Only the Righteous

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Aug 25 2011

So here’s the story . . .

I receive a message through my LinkedIn account. Honestly, I’m not sure why I have a LinkedIn account. Occasionally I’ve looked for clients for nonfiction projects through LinkedIn, but rarely has anything ever come of it. Truthfully, the most success I’ve had in social networking comes through Twitter.

Anyway, a message came through LinkedIn from someone I’ve never met, I’m not even sure we’re connected, asking for assistance in “partnering with a literary agent.” This person was a fellow alum from Marquette University and proceeded to tell me about their book. The author ended by telling me there was a book proposal ready. My response, as is my response to all queries sent through social networks (if I respond at all), was that I don’t accept queries through social networks, but the author should feel free to query following the guidelines on our website.

The author, apparently because we attended the same school, felt that she was exempt from following my guidelines and was apparently put off by my response, “I’m afraid I do not accept queries via social networking sites. To query me and BookEnds you should review the guidelines on our website.”

Well, not that you’re surprised, that set off a sh**storm. One that I can now honestly say amuses me and I’m sharing for your entertainment only. The author corrected me to explain how, after rereading the original message, there was nothing in it to indicate this was a query and that not only was my response disappointing, but indicated I have a “lack of belief in Marquette Ideals.” What?! What?! Because I stick to a company policy I am now apparently morally corrupt?

And then after explaining that LinkedIn is a professional networking site and not Facebook and that I use it to solely seek to benefit from others the author said, “While I realize you cannot instill decency into people, it disturbs me to have Marquette’s name to continue to be represented in such a poor manner.”

And there you have it. I am nothing but a money-grubbing, self-absorbed, indecent human misusing my alma mater. Dang, I’m a jerk.


43 responses to “Only the Righteous”

  1. Avatar Joyce says:

    Methinks that writer's the one misusing her alma mater.

  2. Avatar C. says:

    Haha, yes, you are indeed one horrible, corrupt individual. Now please have some well-deserved chocolate.

  3. Avatar Leila says:

    Good Heavens, makes you wonder what would have happened if the author had been rejected through the actual query process.

    The adage of 'there is no such thing as bad publicity' is SOOOOO off the mark.

    I second the well deserved chocolate break.

  4. Avatar Ben says:

    Sounds like someone's getting reported to the Marquette Board of Alumni Ethics Violations. You might be in for a Sternly Worded Letter! Or perhaps a Barely Noticeable Yet Devastating Frown From The Dean Next Time You Attend One Of Those Parties.

  5. Avatar JD says:

    The ease in which people show their rudeness online always amazes me. Seriously, what is being accomplished by that exchange. Nothing.

  6. Wow – just when you think you've seen them all. Amazing.

  7. Avatar Redleg says:

    Dear Ms. Faust,

    As the head of the Marquette Board of Alumni Ethics Violations I have been asked to send you this strongly worded letter. First of all, I want you to know that we here at Marquette take our moral obligations very seriously. As you'll no doubt recall on p. 8 of your Student Handbook which was issued to you in a salmon-covered binding your Freshman year, followed by a lime green your Sophomore year, teal your Junior year, and was discontinued in your Senior year, the following paragraph was highlighted by your room-mate:

    "…if any Golden Eagle whatsoever should at any time be in a position of power over any other Golden Eagle, past or present, they are obligated forthwith to extend them each and every courtesy, in congruence with the 130 year history of our institution."

    I think that about sums it up. But I'll continue anyway. As you know, our institution's motto is "Numen Flumenque" which is German for "Flamenco like that guy Newman from Seinfeld." You would do well to bear these words in mind in the future.

    Very Respectfully,

    J. Edgar Numen Flumenque, DDS
    Dean of Alumni Ethics

  8. Avatar Katie says:

    As the cousin of three Marquette grads (and it was on my shortlist of colleges): *JEEZ*! Also, *love* Redleg's response πŸ˜€

  9. Avatar RobynBradley says:

    What do you want to bet that this person ends up querying you anyway? Someone like that won't "get" that he/she has burned a bridge.

    (I also love Redleg's response.)

