Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some Clarification, With Love

Rest assured that, once my brandnewshiny blog is up and running next year, all the information you need will be at your cute lil' fingertips. In the meantime, I'm going to answer a couple of questions that were posed to me via email, since the answers are something you'll all benefit by hearing.

1. Concerning the 1000-Word critiques: I don't understand why people should redact and then resubmit, if entering the secret agent contests. Could you explain.

Yep. It isn't about agents or "getting discovered" or Authoress deciding to make life difficult. It's about time and effort sacrificed by the critters. And it's also about getting feedback on the same writing, twice. Close together.

When you enter your work into ANYTHING on this blog--contest or non-contest--you are receiving (hopefully valuable) feedback. If you enter a Secret Agent contest, get feedback, and then very next week the SAME WORK is posted in the 1000-word critique (albeit a slightly longer version), several things may happen:
  • The same critters will leave the same feedback, which is useless to you as a writer.
  • The critters will recognize the work and feel annoyed, and not leave any feedback, which is equally useless.
  • The feedback you received during the Secret Agent contest will lead you to changes that will take longer to accomplish than the few days that will pass before your "number" comes up in the 1000-word critique.
So in REDACTING your spot in the 1000-word critique, you are allowing two things:
  • You are allowing another aspiring author who has NOT had recent feedback to receive some.
  • You are allowing YOURSELF time to make edits in your work, so that the feedback you eventually receive in the 1000-word critique is more relevant.
"But but but what if it's MONTHS before my 1000-word submission is posted??"

Well, it might be. Or it might not. The policy stands. In all things (and I really mean this) I strive for fairness. We ALL want our work read. We ALL crave helpful feedback. And with the limited slots available, we need to be gracious and patient and all that warm fuzzy stuff, for the sake of allowing as many folks as possible the opportunity for public critique.

2. You had a query contest, which basically focused on the query, the 250 were tacked on I believe for the agent's pleasure if she wanted to read more. Many of us aren't used to or need critique help with their queries and therefore entered hoping to learn from the process (I did). Basically, I don't see the logical correlation to the secret agent contests.

When did I promise to be logical? *grin*

Honestly, I've had lots of questions, via email and comment box, concerning the rules of re-submitting (for those of you who were in the query contest). My decisions have been based, once again, on fairness, and also on the genres represented by specific Secret Agents. The reason I restricted entry during the Ginger Clark round is because she represents fantasy and science fiction, which SCADS of you are writing. Uber-scads, even. And I wanted to make it a tiny bit easier for some new SF/F blood to get in the game.

This time around, we're dealing with a non-SF/F agent. Therefore, if you were in the query contest with Jodi Meadows and you would like to submit your work to next week's Secret Agent contest, you may do so.

In future, there will be no delineation between a Secret Agent contest and a Query contest (if I ever host another one). It's important for folks to step back so that others can step forward. Like a dance. Or a fencing match.

My closing remarks (and please don't take them amiss): The rules are the rules. They're given lots of thought, I promise. It's all about equity. And I don't mind clarifying things or reading suggestions from time to time. But in the end? The rules are the rules. I need you to honor them, abide by them. It will make everybody's ride that much smoother.

And if it makes you feel better? I have to follow them, too. Not that I could submit my work in a fair manner at this point! No, I've been sitting back WRITHING in my seat, dying to enter. Imagine the pain of missing out on comments from Ginger Clark (fantasy! sci/fi!) and KNOWING my loss. Imagine sitting on my hands while Lauren MacLeod (I LOVE this agent!) left her wonderful critiques.

I'm not whining. I'm just...saying. I strive for integrity. And I want all of you to have the best experience possible here.

That's it, really. That, and the fact that you're a stinkin' awesome group of writers. But I've told you that before.


  1. You are doing some really cool stuff, providing an audience and critique for lots of people. Give yourself a pat on the back.

  2. Authoress, as always, you are fair and just. I appreciate your attempt at widening the playing field, instead of playing favorites. It's sometimes hard to tell folks "no", even when it's not face to face.

    I look forward to reading some new blood. Exciting times!

  3. I thank my lucky stars that a friend told me about your blog. (the wonderfully nice and about to be published Denise Jaden)

    You go so far out of your way to be fair and you do it without being snarky. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Hi Authoress,
    I absolutely agree with your answers to both the query and the 1000 word. You have thought it through deeply and logically!

    Your answer reminds me of the movie premise to "The Beautiful Mind" - consider the needs of the group and what you want together and everything gets better. This Nobel idea has been used by businesses to great success. And, I think can be said a different way: Do unto others....


  5. Great blog, makes excellent reading.

    I was the very first person to post to Miss Snark, her very first reader.
    I had always thought that when I had something prepared for publication, I would turn to her to represent me.
    I wonder if anyone knows who she really is? Because I would like to do that, now.

    Keep up the blog! Now, I read you...

  6. Ah, people are pretty sure who Miss Snark is - if you read enough agent blogs, you'll be able to figure it out from her writing style.

  7. I have a probably stupid question. My first 250 words has a word that rhymes with witch, and could be considered inappropriate on certain blogs. Do I need to change it for our purposes?

    Thanks! Robin

  8. Hey Robin,

    Thanks for asking! You may change it if you wish, or else I will simply *** it out (b****), which is what I would normally do. Anything stronger than hell or damn gets automatically edited.