October 22nd, 2006
Is This a Recent Phenomenon?

I’ve seen a lot of boards/blogs/chat areas where editors and agents are ripped on by readers and wannabe writers. When did this start happening? When did people starting shredding the business people they may very well end up working with in a few years? To me it smacks of biting the hand that feeds you.

Why am I bringing this up now? Because my agent recently had an attack on her integrity after she posted a blog entry, concerning the things that may happen to a submission. Key word being ‘MAY’. (Keep in mind, it’s her personal blog and she should be able to post whatever she wants there.) I debated whether to jump into the fray since my old agent was held up as the gold standard of representation (and he is VERY good at his job), but in the end I decided against it. Why? Because I knew my opinions would be considered skewed since I’m currently represented by the woman they were flaying.

I guess why I’m so surprised by the hostility is that some of the people on the boards were seeking agent representation. Not necessarily from my agent, but by others. If it were me, I might be a little concerned that an agent that I’d queried would wander over to the boards/blogs and see my comments. Maybe the participants don’t worry about things like that. Goodness knows I worry enough for everyone. *g* I guess I figure that despite the actual size of several of the publishing houses and agencies, it’s still a ‘small, small world’ and word gets around pretty fast. I suppose the lesson here is spew venom at your own risk.

29 comments to “Is This a Recent Phenomenon?”

  1. *shaking head* What goes around comes around.

  2. Charli, Yes, it does.

  3. Wow! That’s not just bad manners, it’s nuts. I know some writers have pent up frustration over many things surrounding the writing business, but still! I suspect many people assume a false level of anonymity when on the internet, and that leads to some risky behavior you wouldn’t otherwise get in person. It’s the same as flame wars between authors that happens, or between authors and readers/reviewers: that was kind of big this summer.

  4. That’s very interesting, lol. I think I may have let a complaint or two slip when I was very new at this, but never named names or just went off about it!

    It’s just writer’s frustration, I’m sure, and we could all write a small volume about that–but a little common sense is needed.

  5. Jordan, I’ve been noticed a disturbing trend of everyone behaving badly. Snark is taking over cyberspace and I think it’s going way beyond basic common sense and courtesy. I’ve read readers ripping apart authors, adn authors ripping on readers, authors dissing publishers and agents, and the general public doing the same to anyone and everyone. Everythings had gotten out of hand all in the name of free speech. Everyone’s preaching their right to free speech and spewing vile shit in its name.

    I visit only a few blogs now because I can’t stand it any more.

  6. I agree with the pent up frustration and the pleasure of anonimity–who else can authors vent about things with in their real life? But I do think that everyone has taken getting published too seriously to the point where they let the travesties of the business–and publishing is a business, first and formost–dictate how they’ll live their lives. There is a point when you can become too wrapped up in this thing that we’re doing, but it’s rare that writers are willing to take breaks for fear that the time spent relaxing and getting away from the negativity the glass ceiling of the industry can create will decrease their chances of selling, or worse, during that downtime someone will sell an idea exactly like theirs.

  7. Ursula, I think you’re right about the rise in flame wars this past summer. Not sure where all that was coming from. I do think the extended internet hours is adding to everyone’s frustration level. You hear snippets of news in various locations and then begin to question your own abilities. :-/

  8. Raine, I believe it’s frustration, too, but there’s a way to vent online and a way not to. A lot of people are flying down the ‘not to’ highway without their seatbelts on. *g*

  9. Vivi, The blogs I visit regularly don’t tend to snark. I mean I find the crap slinging as interesting (cringe worthy) as the next person, but there comes a time when you have to say enough. I do believe it does boil down to common courtesy. If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, then don’t say it at all.

  10. Camilla, Sadly those fears are not unfounded. 🙁

  11. How very short-sighted of some people. Cuz you never know who might move the house you aspire to write for. Well, that just means one less author in the competition, cuz we all know what good memories editors have! 🙂

  12. Delilah, You’re bad, but you are speaking the truth. *ggg*

  13. Every time something like that happens, I think, “These people’s brains have leaked out their ears.” Look, even if it’s just the one agent, the one agent no doubt has friends who are agents/editors/publishing people. If Wannabe Published is known to be a bitch, the word will get out eventually.

  14. I just don’t get it. I agree with May that their brains have leaked out their ears. Here’s something kind of interesting, but a little different. For my first mass market paperback, my book was attacked repeatedly with basically the same comments. Now I totally understand people not having the same opinions, and not liking aspects of my book. Totally. That’s how they honestly feel. But my author friends were pretty sure it was the same person(s) signing in under different names, especially since my book was the only one they reviewed! Now here’s the fun part. My second book just came out and those attacks are not there. Why? Because Amazon now requires that you have to purchase something in order to post a comment, and then your “real name” shows. So that totally eliminates the fake names. Now, I have no illusions of grandeur and that everyone is going to like my book. There’s a post from a gal who loved the book, but was offended by the “f” word so won’t read my other books. I totally understand that. But I’m not getting those attacks that basically say the same thing. Now I know if someone hates my book they REALLY hate it. LOL.