  10. I've been meaning to tell you that (the part about your being a money-grubbing, blah, blah, blah.) But, seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY? It's amazing how some people think they are holier than thou.

    PS: Redleg's response rocks.

  11. OK, I have to chime in and agree that Redleg's response rocks.

    It's funny what some people think an alumni connection should get for them. I'm guilty, too (though certainly not in the aggressive way your LinkedIn "friend" is!) of assuming too much. Long, long ago, in a place far, far away, I tried to use my West Point alum connections to get a job after I'd been out of the work force for some time due to illness. It got me one courtesy interview that lasted about 10 minutes, a few instances of "Oh, I'm sorry–wish I could help," and an invitation to a local evangelical church service (speaking of "Righteous"). The message, I guess, was and still is that sometimes both God and alumni groups help those who help themselves.

    Anyway. Really, Redleg–awesome job.

  12. Avatar Robena Grant says:

    Oy! There's no cutting of lines when it comes to querying, but some people will try anything.

  13. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I hate it when some Special Snowflake melts all over me. They always do when they realize that the rules apply to everybody.


  14. Avatar Suzan Harden says:

    LOL And people wonder why I don't go to school reunions.

    And Redleg, totally awesome response!

  15. Too funny!!! I had no idea you were such a sleaze… LOL! Go get you a cupcake, girl. Maybe two.

  16. Avatar Tricia says:

    Miss Jessica,

    I see you are blond, such as myself, and felt a kindred spirit between us. I know you are feeling it too, so if you'll please do me a favor and take a look at the proposal of my new book called We Have Things In Common And Owe Each Other For It.


  17. You should have said "I agree. I'll be contacting the alumni association immediately to let them know one of their graduates is using their good name to try and force her way through back doors while ignoring company policy. As this obviously means the person in question is so illiterate as to not be able to read said policy, it's putting the university into a bad light."

  18. Wow. I wish I could say I couldn't believe someone would do something like that, but it's not really surprising. Sorry you had to deal with such poor behavior.

  19. Avatar SBJones says:

    We have had that problem with people parking in front of our boat launch. It's the weirdest thing, there is even a big sign that says DO NOT BLOCK BOAT LAUNCH. Yet people just pull up and park right in front of it.

    Rules just don't seem to apply to some people.

  20. Hah! Oh, Jessica…
    You had me at sh**storm. πŸ™‚

  21. Avatar Tam Linsey says:

    There will always be those who believe they are princesses. Can you imagine what things would be like if you'd taken her as a client? Yeesh! The fact that you handled it so well speaks highly of you.
    You deserve a Werther's.

  22. Avatar Nicole says:

    Well we all knew that.

    That's why we follow this blog. Because all of us are also money grubbing, self-absorbed, indecent humans. >:

  23. Amazing doesn't begin to express it.

  24. Hi Jessica,
    You could try sending a copy of this blog post and comments to her.
    If she's as clever as she thinks she is, she'll get the message. If not, her University place was obviously wasted on her.

  25. Avatar Geekamicus says:

    Lack of belief in Marquette Ideals? I thought Marquette ideals involved partying down on Wells Street, maybe hitting Real Chili, although I note that the best sports bar in the world no longer appears to be on campus. (I would remind you of what that would be, but it seems I have forgotten. It's been a while. And I was always a little fuzzy when I was there anyway.) I had never actually noticed that Marquette engendered a sense of entitlement in its graduates (that would have been the TKEs over at UWM).

  26. Avatar Donna says:

    Someone was obviously used to getting her own way, huh?

