Nothing like negative attitudes to make truths you’ve been preaching ring even truer, you know?
Yesterday I read a post on a literary agency blog, and you’ll NEVER guess what it was about.
Go on, guess.
It was about QUERY LETTERS! No lie, I kid you not!
You know what’s funnier? The poster made sure to point out how the blog has been around since 2006, and is repeating the topic. Comedy! Wow! And for free!
But that’s not the part I found funny. The part I thought was funny was the content. The poster wrote:
I was talking to an author recently who told me that she had been rejected by 120 agents on query alone. Not one had requested a partial. How does that happen? Here’s how. Your query isn’t strong enough.
Gosh, how eye-opening. Since 2006, no other literary agencies have blogged THAT bit of earth-shattering news. And you know what? The hits just keep on comin’. It goes on:
To be honest, even the crappiest (apparently word of the day) book should be getting requests because a good query, like a good car salesman, can sell anything. If you aren’t getting any requests on 20 queries (that means at least one request for every 20 queries you send), you need to rewrite your query. It’s not working.
You see here, writers and wannabe authors? Struggle all you’d like to make your manuscript great (you should), it’s not going to matter. In the end, all you need is a great query letter. This is proof positive of what I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen for a couple of years now. I don’t believe vanity publishing is an alternative – never did. I have and always will discourage vanity publishing. But epublishing is completely different, and is, in my not-remotely-humble opinion, the wave of the present wherein the future of great authors is decided by readers, not agents and editors at publishing houses.
Oh, but don’t you dare question the gatekeeper system. One commentator suggested epublishing is superior:
I think this is yet another sign of how antiquated the traditional publishing route is becoming. If a great storyteller can’t get noticed because they’re not a good letter writer, there’s a disconnect. It’s like picking an electrician based on his plumbing skills. This is another example of an advantage of e-publishing. When you put the power into the hands of the writers and readers, the cream will rise to the top on its own, and a great book will be more noticed than a great letter.
They met, of course, with sycophant backlash, but the funniest part of the whole article came from the “agent” herself:
I agree and from now on we’ll stop writing cover copy for books. Instead you can go through the bookstore read the title, author name, look at the pretty cover and then read the first 5-10 pages of the book before making a decision to buy. As a new author, one with no audience, let’s see how many books you sell.
And yes, I couldn’t avoid the snark on this one.
Couldn’t avoid it, huh? Good to know. And the next several authors whose manuscripts are unlucky enough to be under her hand for the next several hours will be REJECTED. Because… well, she’s in a bad mood now.
It all just goes as evidence of what I’ve been saying for a while now. The gatekeeping system doesn’t work like it did before. It’s established so no one thinks anything else will work or even exists, and when it’s suggested to them they get a little freaked out. It’s rejected out of hand. But the ebook isn’t going anywhere, and the future of publishing is going to be different because of it.
I, personally, cannot WAIT to see this ivory tower topple and collapse. It’s not supposed to be about how great a query letter you can write. It’s not. It’s about how great a BOOK you can write. But look at the blogger’s response to that suggestion. She “couldn’t avoid the snark” in addressing it. I like the use of that word – “couldn’t”. No, of course not. If she had, the point might not have been strong enough for the a$$-kissing boot-lickers in the comments section to see how outsiders will be treated.
Until the tower falls. Soon, my pretties, soon. And I hope THIS agent’s the first to go.