Okay, so this is not as fatal as the title implies. But I've been thinking. (Quite scary indeed, no need to say it out loud.)
I'm sure most of my writing buddies out there follow a lot of agent blogs, as do I. There are a couple I don't read so much anymore because pretty much all I see is the same thing over and over: Writers are bad. They do this wrong, they do that wrong, etc.. However, the vast majority can be snappy, fun, informative and pleasant. They infom on rules of queries and submissions, keep us up to date on the publishing world (a hell of scary universe these days), and one of my personal favorites: This Is The Right Way To...
Of course, 3 different agents will have 3 different right ways for the same thing. Definitely have to study up and do query letters individually in a lot of cases now days. You can't just go to the agency site and get that one submission page with blanket info like you used to. A lot of agents also imply they would like something personal in the query to let them know you follow them. Subtly, of course, not just: Hey I know you like carnivals, so here's my novel about a crazy alien clown stalking people on ferris wheels and eating their caramel apples. No. We have to weave it in, because the last drop of my blood shed into the query itself wasn't enough. Gah.
The other thing about those blogs, it's hard not get caught up in the personalization they infer. Agents let us peek at their lives, share jokes, funny stories. Some even go back and forth with people in the comments.
I wonder if that's where some of the comments I see on those agent blogs these days come from? The comments about how people send query letters that are a little too personal, show up at their doorsteps, or send a little gift in the mail of something they read online that that agen likes. Would it creep me out? Yes. Do I blame agents for being creeped out? No.
I prefer things to be closer to the way it used to be - leave the personalization out and keep things businesslike. In the query/submissions, not the blogs.
How many of you want to start your query with:
Yo X! What up, dude? That blog about your dog wearing the tutu and chasing the cat up the tree - OMG. Hilarious. Coincidentally, my novel is about alien clowns...