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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Okay, Now! None of That!

As writers on the journey, we often become frustrated and even angry at times, and no doubt want to kick someone. That's all fine, but should we do it on our blogs? I don't think so. If you haven't been here all week, I've been discussing what message our blogs convey. I veered a little off course yesterday with my 100th post celebration, but today, I'm back on track, and I'd like to talk about venting frustration. We are all at a different stage in our writing journey and, thus, have different goals for our blogs. But, if you are at the query stage, or close to it, you might want to consider what your blog says about you. As we muddle our way through our journey, it is tempting to vent all of our frustrations: How can Mr. Agent judge my work from one letter? Mr. Agent represents so and so. Why won't he represent me? My writing is way better than Mrs. Famous Author, and she got published. Why can't I? These thoughts, most likely, fly through all of our heads as we struggle in this publishing world. But blogging about it is not going to help us any. Agents/editors don't want to visit a potential client's blog and see a 'poor me' ranting of how everyone else is to blame. When they see this, they immediately think: this person will be difficult to work with; I think I'll pass. I'm no expert here, so what's your opinion?

29 comments:

strugglingwriter said...

I think it's ok to vent about agents in general, but I would not call one out by name. They won't like that and potentially protect one of their own or worry you would do the same to them.

That said, if you have a book that knocks their socks off, I'm sure an Agent can look beyond their issues.

Elise Murphy said...

Great blog! And interesting questions. I feel like I can't be cautious enough about what I post on my blog . . . no word on submissions, on wait times with my agent, on the manuscript itself or revisions other than in really general terms that relate back to the craft of writing itself. It is too easy to google and hit on something that might turn a potential agent/editor off. There's plenty of room for honesty in other areas of the writing life. How hard it can be. What it feels like to revise. How you approach your manuscript. And a trusted few (like a critique group) are where the rants belong. I would also guess that the majority of agents / editors have google alerts set to their names. Some even read the blueboards.

FictionGroupie said...

I don't mention any agents names, good or bad. And I would never dog out any agent or publisher, that's just not cool. I am reluctant to even give a bad review for a book because I don't want to put bad karma out there. So, if I hate a book, I just don't review it.

Robyn Campbell said...

Aw Susan, I thought you going to explain why Mrs. Famous Author is published but I'm still waiting. :)

I have decided to delete a few posts that mentioned agents names in a good way, but I am going to delete them anyway. I would never*she waves her finger* mention agents, writers, editors in a bad way, PERIOD. But that said, I don't think it would stop most agents from signing an author if they really love the book.

Also, what about me posting my pitch for critique today? Do you think that is okay or should I delete that post when I start deleting? Great weekof posts Susan. Thanks. :)

Lazy Writer said...

Robyn,
I don't see a problem with posting your pitch. What you don't want to do is post too much of your actual manuscript.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I think we become so comfortable online that sometimes we forget that we have to be professional, too. This is a good reminder for us :)

Renee Pinner said...

My day job is in Human Resources, and I can say that this that you've blogged about is pretty typical in most employment situations. Nobody wants the high maintenance employees. We'll settle for folks with a little less to offer than the DIVA just to get someone who'll fit in with the rest of the team, not destroy it. I would imagine it is the same with collaborative effort that a book takes. Everyone has to work together, so the attitude and team-player quality are going to be taken into consideration.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I think what you wrote is right on.
~ Wendy

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

I think that it would be perfectly fine to vent frustrations about the revision process such as "This character just isn't cooperating!" or something like that. As long as you're venting about the voices in your own head I don't think an agent is going to care. But when it comes to real people, recklessness be damned. Err on the side of caution at all times.

Nancy said...

I have been trying for quite awhile to add you to my list of blogs I read. My computer wouldn't cooperate. Finally you are not on my list and I am so glad. There must have been some glitch going on. And no,I wouldn't want to work with a whiny writer.

L. T. Host said...

Good post, LW. And good comments, too. I'm in the school of overly cautious now. At first, I was determined to post every last detail but I think caution is the name of the game until or unless my future agent/publisher is comfortable with me exposing those things. I can always share them later, but why take the chance of doing something that might screw me over now?

Patti said...

I think the old adage, if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. That especialy holds true on such a public forum as this. I think it would only hurt your chances of finding an agent.

Sharla said...

I agree. I never rant about agents. I may rant about the querying process, but never agents, because you never know when one might drop in for a little light reading.

I also will post frustration with my own writing from time to time, but I try to make it funny or then balance it up with something upbeat or helpful. Readers don't want all gloom, but I don't think they want all sunshine and butterflies either. At least I don't when I read, I like some real life and sarcasm now and then! LOL

I also try to keep things writing or book related most of the time. Sometimes I'll throw in something else for fun, but I try not to do that too often.

