Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I wish it was a lot less snarky world

No, really, that's what she said.

I just watched Uma Thurman on Katy Couric. (Now there's a visual that'll stay with me all day). I just watched Katy Couric interview Uma Thurman. They both used snarky in a sentence at least twice (talk about your zeitgeist), and Uma finished with, "I wish it was a lot less snarky world."

Of course, this meant I had to read Miss Snark. She's back from Frankfurt, and as full of pith and vinegar as her Snarklings expect... or maybe not. On her first day back, she wrote something decidedly UN-Snarky. This little essay is about being polite. No, really. Go read it.

"IF an agent elects to accept e-queries, common courtesy dictates a response should be sent. It can be a form response "thank you but not right for us" but there should still be something.

This hogwash about we'll get back to you if we're interested is ridiculous. If you don't want to deal with queries then DON'T but to just blithely disregard them as though some sort of Ridley Scott robot is on the other end and not a human being is just plain BAD MANNERS."
Can I have an Amen? Thank you brothers and sisters.

Now, I don't mind if I don't get a response, I just do the math.

No-Response = Response-No

Easy enough.

What I do mind, is not knowing if they even received my submission. With snail-mail, it isn't an issue. Put a stamp on an envelope, and it's gets there. 99.99875% of the time. With email, not so much. Sometimes emails just catch a ship to the grey havens and go into the west, never to be seen again. But, there is an easy fix. Auto-responders. For every email that comes in, one goes out. Automatically.

We received your email. We'll respond in __ years. Good luck with your career. Don't call us. We'll call you.
In the electronic age, amazing things are possible. A nine-year-old can set up an auto-responder (think: Vacation Away Message), and since some of the websites I've seen were obviously designed by a nine-year-old, why aren't they using this wonderful tool?

In too many ways, common courtesy has become uncommon. The world has gone snarky. Thank you, yes ma'am, and please are words and phrases now reserved for the bedroom (sorry, it's that Uma on Katy visual again). Like Miss Thurman and Miss Snark, sometimes I wish it was a lot less snarky world.

Mark Pettus,
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

11 comments so far. Thank you, Blogger Caryn, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger jason evans, Blogger Kelly Parra, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Caryn, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Dawno, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger Shock Carlos, Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins,

Let me know what you think

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at 9:05 PM Blogger Caryn said...

How funny. I hadn't posted a comment on Miss Snark's website before, and that was my first one. Can't believe how fast she answered it. I'm full of questions now, but don't want to take advantage. And I totally agree with you; WHY can't they at least acknowledge that they received a response? I have now decided not to e-query anymore unless it the agent specifically states preferring an e-query (as some do). I even bought special mailers. Here's hoping it works. Good luck with your own querying. Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog earlier!

at 10:46 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Take advantage. I love comments, so does she, for the same reason.

E-queries are too easy. If I'm going to make a typo or spelling mistake, it will be in an e-query. I sent one last night and when I re-read it today I discovered that I called Lauren, Laura. Probably not a big deal, except to Lauren... and the agent who loves her. Arggh.

at 10:02 AM Blogger jason evans said...


But I'm still a believer...(in email queries, that is). With a personal email address, the query is getting in front of the eyes of the agent. I believe that most paper queries are screened by interns, assistants, etc. I'm not so interested in their perspective (which could be all over the board). My positive response rate from equeries is much higher than paper queries.

at 1:05 PM Blogger Kelly Parra said...

I really dislike the "send in a e-query and not get a response if the agent isn't interested". I only did it once and wondered if they actually read it before deleting. =D

But I love the option to send e-queries. So much easier and cost efficient.

at 1:41 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

I met an agent who told me he was going to implement the "no response means no" policy for e-queries. I'd already queried him at the time (meaning I queried when he promised a two to four week response time). I still haven't gotten a response. I count this as a blessing.

When I look for agents to query, I try to find agents who are loved by their authors. They not only get mentioned in the aknowledgements, their authors are naming children after them. That's who I want representing me. I doubt any agent so rude they don't even respond are all that loveable to begin with.

I've also noticed that the big-time agents on my A list are not only the most accomplished, they are the most polite and professional. Wonder what that means?

By the way, the numero uno agent on my list has an assistant answer emails. Of course, at fifteen percent, it only takes a couple of those multi-million dollar advances a year to pay for an assistant who will do a lot more than check your email. Go figure.

at 5:44 PM Blogger Caryn said...

Jason, that's interesting. Much higher, huh? That's good to know. I'm keeping track, but I just started the querying process so it's not very accurate yet.

at 6:22 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

I've had exactly the same response rate for unsolicitited queries in the 3 different formats (e-mail, snail mail, and electronic site forms).

I think the key to getting past an intern lies in making the personal connection with the agent. Get that personal connection into the first paragraph, and you make it a lot harder for an intern to toss your query just because they got a papercut opening your envelope... not that anyone ever gets rejected over little things like that.


at 10:12 PM Blogger Dawno said...

Just dropped by to see what's up. *waves* Uma and Katie, huh. I just want to be trapped in an elevator with Scott Bakula for about 3 hours.

I'm a huge Ms Snark fan, ain't she a hoot?

Did you notice you're now one of my "people"?


at 11:22 AM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Hi Dawno. I did notice. Three hours? I hope Scott gets a good night's sleep before he meets you.

FYI-The e-query with the typo went to an agent who uses an autoresponder on her query email address. She doesn't use one on her general email addy (I sent an apology for misspelling her favorite author's name), but she does respond quickly.

I got my rejection last night. "Not right for my list."

Every time I promise myself - no more spur of the moment queries - I break my promise and get nowhere with my efforts. I'm not going to do that anymore. I promise. Well, maybe...

at 3:37 AM Blogger Shock Carlos said...

Really enjoyed reading yourblog! I'll bookmark you!

If you're interested, I have a auto responder site/blog.
It's about auto responder related stuff. Come by and check it out if you get time. Thanks...

at 12:08 AM Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

I just watched Uma Thurman on Katy Couric. (Now there's a visual that'll stay with me all day). ROFL Mark, that was one of the few mornings I was able to catch the show. I was quite surprised to hear them both say snarky. And I agree, I wish the world were a little less snarky as well. I'm going to hang up my snarky hat right now. ;)


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