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Viewing Blog: Miss Snark, the literary agent, Most Recent at Top
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Miss Snark vents her wrath on the hapless world of writers and crushes them to sand beneath her T.Rexual heels of stiletto snark.
Statistics for Miss Snark, the literary agent

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1.

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2. And Then We Came to the End!


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3. Bonus Content--like DVDs!

Dear Miss Snark,

As a hugely successful and incredibly wealthy New York literary agent, I gotta tell you that you’re really causing me heartburn.

In the good old days, crappy writers did a crappy job of submitting their crappy queries, and I was able to cull through the crap at the rate of five per nanosecond, no problemo. And then you came along, dishing up advice and giving away our industry secrets.

I now have thousands of submissions in my slush pile that are perfectly executed, beautifully formatted, and follow my agency’s amazingly complex and intentionally contradictory instructions precisely.

So, even though 99.9% of the actual writing is still atrocious, it’s taking me ten times longer to slog through the slush.


Are you trying to make my life a living hell, or what?


Clearly my work here is done!

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4. Bonus Content-one last post

Dear Miss Snark,

I’ve got papyrophobia (fear of paper) and bibliophobia (fear of books). My therapist says my phobias are the most severe she’s ever seen, and there’s no hope of a cure for me.

I’ve written a novel (on my PC, as you might expect), and now the publication date is looming. I’m deathly afraid of seeing my novel rendered on paper, in the form of a book. And yet I’m thrilled that others will be able to pick up a copy and read it.
I want to make sure the book is okay, but because of my phobias I can’t get anywhere near one.

So, since you’re in New York, and my publisher is in New York, would you be willing to pick up a copy, call me, and read it to me over the phone?


oh shur, no problem.
Is your phone number 648-9487?***








*clue: telephone numbers also have letters

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5. Miss Snark is quite overcome

Killer Yapp (activating Nextel two way collar radio): "Grandma Dog! Grandma Dog!"

Grandmother Snark: "KY? What's wrong?"

KY: Snark! Snark! Melting!

GS: Miss Snark is melting? I'll be right there, open the patio doors!

(Grandmother Snark rappels down east face of building and swan dives into Snark Central).

KY: Here! Here!

Grandmother Snark: (aghast) oh dear dog in heaven, hell must be freezing over, where are my skates, Miss Snark has tears running down her flinty cheeks!

Miss Snark: 300 plus comments on the blog retirement post. I thought I was tough. They got me! They really got me!

Grandmother Snark: And it's only Saturday night. I better buy stock in Kimberly Clark.

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6. The Post-Snark Snark

Some questions have popped up in my email and in the comments:

1. What are you doing next?
The only thing retiring is the blog. I'm still agenting. KY is still chasing squirrels and Grandmother Snark is still blessedly unaware of Miss Snark's potty mouth. Please resist the urge to reveal all to her.


2. What about the blog?
The blog will stay up. You can search the archives (most of the posts have labels now and google will turn up a lot if you use "miss snark" and "what ever you're looking for" as search terms).

3. We can still comment, right?
No, comments are now off as of 5/22/2007. You can see the previous comments but you can't comment now.

4. Are you going to write a book?
No.

5. Can I print up your blog as a book on Lulu?
No. Please don't. If you want to print it out and put it in a pink unicorn binder for your own personal use, ok, but please don't turn it into book form or sell it, even at no-profit.


6. Was it something anyone said or did, and if so, can I kill them for you?
No. It wasn't a specific event. The questions were increasingly ones I'd already answered or ones I couldn't answer. Managing the mail was actually more time consuming than the blog.

7. Are you alright? You're not sick or anything are you?
No, I'm not dead, dying or disabled. I'm slightly dehydrated cause the outpouring of such marvelous comments and email and video and blog posts has been very very overwhelming, but you didn't make me cry, you didn't you did NOT.