  15. I don’t get it. I just posted on something similar and frankly, it’s totally senseless.

    The publishing world is very small. We all get frustrated but you know what? You save it for your best friend, you don’t say it out loud in public unless you’re ready to take the heat. Most of the time, it’s momentary and you don’t say it to a person who may have some stake in your future. That’s suicidal.

    This isn’t isolated to the publishing world. When I worked at a law firm you didn’t do stuff like that there either. It’s common sense.

    And back to the whole, if you don’t like it don’t read it mantra. If an agent or editor blog bugs you, don’t read it. I see people flipping out at Anna Genoese’s blog all the time and hello for goodness’ sake, don’t read the darned thing if you don’t like her attitude. It’s pretty easy not to seek out things that bother you.

  16. May, That’s just it, she’s not one lone agent in this agency. There are a few and a couple of them have been in the business for a long, long time.

  17. Chey, LOL! I suppose that’s how it should be. *g* It will be interesting to see what happens with Amazon’s new program. I didn’t realize that was one of the things that they changed. I wonder how many of the reviews in general will drop off. Hopefully the new program will prevent the people who obviously have an ax to grind from easily doing so.

  18. Lauren, I completely agree. Poor Anna has been shredded a time or twenty by people who just happen to pop by her blog. (shaking head) The funny thing is Anna says she knows when these same people submit to her because she remembers the comments. She’s not a lady that you want to piss off. People need to stick with bitching to their friends.

  19. LOL I think Delilah got the right of it. OTOH I saw that, and every time I see folks (get up on their artistic horse) and rag an editor or agent I just cringe. At the same time I think some of those raggers (g) are the same folks who will never realize it’s a business.

  20. I just don’t get why people would do this. I firmly believe in the “what goes around comes around” theory. Plus, I was taught, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  21. Cece, Great point. I do think a lot of people forget that publishing is a business. I also think they forget how ‘PUBLIC’ their comments are. Two very dangerous pieces of information to space on.

  22. Patrice, I try to keep my whopper comments in a close circle of friends. It doesn’t help to mouth off online and it can most certainly hurt.

  23. I’m mouthy and blunt but usually only with people that I feel comfortable around. I am snarky, sarcastic and tactless at times, I’ll freely admit to that, but I also know when to keep my trap shut and skulk away from a heated discussion. People don’t think before they type and really it’s much harder to convey your feelings via the internet because you cannot see facial expressions and hear tone of voice. If I have a problem with someone I’m certainly not going to take the fight to the net, nor would I ever bash the publishers, editors and agents who work so hard to get manuscripts published for the authors. *steps off soapbox*

    I’m going to the barn now, horseys don’t judge me. *wg*

  24. Shannon, I am all the above, but toss in blunt too for good measure. (wg) It makes no sense to me either. (shaking head)

  25. That’s true about agents and editors wandering about the net blogging. Sure, some people think they’ve got better things to do. But this month I’ve found that they DO blog, and yes, the net has made this a very small world.

  26. Tempest, The world’s always been small. The net’s just made it more apparent. :-/

  27. Years ago in the corporate world one of my employees got mad at an HR person and told her where to stick it. We lost the account and it was big. She said- well they treat our employees like crap anyway (I owned a staffing agency) – The economy crashed a few months later and this big acccount opened in town. One we had the credentials to get easily. Only guess what? The HR person my employee had told off had taken over there…’s a small world and in publishing I am finding its even smaller!

  28. I think that’s exactly what shocked me. My agent may be new now, but in a couple of years who knows where she will be on the ladder of success. It just makes so little sense for people to tear into her over her age and years in the business. (shaking head)

  29. Voicing opinions, even if they are negative, shouldn’t be frowned on, and sadly, it is. I’ve seen people get ripped to shreds for not posting something questioning about this buisness/genre. People shouldn’t be attacked if they have something to say. Of course, a good ruel of thumb is that they shouldn’t say it in a nasty matter, since that’s just plain rude. Nevertheless, it’s just as wrong that some authors/editors/agents feel they can be as nasty as they please ontheir blogs (under their real name or an alias) and then beat someone down for the same behavior. I shake my head at that one, I really do. People seriously need to chill out and not take things so seriously. They tend to make mountains out of molehills.

    But hey, that’s just my opinion. I tend to be a bit more laid back than most. I look at these things with a sense of humor. After all, theses are only blogs. And honestly? I LOVE snark. I really do. I even wrote a post about it a while back. Snark is hysterical when done right. Again, nasty for nasty sake is just mean. But snark or someone’s differing opinion? It makes for a more interesting blogshere.