Saturday, September 02, 2006

The recurring infringment question

Q: If it's copyright infringement to post rejection letters why is not an infringement to post examples of bad queries? I'm just wondering

A: I’m assuming you are referring to our blog. If so, I’ve answered this one before, but here goes one-more-time: The only full queries posted on this blog are from our imagination. They are not real queries. First of all, we didn’t want have to get permission to post real query letters, but most importantly, we didn’t want to embarrass a writer, or writers, by posting his or her query letter for the world to see. Can you imagine us getting a terrible query letter and rejecting it, but putting a postscript at the bottom asking for permission to post the writer’s poor query? While we thought of it, it just didn’t seem quite right.

Early on, I posted some examples of opening sentences that were common to what I was seeing at the time. These were repeated, common mistakes that many writers were making then, not taken from any individual writer’s query letter. Even if that were not the case, however, there is an exception in the copyright law that allows for a small amount of copyrighted materials to be used for instructional purposes. Writers who post agent rejections in their entirety and then proceed to rip them apart do not fall under this exception.


Wondering said...

Thanks for clearing that up. I am new to the blog and wasn't aware those were made up.

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to note a literary agency with not only a conscious but of ethical conduct as well. Hmmmm. Better and better as I read.