Monday, October 6, 2008

Does this stuff ever happen to anyone else????

By Julie Wright

I sent off several queries to agents for a new national book I have. This is a good thing. It's great to write books, but if those books never leave your computer and venture out in the world on their own, what good are they?

So I did the practice-what-you-preach thing and sent off my queries. That night, my website got jacked by some actress in LA. Her website is pink. I am not exactly a pink kind of human being. I respect all those who love pink and respectfully decline to join them. I threw a fit at my poor webmaster. He promised me he would get it fixed.

I awoke the next morning to an acupuncturist on my website. At least it wasn't pink. I worried about it a little, thinking about those queries I'd sent off and wondering if agents genuinely looked at the websites listed amongst the author information.

"Nah!" I told myself. Agents are busy and the chances of one actually going to my site were slimmer than the jeans I wore as a teenager.

Or not.

I got an email later that afternoon that began with, "I liked your query and went to look at your other publications. They look adorable." The heavens opened and the angels sang. As I kept reading, that singing I was hearing turned to raucous laughter. The agent had gone to my site and then got "stuck" there due to the neat-o flaws of my website's hosting servers. In this modern day of scams, spam, and viruses, and since the agent's computer shares a network with everyone in the agency, the agent felt a little apprehensive.

It seemed like an elaborate hoax to the agent and they weren't all that appreciative. And the email that began with praise ended with a scolding.

I screamed enough my voice went hoarse. I wrote the agent back the most insane email I've ever written. And I hit send. Yeah.

Seriously am I cursed? Does this sort of thing ever happen to anyone else? I totally don't blame the agent for feeling irritated. I certainly felt irritation! I wanted to weep. So I did what I always do in a crisis of literary nature. I called Josi. She laughed and helped me to see the humor. Another author to share such misery is a vital thing. While I lamented to my dear friend (whose book, Her Good Name, is simply a must read) another email popped up on my screen from the agent.

It was a very friendly, upbeat letter of understanding and commiseration over my internet woes. It was also a request for the full manuscript. And also a request for the manuscript to be sent snail mail . . . just in case. That last request struck me as really funny and made me like this agent as a human being, whether they take me into their agency or not, I will always have good things to say about them.

The moral of this story:

  • Never include anything in your query letter that you don't want your agent or editor seeing. If you include a website, your website needs to be active and professional. Granted, my situation was a result of bad timing and psychosis, but it's good to know they actually do pay attention to what information you include.
  • Agents are people too, with worries and a sense of humor.
  • Get yourself a good writer buddy. A phone call with a writer buddy is better than a pound of chocolate, cheaper than therapy, and more effective than drinking.
  • Even after four published books, *those* days still happen.

Warning: I do NOT suggest this as a way to woo agents.

Happy Writing My Friends!


Tamra Norton said...

Oh my word. What craziness...and yet she still requested a full! WOOHOO!!! Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed for you.

Melanie Jacobson said...

That's sad. And hilarious!

I'm dealing with the crazines too by finding people who can talk me down. I like that even better than chocolate because I don't get that, "Oops, shouldn't have eaten that" feeling afterwards. I'm glad people are so patient with me and help me have perspective. Good friends with good attitudes are definitely a must-have writing tool!

Congratulations on the interest in your manuscript. Awesome!

Josi said...

The memoir is gunna be golden!

And it's all equal between us--I'd be lost without that soggy shoulder of yours, Julie, and am just so glad the agent IS human. She didn't have to write back after Julie explained (though the e-mail was hilarious and so well done--maybe Julie will post it for us one day, it was awesome) AND, the good news--Julie got two e-mails within 24 hours of sending out her query, one of which resulted in a full ms request. Total wahoo!

Heather Moore said...

Wow! Congrats, Julie--that's fantastic :) I guess you never know. Yeah, I'd like to see the response you sent her.

Stephanie Black said...

Oh my goodness, Julie! What a story! I would have completely freaked out.

HUGE congrats on the manuscript request!

The Golfing Librarian said...

And I thought this sort of thing only happened to Janette! ;-)
Congrats on the MS request!

Charlie Moore said...

Good luck, Sister Wright. And, I often buy books based upon recommendations so thanks for the tip about Her Good Name. I hope your new MS will soon be published and be labeled a "must read" as well.

As a side note, the 1st counselor of my stake presidency and the 1st counselor in my bishopric have the surname of Wright. They are father and son. I just thought it was interesting.

Charlie Moore

holo said...

Hello Julie --
I am the guy who stopped in your store for a soda ended up buying your book (My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life) the next day after the crazy web-jacking experience you describe. Anyway, I finished the book about halfway over the ocean to home (Hawaii) and I am sure my seat neighbors were wondering why a grown man would keep crying and blubbering over a book. I need to order some of your books for some special friends, and am wondering how I can get them signed by you. Since your web page is still in hijack by some honeymooners named Alvin and Natasha, the only way I could think to reach you was on this blog. Hope you don't mind. My email is Darl Gleed

Julie Wright said...

Thanks everyone for the many congratulations. I am excited with caution if that makes any sense. Darl, I am glad you commented here! Feeel free to comment on this blog anytime you want. My site is on again off again until we can successfully transfer all the files to a new hosting service. I will send you a privagte email on how to get signed books. Glad you liked MNSFTL. I am very happy with how that particular novel turned out.

Tristi Pinkston said...

That sounds like an agent you could have a good relationship with.

william said...

But whenever I change any setting, my screen goes totally blank (monitor loses its input). It can remain blank for anywhere between 20 and 80 seconds, making me think that the computer has crashed. If I wait long enough, eventually the desktop comes back up again and I try to make another change. But each time I change something, the same thing keeps happening. Occasionally, I'll see some text (as though a mini re-boot is taking place) but mostly it's just a blank screen.
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