  27. Avatar Caleb says:

    But Jessica, rules are for everybody else, not for me. Here, let me throw my Marquette weight around. I used to pass by Marquette every day on my way into the city, therefore, you should, and this is not a query by the way, go and find my old query letter, and reconsider publishing me. Do you know Milwaukee has more microbreweries than anywhere else in the country? And you have the audacity to defame such a beer drinking city that we both lived in, probably at separate times, by not accepting this not query non proposal for probably a non book. πŸ™‚
    The reality is, schools don't have the slightest clue how to prepare students for the literary world. For example, and for your amusement, my senior year of college, which was all of two years ago, I took a class in fiction writing. Part of the class was to write a query letter for the publishing house the wished to represent us.
    Now, this wasn't a professor of a by gone era that should be retired, he's a fresh young guy who just got the highest doctoral degree for English or Literary something or other you can have. I remember him saying that he didn't have anything published yet and now I know why. He's sending his query letters to the wrong place.
    Of course, because of blogs like yours, I've figured out how things work on my own.
    I said all that to say that I think people don't know the norms and the socially acceptable behaviors and processes of the literary world. They were taught certain things in college on how things are done. I've found out recently, that a lot of colleges don't know how things are done.
    Luckily, another English prof turned me on to writers digest and Sol Stein on Writing. From writers digest, I've found blogs like yours and Nathan Bransford and a whole lot of other resources to teach myself about the business.
    Truth is, us newbies to the literary world don't know that we don't know what we don't know because we don't know we need to know it. College is supposed to have prepared us for everything. πŸ™‚

  28. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I think you are too kind. Most agents would simply ignore unwanted e-mail. End of communication. Responding to points this lady raised is in any event bad strategy because it feeds the troll as it were. Sometimes the best response is none at all.

    Of course some agents report that these characters come to the office with nostrils blazing. Maes me wish I were an agent.

  29. Avatar Nikki says:

    Wow. This is the first time I ever gave myself a concussion from a facepalm.

  30. Avatar G says:


    I've heard of (and experienced) some serious chipping in line and the every popular, "but I've always done it that way", but this really takes the cake.

    To think that somehow enforcing your own agency's legitimate guidelines is "mean and rude" would in most cases, boggle the imagination.

    Unfortunately, this is a common occurance working in the guv'ment.

  31. Go, Redleg! Josin L. McQuein's suggestion was spot-on as always as well.

    Also, I am disappointed to learn that pointing out some arbitrary similarity or shared experience will not instantly endear me to an agent. I was hoping one would pledge their love to my undying work that way, even while realizing I was in no way querying them. Oh, woe.

  32. Avatar Lindsay says:

    I'll just never understand why writers think they don't need to follow the rules!

    Folks! Agents deserve your respect! Their time is just as valuable as yours! Don't burn your bridges!

    Please, please listen – your success is at stake.

  33. Avatar ryan field says:

    I don't get the point behind LinkedIn either, at least not for writers. I get invitations all the time and just ignore them. Maybe I'm missing something? I just always thought it was more a business network for people in corporate.

  34. Avatar Anonymous says:

    You shoulda gone to one of them there online collages like I did. You can get a writin dee-gree real fast like over a long week-end.
    You don't get no alumunuses botherin ya for stuff if ya did.

    I think that there Redleg guy is purty cool.
    Hey rubytheigh, you single?

  35. My brother is a Marquette grad and I won't say what that 'speaks of him'. I went to Loyola, CGO. As did my daughter. Those darn Jevvies.

    I don't understand Linked-in. They send me updates from professionals that have no "link" to me.

  36. "Sense of Entitlement". That's the phrase I was searching for.

  37. Avatar dissertation says:

    Very good. Thanks for post.

  38. Avatar Julie Nilson says:

    What's really baffling is that if she had responded with, "Sorry for my oversight! I'll submit my query shortly through your firm's process," you might have given that query a little more attention just because you'd remember her name. But now she's completely burned a bridge by acting like an entitled ass.

  39. Avatar A.J. says:

    I'm a Marquette grad, and I'm embarrassed by how one of my fellow authors tried to use our alma mater.

    I wonder if she has any idea how bad she made us Golden Eagles (or Warriors, as we were back in my day) look.

    Carry on, Jessica! Someone's got to make Marquette look good. πŸ™‚

  40. Avatar Lanette says:

    The author was right. You cannot instill decency into people.

  41. Avatar Rebecca Kiel says:

    Crud. You mean bursting into your office wearing my MU sweatshirt and shouting "Go Warriors!" won't get me a contract? Back to the drawing board.

  42. Avatar MissFifi says:

    Okay, that was hilarious and I like how the author claims it was not an inquiry on their part. Riiiight….

  43. Avatar Poll says:

    Good post!