Naqvee said...

hey Lazy writer... I mean Susan.. A nice blog and a nice way to kick start .. I will never be into writing "world" but will not mind gettin' inspired by writers like you and then one day suddenly coming up with a book! at the moment I'm studying law.. but next year will be different when i will graduate from law school.

Lily said...

Totally agree! I don't even like to read the whining on non-writer blogs. There's enough negative in the real world without bringing into Blogville.

If I was an agent, I would definitely be influenced by that type of post. They don't just have to deal with the ms... they have to deal with the author!

Melanie's Randomness said...

What an interesting point. I never really thought, "Oh what if an agent reads my blog". I think I'm trying to convey how much of struggle it can be for 20-somethings adjusting to the grown-up life without the cushion of our parents and without the excuse of, "Oh I'm in college, so it's okay if I'm a bum". So I think I need those down days to show my honesty that it's not a 24 hour party and happy time. But the agent...that is a very valid point. I'm gunna think about that in the future. =)

Girl Meets Gun said...

Personally, I don't even blog about my career in writing. Rather, I don't blog about my submissions and rejections and all the defeat that comes from that. I've submitted my query letter to my first novel to roughly ten agents. I bet you can guess what they've all said.

I just don't talk about it on my blog, period. It works out for me, because I don't want a pity party, and I just want people to read my writing and enjoy it. Eventually, my time will come. Or, it won't, and I'll see that my true calling is baking. Either way, the blog isn't a place to talk trash about agents, nor about how crappy the authors are that the agent represents.

Because, those agents may come to your blog someday, and they may spread the word that so-and-so (YOU!) isn't someone an agent wants to work with.

Great topic, I think some people really need this advice!!

Tabitha Bird said...

No, I want to know, why is Mr. Famous author published and I am still waiting...??? Joking. I don't blog about my adventures with agents yet... but I might :)

WhisperingWriter said...

I don't think I could ever rant about agents. No way.

Dominique said...

I admit to occasionally whining on my blog, but I try to keep it to a minimum. And I make sure not to do it about a person. I only whine about life.

Stephanie Faris said...

I've thought a lot about this over the past few weeks and I think I've come to the conclusion that the right agent will come to me. It's kind of like when I was dating and trying to figure out what games to play to attract a man. If you do that, you get the wrong men.

Of course, we all put on our best face...but I would like to think a good agent would understand that this is our personal space and sometimes we need to vent. That said, I never vent on my blog...I just don't feel the need to at this point. But it goes beyond venting about the industry. An agent can get a HUGE feel for your personality from reading your blog. If someone is really negative in general, an agent could decide he/she doesn't want to work with that person.

storyqueen said...

Seriously, if I were an agent, I would look at a blog to assess writing style. I would care less about content and more about voice.

shelley

Angie Muresan said...

Most people talk too much. There should be more emphasis and energy placed on writing and creating rather than on venting and comparing oneself to others. You are a great writer Susan, don't allow doubts to get to you. Anyway, that is my opinion, and I feel that I may have just said more than I should have.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Fabulous blog and an excellent topic!

I don't think an aspiring author should ever use his/her blog to vent about agents. It's just not professional and isn't going to help in the long run.

Instead, pour a nice glass of wine, eat some dark chocolate, and remember that you only need one agent to like your work! But that agent may take a pass if you're ranting about other agents in your blog.

Laura Martone said...

Hmm... this sort of goes along with the don't-talk-about-rejection post. I really don't see a problem with discussing one's writing process on one's blog, as long as the tone is positive and helpful. But I never think it's a good idea to mention an agent by name - unless it's to pass along a cool post of his or hers. I've done that often on my Ruby Hollow blog.

This is good advice in general, though. As Solvang Sherrie wrote, it's easy to get comfortable in the blogosphere. We must always strive to be professional... and remember that there are peepers everywhere.

Heather Sunseri said...

Great post, Susan! I totally agree with you. As a reader of blogs, I don't really enjoy the negative posts either. Now, if someone emailed me for support and encouragement, I would love to give it, but we must assume that our blog is being read for the first time by someone every day. Will they really stick around for "whoa is me"?

Heather Sunseri said...

By the way, when I clicked on a link to your blog today, I thought I was coming to a post titled "Blogger ate my post" or something, and it brought me to yesterday's post. Which was fine, b/c I still needed to catch up on some from yesterday, but now I'm wondering if Blogger really ate your post. I'll keep looking for it.

MG Higgins said...

The examples you give are great. No whiny complaining about your publishing woes!

Girl in My Own World said...

Yes. I agree. You should probably not throw people under the bus. That is just bad for business. :o(