5.06.2007

Agency websites with errors

Dear Miss Snark,

Write a novel. Rewrite it. Write a rough query letter. Edit novel. Edit letter. Get both critiqued by people trusted to be harsh, though not cruel. Write synopsis; edit twice. Narrow list of agents from all in existence to only those who handle your genre. Edit novel again. Edit query again. Get picky over the details. Hand it off for a second reading. Prepare a dozen SASE's. Go back to agent websites and double-check you won't be sending your Fantasy work to an agent who specializes in Horror.

Am I allowed to be horrified, and cross agencies off my list, upon seeing that they misspelled words? And not just any words- one agency has a side bar with things such as "Query Guidelines" "Recent Work" and "Apperances", spelled just that way. I'm obsessing over details, and... *shakes head and tosses KY a bone*. Yes, they represent my stuff, have AAR membership, have sold things recently- including something that's similar to my book- but they don't care enough about appearances to spell the word right on their main site.

Agent nitwits, or should I overlook it?

well, I'm not objective, given I've had spelling errors on my site too.
It happens.
It's not the end of the world.

And a lot of times, the agency website isn't maintained by the agent and/or it's a pretty low priority.
No excuse I know.

My vote is to overlook it. Whatever you do, don't mention it in your query letter, not even to be funny.

16 comments:

Elektra said...

The truly annoying thing is when agencies have spelling/grammatical errors on their form rejects. It just adds insult to injury.

ORION said...

I think it is seductive to look for mistakes and rationalize that it is somehow important.
The thing is the sales not the website.

Anonymous said...

I see the error in "Apperances". But I have stared and stared at "Query Guidelines" and "Recent Work", and just can't find the spelling errors. Am I crazy? Am I blind? Help!

Jennifer said...

I did mention a mistake in an agency's submission form. They wrote me a lovely rejection note inviting me to resubmit. But they didn't fix the mistake. I'm starting to believe it's a trap to weed out nit-picky authors with pedantic tendencies.
I will not fall into that trap again, thanks to you, Miss Snark.

Sincerely,
Nit-picky, pedantic author with paranoiac tendencies.
;-)

KC said...

I live in a fairly large city, and I've had the opportunity to read court filings submitted by the best and the brightest, not to mention the most expensive, attorneys practicing in this area. Shockingly, they are almost always riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors. These are the same attorneys who consistantly get the guy with the bloody knife in one hand and the smoking gun in the other, off scott free.

Make of that what you will.

David said...

Is the whole starting sentences with verbs thing an attempt to avoid the the first person pronoun? If so, stop it. Stop it right now.

'Cause, yanno, when you start a sentence with a verb, the subject is understood to be 'you,' and you ain't talking about me writing a novel, are you, author?

wonderer said...

First Anon - "Recent Work" should be plural. "Query Guidelines" is fine, at least as far as I'm concerned.

denever said...

Anon, there's no mistake in "Query Guidelines" or "Recent Work." The writer was just using those as examples of the area on the website where the offending "Apperances" appeared (or appered).

Before I flipped out over lack of attention to detail, I'd consider the number of errors. One is probably just a typo that made it through (although I always wonder when I see a prominent one: don't people ever look at their own sites?).

Two or three would be more of a gray area, but I'd look to see whether they're balanced out by really good things (e.g., content that makes me think this person would be great to work with).

Four or more: that's a trend, and it doesn't bode well. I'd skip down to the next entry on my list at that point.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, anonymous #1. I too stared at those "errors" and even came here to the comments section to see if someone else had the same problem. I guess we're BOTH crazy and blind.

denever said...

"Work" vs. "works": good point. As long as we're tweaking, "Recently sold works" or "Recently published works" would be even better. This isn't the sort of glaring error that would be a deal-breaker for me, though.

Conda said...

Well, this makes me feel a bit better that there are agents who have mistakes out there too. I sent off a query to an agent last week who has a very common first name that has several common spellings. I swore I checked her name, but nooo...I misspelled it, one letter wrong. Aargh. I feel like the nitwit of the century--and I only hope she's understanding and forgiving!

Christina Shaver said...

My take? If an agency is so careless with their OWN website (not a personal weblog as in the case here, but a professional website), then just think of how your work will be treated. If they can't market themselves properly, how can you expect them to market your work with care? Go somewhere else.

And for what it's worth, I've written copy for several corporate websites including text so simple as a sidebar. I bled over every pixel.

Anonymous said...

Um, this is really anal. Especially the example of "Recent Work". Get over it.

Ellen said...

Things like this can be very difficult to overlook. I'm currently looking at a local university's New Media Major (basically, building websites and multimedia stuff) and I was shocked and dismayed when I discovered that the only way to get more information about the program is to download a PDF. An ugly PDF at that. The fact that no one in the program at all could throw together a decent website about the major scares the crap out of me but I'm still thinking about applying.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Even P&E contains errors, aside from those in quotes which belong to the contributors. However, P&E also has several hundred pages so it's inevitable that a few will get through even when the programmer is a good speller.

Kristin said...

You have to remember that the agency does not design or maintain their website...someone else does. And, even if they submitted the wording to the designer, and it was all 100% perfect, there can still be mistakes when that wording is pasted into the final site.

The mistake was really very minor...a missing 'e' in 'appearances.' I could see how someone might not even notice it with a cursory glance. OR, and I've had this happen in my own experience, they did notice, informed their designer or host or whatever, and it never got changed.

I would be much more concerned if the agency misspelled their own names or names of their authors. Or had a multitude of very bad spelling all over the place.