Okay, I rarely blog, but even if I updated more often I doubt I would ever blog much about my slush pile in any specific way (other than how far behind I am on it). That is because while a lot of other agents frequently write about their query stats, and I know a lot of readers enjoy such posts, I personally find it... boring.

There, I've said it: I find reading about other people's slush boring, for the most part. That is absolutely not a criticism of agents who write about their slush or readers who like to read about it--I think these posts provide a valuable resource, and are often both hilarious and well written--but in and of itself it's just not that interesting to me, because I have my own slush pile and live with it every day, I talk about slush with the people in my life, etc. For me, reading posts about slush is like reading a book which draws on insider knowledge of a profession or world few readers have any personal knowledge of (high fashion, forensic investigation, deep sea diving, whatever): if I am one of the few who is familiar with the subject, there has to be something more there to draw my interest. and usually that's either the way the author writes about it, or some new-to-me information about my own area of knowledge.

All of which is a just long lead-in to my making an atypical post about slush, since I have recently had a completely new experience. I'm sure it isn't unique in the history of the submission process or the annals of publishing or anything--but where slush is concerned, it's the first thing to have happened to me in years that I've never seen before.

This past weekend, I received the following email [names removed]:

Dear Diana,

Per your request, please find attached chapters 4-6 of my ms.

Thank you for your interest!



From: Diana Fox [diana@foxliterary.com]

Sent: Monday 11-24-2008 17:35 AM
To: X [address redacted]

Subject: manuscript proposal

Dear X,

Please send three or four sample chapters that I can look over.



Now, you might think this was a perfectly normal exchange... except, I HAD NEVER EMAILED THIS AUTHOR. Or rather, I never sent him the email in question; I checked my records and found that I actually sent him a form rejection on November 18th. I then responded:

Dear X,

I can't understand why you would compose a fake request email from me as you have done below, but I didn't send out any requests on Monday, November 24th. It's also very clear that you have never received a request from me as I would never phrase it as you did, or ask for chapters 4-6 of a manuscript, or open a .doc attachment.

I concluded by asking him never to darken my virtual door again, but the thing that I can't understand is, what would possess an author to do something like that in the first place? The dude made up a FAKE REQUEST EMAIL from me after I rejected him! Did he think I request so many things that I would believe I'd somehow just forgotten I requested his manuscript? It takes a lot to surprise me, but seriously, what was he thinking?

It's not just the dishonesty of his tactics that I found so unpleasant, but I hate incompetence--after all, if he'd done his research and found this blog, he'd have known I always request full manuscripts to save time. Moral of the story: being dishonest is bad, being dishonest AND stupid is worse. (And also, of course, that aspiring authors should never do what this person did... but I can't believe any of my readers would need to be told that!)

Has anyone else either had this happen to them, or heard of it happening?
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