and that they are not speaking as representatives of Tor there. I don't believe alg blogs as a Tor editor either, in the sense of being officially overseen.
Maybe the writer should phone TNH and try to get alg fired for bad language? That should go over well.