A few days ago I received a query. This morning I had a tweet from someone wanting Jodi Reamer's e-mail and/or web site address. As someone trying to promote agent research, I find these incidences somewhat alarming. Let's have a closer look shall we?
My first and foremost concern is that this person has an obvious disregard or ignorance of the following: publishing history, previous sales, scams. If said person had done any research, they would have realized I am NOT a literary agent. However, let's say there was a misunderstanding since I do happen to have an e-mail address with the word "agent" in it and do the Agent Spotlights. Even if someone had mistook me for an agent, a quick Google search would have revealed the following: no web site, no Publisher's Marketplace page, not on Preditors and Editors, AAR, or any query-tracking web site, and most importantly, I have ZERO sales to my name. Red flags, people. Huge red flags.
Beyond this, I must assume the author is also disregarding submission requirements. If the writer was following submission requirements, it seems likely he/she would have noticed I have none and am not an agent. On top of this, the query was addressed to "Dear Sir." I may have a gender-neutral name, but again, research would have revealed my name and, I'd like to think, my gender. But don't worry, I did not take offense because we have already deduced there was zero research involved. Tip: You can find an agent's gender on LitMatch.
My first thought was as follows: Google!? My second thought: Maybe this is someone I know and they want some quick information. Though, even that would have been alarming. Shall I repeat myself here? Research the agents you want to query, please! But, on realizing I did not know this person, I clicked over to their profile. What did I find? They are tweeting everyone under the sun (including John Green and Stephanie Meyers) trying to get Jodi Reamer's e-mail address. We must note, if the writer does not even know what web site Jodi Reamer can be found at, we can assume he/she a) does not know Jodi Reamer is with Writer's House, and b) he/she is planning on firing off a cold query with complete disregard to Ms. Reamers submission requirements. Alas, there is more. The writer was tweeting agents asking, "are you an agent?" and tweeting "e-mail me at X if you're interested in X kind of manuscript." Shall I continue? The writer also spelled query wrong in all of his/her tweets and was promoting their novel as "epic" and "fabulous." Can we get a tally on the mistakes here? Anyone?
Honestly, I'm not writing this to poke fun at either person. I would love to see them succeed. However, I am concerned, and I'm feeling an increasing amount of pity for literary agents. I took the time to e-mail both of these writers to suggest they use Querytracker.net, at least, and gave the tweeter a rundown on what he/she was doing that was unprofessional.
Where do we go from here? Look forward to a series of posts on researching and dealing with agents. I know most of my readers know what's what, but maybe we can field a few of these unknowing aspirees and help them. Feel free to put your 2 cents in on the upcoming posts.