8. Are you marrying George Clooney?
Yes.

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7. Miss Snark is Retiring

Two years; two million hits (2.5 actually as of 5/20/07);
yes, Miss Snark has run out of new things to say.

It's been an amazing run.
This blog wouldn't have been any fun at all without you, my devoted readers.

I know I'll miss hearing from you.
I hope you'll miss hearing from me.


Yes, the blog will stay up cause I'm pretty proud of what we did here. And by "we" I don't mean just me and Killer Yapp, I mean you too. You sent me questions, trusted me to snark your work, made "crapometer" an industry term and most of all, you gave me perspective on what it's like to be on the other side of the slush pile.


There will be a few more days of clean up as I close out my email and spruce up the blog roll.

You can reach me through Killer Yapp.


Thank you for everything.

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8. Email query format problems

Dear Miss Snark:

I've sent out a bunch of e-mail queries and noticed when I received some answers (and my query shows up at the end of the responses) that sometimes my letter looked strange on the other end. I copy and pasted my query from a Microsoft word document into the body of the e-mails and some of them apparently look like I wrote it in a foreign tongue. My apostrophes have been replaced by Russian looking letters. The columns and everything look out of whack. Other replies show that my query looked fine, just as I had sent it from my end. It looks normal from my "sent" column and it also looked fine when I sent a test run on some of my friends' computers. What's going on? Am I doing something wrong? Are these agents seeing Russian letters instead of my apostrophes? Thanks.


Yup, they are, in some cases.

I have one colleague who reliably sees weirdness in my emails so I have prevailed upon her to be my "reader". All she has to do when I send her a practice/draft email is hit reply when I send it to her for testing (her email program prints the text of my email at the bottom).

That way I get back what the finicky computers see, and I can fix it. It usually takes three or four "send/reply" cycles to get all the problems fixed.

The trick is to find the one friend who will see it like that, and bribe her into helping you.

There are other tricks to employ here too, and I'm sure some of the comments will give you some additional good ideas.

The good news is, most of us are pretty used to seeing that. It's annoying, but it's not a deal breaker. You DO want to fix it though cause it's really hard to read.

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9. Resist! Resist!

Dear Miss Snark,
I recently received this email:


(Agent's name)

I see you've already rejected my query on (title redacted) oh, a month ago. And you're in great company. Sorry-- please disregard the query I sent ten minutes ago because I don't need another rejection.

Thanks,
It's a fun read. Why is everyone passing?
(author)

Can I borrow a match to set my hair on fire too?



Yes indeed.

Just to underscore the obvious:
If you screw up and send a query twice, don't compound the mistake by writing to say so. Don't say you don't need more rejection, cause really, who does??

I know you get tired of hearing no, but the person to ask "why" is not the agent.

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10. Thank yous (and giftage)

I recently entered a writing contest (a well-known one) and didn't make the short-list. No biggie, I learned a lot and made some good progress with my writing. Then I got a very encouraging letter from one of the contest judges (the chair), letting me know that I'd made the informal "long-list" of the top 20 entries and giving me some feedback on my submission. She didn't have to do this (the contest stated that feedback would only be given to short-listed folks), and made it clear she did it on her own behalf. This was very cool and much appreciated. My question is this...would it be okay to send her a short thank-you note care of her publisher? Just a "thanks for taking the time to do this, much appreciated" kinda deal? I'm not looking to come off as some psycho-stalker chick, so should I be grateful in silence, or is a brief note okay?



A short thank you note via the publisher is always in order.
You'd do better to email her from her website; publishers are notoriously slow about forwarding author mail.
You only come off as psycho-stalker chick if you send gifts, or more than one note.
Never send any object to an agent or an editor until you've signed a deal with them. Given the lunacy of this day and age, gifts from strangers mostly get thrown away still wrapped and unused.

