This week’s Query Wars have been won and it’s only Monday. I highly doubt that anyone will be able to top this — not that I’m inviting a challenge, mind you. Just past 9 this morning, I received an e-query for a type of book that I don’t represent, and that is worlds away from anything I might represent. It was copied to 11 1/2 pages (printed because I was curious) of other agents and editors. Nearly 600 different people. Two hours later that same email began arriving every 15 minutes. I have now received it 18 (correction: 19th copy came in as I was typing this) times. Other agents have responded asking the person to desist. To no avail. I know we’ve been talking around here recently about answering e-queries and the why and wherefore of it all. I’m trying to answer all the business-like ones and had, indeed, queued a reply to this person as their initial email met the requirements even though it was obvious they hadn’t bothered to research any particular agency. However, I deleted that reply unsent. Not only would I not wish to work with someone who is either this obnoxious or this ignorant, I don’t want to correspond with them or acknowledge them in any way.
Of course, this only makes me appreciate more those authors who are out there learning how to approach the business side of publishing and constantly challenging themselves on the craft side. If the above person represents your competition, what do you have to fear except fear itself? It really is worth it. Believe me.
In other news, this morning I sold Czech translation rights for one my wonderful clients. I’ve also had a busy day re-marketing manuscripts that were declined last week and trying to cheer myself up about the rejections. Some days they really just are painful.
ETA (5:26pm) : I’m relieved to report that I have managed to find a blacklist function in the settings for my email and the account will now reject this person until the end of time. Of course, I ended up getting the email 28 times before I figured out how to do that.
Wow. How to get on an industry-wide sh*tlist in one easy lesson.
Ouch. Sounds like you need to put that person on your block/ignore list. If your email account offers that option. Cause it doesn’t sound like he/she is going to stop on his/her own.
I haven’t figured out how to do it yet. I can have it sent straight to trash, but I’d really like to bounce them from here on out. I’m wondering if they’ll just keep doing it until someone says yes. I’m less than optimistic that will happen at this point.
What mail program do you use?
If you use Outlook (shudder), you can actually have it bounce back a “please do not mail to this address” message every time you receive something from this idiot, before it moves their message to Trash.
Your IT people can configure the server to bounce this guy with no real effort. Assuming you have IT people.
Unfortunately, I am pretty much my own IT people. Heh. I thought I remembered seeing something in the online configurations for the account that would let me do this but I haven’t found it. I’m currently hoping that reporting it to abuse will eventually put a stop to it. In the meantime, there’s the good ol’ killfile and actual emails from people I work with to answer.
It’s times like these that I just really wish I could go to their house, box up their computer, drop an old Smith-Corona on their desk and say “Your technology rights are hereby revoked.”
Or maybe a quill and a bottle of ink. Slower, messier, and eventually you’d be able to tell all the jerks by the ink stains on their fingers… (Although I guess we calligraphers/scribes would end up being painted with the same proverbial brush, so that might not work so well.)
and all the lefties.
Reading about all the stupid things people do does indeed make me more confident about my own abilities to, if nothing else, follow guidelines and be polite. (Now, if only I had a completed novel worth sending out…)
The note about the Czech translation made me wonder. How many/which languages have your clients been translated into? What are the most unusual, and most common? If you have time to detail it. =)
Er… lots. I’m sure I could convince the database to give me more detail at a future date, but in the meantime…. Russian translation is very popular, especially for science fiction, fantasy, and romance novels. This year I have also sold books for Czech, Japanese, German, Portuguese (first time!), Chinese(complex) and Spanish translation.
*dies a little*
That’s… *cringes* I don’t think there are words for that. At least not words I am willing to say.
You poor thing.
I agree with whoever said killfiling them. If you can’t figure out how to bounce them (ask your ISP or tech guy?), it might be the only way you’re not spammed today.
I think you need a ferret. Have Diego. *points to icon* He won’t send you and 600 other agents stupid emails.
:: boggle ::
On a side note, I spoke with my very technosavvy Vikinghusband, and he said (in his infinite wisdom) that there’s a good chance that it is the sender’s email system (not necessarily a willful re-sending).
Apparently some email systems, when given more than about 100 destinations in the “To:” box, will strip the rest, then do the computer equivalent of saying “oh, didn’t send them all, I should do that again…”
Over… and over… and over.
So, while the wisdom of shot-gun querying 600+ people from a single email is… questionable at best, and the “lack of familiarity with your own email system when using it for professional purposes” is not exactly encouraging, it’s good to know that it’s probably not intentional career-suicide.
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately, if you subscribe the Darwinian theories) accidental professional “suicide” is just as fatal as the intentional sort.
I so often give people the benefit of the doubt, so I’d like to go along with this as a possible explanation. Regretfully, I must admit that I think calling their choice questionable is kind. Not that I want to be harsh, but this kind of approach still constitutes willful career suicide in my opinion.
In the meantime, I have reported them at spamcop.net and written to the abuse@ address for their ISP. Perhaps they will learn from this experience and more carefully consider their business practices in the future. An apology wouldn’t go amiss either (though if your technosavvy Vikinghusband is correct, we’d end up with about 100 copies of that as well).
I like to not assume willful malice where ignorance (or ineptitude) may very well be to blame. 🙂
And, yes, my tongue was so far in my cheek while typing “questionable” that I think I sprained something.
As for the apology… well, hopefully by then everyone will have kill-filed the source. 🙂
The stupid shall be punished!
I concur. As a former professional spam-stopper, there’s a couple of things that could be causing this, technology-wise, from the idiot’s mail program to the iditot’s ISP’s mail server software to their router. (It could also be caused by the recipient’s stuff in rare cases, but if other people are reporting the same barrage, it’s not on your end.)
If it’s possible to determine the ISP from the stupidity, they’re probably the best ones to contact about making the stupidity stop.
This is also why many reputable e-mail providers won’t LET you send mail to that many recipients. I don’t care what the intent was; if it’s unsolicited, and it’s going to more than twenty people, it’s probably spam.
Query SPAM, Take Two.
Hasn’t this happened to you before? Although I think Version 2.0 trumps the original.
Actually, there are frequent emails where the cc fields are large (as in 25 or so agents, which still doesn’t make a person feel all that special and chosen). The ones at this level are more rare, but I do believe I mentioned another in the past at some point. Sadly, these are the kinds of experiences that tend to dissuade me from changing my opinion about e-queries.
Oh, poor bestest agent. *hugs* What a Monday for you. But remember that we love you! 🙂
Oh dear. That’s so… Well. I have no words really.
I now understand why I was once introduced by a (professional) writer to other pros with, “This is Laurel, she’s an aspiring writer, and she’s not crazy or anything.” I looked at him funny, but everyone else acted like this was a totally normal way to introduce a person.
Sheesh, that’s awful. Sympathies.
You are a better man than I. If I was an agent (I’d ladadadadadadadadadada!) I probably wouldn’t accept e-queries at all after incidences like this.