January 24th, 2009


Notes from the Front Lines: The Bulldozer

This week's bit of query letter dipshittery comes from the kind of author I like to call the Bulldozer. That is, someone who thinks he can muscle his way past any obstacles to representation. Here's what happened.

An email query showed up addressed to my colleague in both the subject line and the salutation. I asked her if this was an author she was already in touch with, but she didn't recognize the name (and this woman has an almost supernaturally powerful memory), so we figured he'd gotten her name from some reference guide or other and had decided to use it. Which is perfectly acceptable, and is, in fact, preferable to the hundreds of "Dear Sir/Madam" letters we get.

I read his query, decided it wasn't quite right for us, and sent him a standard rejection, signed with my name. Well, this did not sit right with said author. He wrote back rather angrily, claiming the query had been addressed to my colleague, not to me, and did she even get a chance to see it? Because, he stated, she may have a wholly different reaction to it.

This, my friends, is the Bulldozer, trying to push his way past me, hoping if another pair of eyes sees his query the reaction will be "Oh my God, this is brilliant," and I will be fired for being difficult and snooty, and he will make a million dollars overnight. Right. What the Bulldozer doesn't understand is that I've been entrusted with the task of reading and answering submissions for a very simple reason. My colleagues trust my judgment. If they didn't, I wouldn't be working there. End of story.

In the end, my colleague wrote back to the author explaining that she'd passed the query along to me and agreed with my assessment, then wished him all the best. If you ask me, she was being far too nice, but yeah, we have to stay professional because you never know who you're going to be working with in the future. If only some of the authors we hear from understood that concept.

In a perfect world, though, Bulldozers would have their gas tanks emptied by beautifully snarky responses!

Fanfic Saturday

After ktempest and nihilistic_kid both posted about this awful bit of Twilight fan fiction -- like, within minutes of each other! -- I was feeling left out. I too wanted to bring joy to LiveJournal Land. So, please enjoy "Sanctuary," a bit of Lost fanfic wherein Richard and Sayid meet in a hotel room in New York City. But they're not meeting to discuss island weirdness, no no no. Let's let the author explain through the magic of breathless, present-tense prose!

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