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11. More on rejections

Dear Miss Snark,

If your oven wasn’t already in use as a file cabinet, I’d be asking to stop by so I could stick my head in and turn on the gas. After the one-millionth rewrite and almost as many rejections, two agents requested my manuscript AFTER reading partials. Such a hopeful sign, but alas, both NO’s. But it was the nature of their comments that has me competing for space in your oven.

The first pass was from a pair of agents who work together. Their comments were all very positive, but they didn’t think the market was large enough for the novel. They did, however, ask me to resubmit my next project.

The second agent passed because she felt the story needed to be told in a far more brutal voice. Because of the nature of the material, I purposely avoided sensationalizing the story.

Who to believe? At this point I am committed to finishing my second novel, a very commercial project, furiously rewriting with the hope of submitting next fall. But I can’t completely shake a nagging doubt that agent #2 is right about my first novel and the first agents were just too kind to tell me my writing sucks.

I’m trying to talk myself into putting the first manuscript away for now, stop submitting and rewriting it and hope that, some day, it finds a good home at a small press where it probably would be most happy.

I really need someone, who is objective, to say, “Stop! Put it away and get on with the next project.” I am so confused.

Thank you for all you have done to help writers like me and please give Killer Yap a big kiss on his furry snout and, of course, a cookie.


Killer Yapp says "excellent idea" and heads for the cookie jar.



One of the ironclad rules of rejection letters is they all say different things. Too long, too short, too violent, too placid. You don't have a large enough sample to draw any reliable conclusions.

And NO agent asks to see future work if they think your writing sux. Never.

You in fact have TWO agents who said something other than "not right for me" and that says to me you're probably a damn fine writer, and it's other things that needs some work.

You're exactly right in what I'm going to tell you: finish the second book. Send it out on a round of queries. THEN look at novel #1 and see (with what you learned from writing #2) what, if anything, you'd chanage.

Quit obsessing. Write well.

Killer Yapp adds "eat cookies".

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12. Oh here, let me help you

Dear Mistress of the Highest Snarkitude

I'm in the early stages of querying my mystery novel, and a top New York agent is currently reviewing the full manuscript. Meanwhile, an acquaintance of mine recently read my manuscript and gave it glowing reviews. Knowing she'd be too polite to tell me if it sucked, I smiled and moved along. But apparently, she was serious. She's contacted a friend who works for a production company that develops movies for, ahem,well, a women's cable network. This person is now asking for a screenplay based on my novel, which she has NOT read by the way. I have no screenplay, and creating one would take precious time and effort –time I'd allocated to crafting the novel's sequel.I've tried to politely decline this request, but my acquaintance is pushing the issue.

What to do?
-Should I drop everything else to write a screenplay? No

-Am I correct in suspecting the production-company contact is just being polite? Yes

-Even if the interest is genuine, would you advise an unpublished author to pursue this?No
I mean, if the story is "used up" in a made-for-TV movie, will it hurt my chances to have the book published? No Will it piss off my dream agent(s)?Yes

-Am I a snob for wincing at the thought of my masterpiece appearing on a woman's TV network? In the book, the love interest is a delightfully dangerous hottie who owns a gun store. I fear the TV folks would transform him into a first-grade teacher who owns a
little antique shop. Now, I like teachers and antiques as much as the next gal, but my guy's an alpha male, and I like him that way.

- On a scale of one to ten, how paranoid am I? The voices tell me not to worry, but they also suggested I seek your advice.

I'd be eternally grateful for your insight. All of us– me, the voices, and my fictional hottie - send you and Killer Yapp our kindest regards.


First, you have no clue how to write a screenplay and if you think writing a novel was good practice for that, you're wrong.

Second, you don't want to go anywhere near film people without an agent. That industry works on much more stringent rules about what they'll consider (and I think that most legit places require you to register your work before they'll look at it). And, film rights are in important piece of the package for a novel. You write a screenplay, send it off, and you've just made it a LOT harder for an agent to sell film or TV rights. Do NOT do this.

