Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Query Fail – The Backlash Continues

A number of agents participated in a twitter event called "query fail" where they made cracks about the queries they were reading as they read them. The snark ran deep and the blood gushed to the writers following the 'event' with bated breath.

Mind you, this was not an industry-wide event. There were a number of agents who declined the 'fun' on whatever grounds. (They had excellent survival instincts as it turns out.)

The backlash began immediately on writer's forums. I read about it on and being the internet rubberneck that I am I checked it out.

I got the impression of a hundred young women, PMSing their brains out, gleefully sharpening their claws on the poor shmucks who queried them. (Rather like the shower scene from Carrie – the queen bees pelting the unfortunate and ignorant Carrie with tampons and such.)

Just like the shower scene in Carrie – there has been a rumbling discontent from the writer's. Flame-ups on forums, snark from writers on the blogs, minor signs of disgust from canny agents covering their asses.

There was an 'agent fail' site that went up:
Then, today, I found this little gem by Mary W. Walters – The Talent Killers – How Literary Agents are Destroying Literature and What Publishers can do to Stop Them.

Mary is on – she's written a lovely little gem of a novel "The Whole Clove Diet." I've not read it, though I've read a number of her posts on the forums. Enough that I respect her opinions – even though I'm a writer of genre fiction and could easily cop an attitude – this isn't what the essay is about.

Not really.

In my not so humble opinion – this is about the perception that agents have a strangle hold on the publishing industry. This is about the (sited and often repeated) report that the 'mid-list' is dead and along with it the writers who aren't 'blockbusters.'

This is about marketing fads like "VAMPIRE SEX SELLS BOOKS" or in the case of a certain YA romance "SEXLESS VAMPIRES SELL BOOKS." Where every frustrated writer turned agent (and equally guilty publishers) leap on the bandwagon to tout the latest fad. As if all writers should become SM and LKH clones over night. (As if all readers will buy that crap like lemmings leaping off the cliff. I didn't and I won't spend my money on that vampire crap.)

Is this the rumbling that proceeds the "Prom Night Slaughter" scene in Carrie? Will there be agent blood shed in the end? Will e-publishing become the refuge of the mid-list?

Stay tuned.


Mary W. Walters said...

Thanks, Kat. Thanks for "getting" the context.

Best wishes,


Ms Kitty said...

You are welcome.

I'm rather sorry that the rest of the crew on Authonomy isn't getting it too.

It is a very good essay.

I don't think they are reading it.

Lazy bunch.