Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blowing Smoke Up Your... Armpit

Okay, I was thinking about this recently and even more this morning, so I thought I'd write up a little post about the idea...


When you write a query letter, you're supposed to put a little something in there to personalize the thing.  Where you found them, why you want to work with them, what it was about the agent or agency that drew you to them.  I don't want to disparage the practice - because well, hell, people do like to know that you've done your homework.

Oftentimes, though, such a paragraph comes out sounding like you're trying to blow smoke up someone's... armpit.  No matter how sincere you actually are trying to be.

So I leave it out.

Besides, after 8 years of querying, I'm not exactly sure where I found a particular agent initially, the whys of wanting to work with them are so numerous that detailing them would take more than a paragraph, and again, the what it is about a particular person that drew me to them are lost to the sands of time and my squonky memory cells.

Plus, telling someone that one article they wrote back in 2006 really blew my skirt up makes me seem like I'm just a Google junkie - which leads me back to the perceived sincerity (or lack thereof) issue.

Idea 1.2 (corollary):

When you truly love a writer and/or their work, and you go all fangirly in your reviews, you could possibly maybe sound like you're blowing smoke.

And there you are back at the sincerity issue again.  Bleh.

So, in the interest of cutting through the bull-pucky, let me just come right out now and say this one stone-hard fact:

I do not blow smoke up anyone's... armpit... for any reason.  If I tell you I like your work, I like it.  If I get all fangirl and SQUEE, it's the truth.  And if I do happen to say why I chose to send you my query, I'm telling it because I mean it.

Conversely, if I don't like something, I stay silent about it.  Because my mother always told me that if I couldn't say anything nice, not to say anything at all.  And she's one hell of a wise woman. 

Oh, and just for the sake of making this clear: please, for the sake of all things you hold sacred, don't blow smoke up my as...armpit either.



  1. The title of this post gave pause. then I realized what you were saying. I'm glad you don't blow smoke.

  2. Ok. You made me laugh. And I'll remember this when you talk about me or my work. ;) I agree with you, but this should be no surprise. We quite often are on the same sheet of paper. Speaking of, I hope your rewrites are going well! Get the djinn story done and submitted so you can write that demon story. Just sayin'!

  3. Sorry I threw ya there for a sec, Kathy.

    That's me, Silver - providing chuckles whenever I can. ;o) You better remember this about your work or I'll drive down there and shake my finger in your face. And as for the demon story... I don't write romance well at all. I've tried and it comes out flat. I'll stick to my UF and my suspense and my dystopians (each with a hint of romance deep in the background).