Nitwit of the Day? No, this one is BIGGER than that!

Dear Miss Snark

Today I received this email:

I have a completed middle grade manuscript that I was considering submitting for your consideration. Unfortunately, the web page, (redacted) and in fact the entire web site, is unreadable in one sense or another. Dark brown coloured fonts on a black background just doesn't cut it. Perhaps I'm the only one who can't read the site and if so, then I apologize for taking up your time. Otherwise, without properly visible submission instructions, heaven only knows who is sending what to you.

Any idea for what I should say in return?

You mean beyond "FOAD"?

Why anyone complains to a particular agent at a LARGE agency about the website is nitwittery of the prize winning level.

Large agencies have things called webmasters. Small agencies do too. Even Miss Snark has one (yo, Yapp, put DOWN the mouse).

Here's the other major clue to think about before shooting off your foolish mouth: how a webpage looks on YOUR computer may not be how it looks on others.

Even if you think you're performing a service by telling an agent the web page is hard to read (and you're not, so don't) you should at the very least look at it again on a computer that isn't yours.

And if you really find an error, direct it to the webmaster.

This kind of nitwittery will follow you around. Everyone at the LARGE agency knows your name now. As do I. Trust me, if a NitWit List existed you'd be on it.


Simon Haynes said...

When I hit an illegible website I just highlight the text and copy/paste it into a word processor to read in good old black-on-white.

I suspect the original querier knew how to do that, but they were keen to demonstrate their superior webskilz.

Unfortunately they're trying to sell a book, not web design services.

Anonymous said...

Well if I could read a damned frickin' word on this blog, maybe I'd be able to comment...

Anonymous said...

Heck- just try another browser. IE isn't the only one, and not every browser reads a page the same way.
Firefox, Netscape and Opera just to name a few.

Kit Whitfield said...

Also, there's a difference between trying to make helpful suggestions and patronising little power-plays like 'just don't cut it' and 'heaven only knows...' That's just rude. Does this person actually want to get published? Or do they just want to cock a snook at Agent World?

I don't like fonts on a dark background either, but manners is manners.

Stacia said...

What should you say in return?

"Dear X:

I am sorry to inform you that you have failed our Test. Periodically we make our website unreadable in an attempt to see just how much silliness writers will take. Had you passed the test (by performing the simple act of highlighting the text with your mouse), you would have found a code guaranteeing you a full read and critique. Alas, you did not do this.

Your suspicions are correct--we here at (agency) do our best to mess with people. Our "no-read, no-read" policy also ensures we receive the lowest possible ratio of submissions which interest us. We feel this is good business, and strive to find more ways to deliberately confuse and alienate people.

Unless this is Thursday, in which case you should just check your web browser before assuming we'd actually approve an unreadable website, about which you're the only person to complain."

Or just send a standard form rejection. :-)

I'd put it in pink font on a turquoise background.

(hehe my word verif is "jrkey"

Anonymous said...

The truth comes out - it's KY who's in charge of the site. No wonder it's straight-forward. Simplicity and lack of deceit; poodles are philosophers.

As for the complainer, a simple "Your message does not meet our needs at this time" should do it.

Unknown said...

Oy vey--further proof that there's nothing common about sense...