Clearly this friend of yours has badgered her friend at the production company and this is the standard brush off.

What you need to do with this clueless friend is say "thanks for your help. I appreciate it" and STOP talking to her about your novel. Her "helpfulness" does not oblige you to accept it or report back on your progress. Once you're published lots more people will have "helpful" ideas for you. Some of them are good; 99% are not. This is good practice for how to deal with them politely. Respect the intention, but that's it.

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13. Stop, drop, (sc)roll


Dear Miss Snark,

Since I read your advice not to mix genres in query letters I've been planning to market my novel as a mystery. The problem is that although I throw out some hints early on, the 'mystery' itself doesn't emerge till page 100 or so. I've also tried to make the book stylistically interesting. Is 'literary mystery' a viable genre option, or should I just leave well enough alone?


Nothing makes me want to set my hair on fire faster than hearing "I've tried to make the book stylistically interesting". You tell me that in a query letter, I'm reaching for the lighter fluid.

And when you say the "mystery" doesn't emerge till page 100, that's akin to saying the "the plot doesn't start till page 100".

And avoid the use of the word "literary" with "mystery". Tell me where it goes in the bookstore. That's all.

I'm gonna suggest you scan down the previous posts till you come to the one that has a bunch of crit groups and the Crapometer Annex listed in the comment column. The post title is "Miss Snark is Clueless" I think.

I have a feeling you need some readers to look at this before you send it off to hot-headed Miss Snark or her colleagues.

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14. "no deals" isn't always what you think it is

An agent whose name I have seen several times with offerings but who has no deals listed under her name on Agent Query or P.M. has asked to see my complete manuscript. She requires a 1 year contract. (Yes I know I'm getting ahead of myself.) I've heard "no agent is better than a bad agent." On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere..so.. your thoughts?


First, let's all remember that PM and AQ are self-reporting websites. Not all agents post their deals there.

The key piece of information you need to find out is this: has this agent made any sales. Don't assume she hasn't just cause you can't find them on the web. ASK. It's ok to ask at this stage. She wants your full, that means she's interested in your work.


If she's new to the biz, she may not have any sales at all. In that case, ASK about her previous experience. If she has not ever worked in a company that does book deals, on either side of the desk, I'd be wary. I see a lot of websites with well intentioned people who want to help authors sell their books but what they don't know about how to do that or who to approach would be a book in and of itself.

As for the one year contract, there are several quite reputable agents who do that. They give you a year and if they can't sell it, you're released from the agency.


An inexperienced agent is not a bad agent by default. And "experience" isn't some sort of universal either. I'm pretty experienced but if you hand me category romance, I'd be a VERY bad agent since I don't know the genre, don't read it, and don't know the editors who buy it.

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15. Movin' on

I have been peddling a completed middle grade novel for some time now and have had three requests for full submissions. The first two came back with personal rejections and invitations to submit future projects. I am still waiting to hear back on the third full but have been told to expect a wait of 3-5 months. Having endured an additional 40 query rejections and several others on partials with seemingly personal invitations to query future projects--I now have all my proverbial eggs in this one last basket.

However, I am nearly finished with my latest "future project" and wondered if I should wait the 3-5 months to hear back regarding the full sub of my last book before sending queries to the inviting agents on the new one. Is it unwise to overlap the query/submission process of two different projects?




Their slow pokieness should have no bearing on your forward motion.
You can have a variety of things in submission at any given time.

IF Slow Poke Publisher makes you an offer, great. If they pass, you've got other irons in the fire.

If EVERYONE makes you an offer you'll have fun juggling offers.

There's no down side to getting your "new" work out into circulation.

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16. SASE...cause really, there's SO much more to say


As a service to an author who isn't in it for the money and who can afford my rates, I'm putting together queries for a nonfiction book I edited (his secretary will do the printing and mailing; he will sign the letters himself--big of him, I know). I'm dutifully checking the submission guidelines for each and every agent on the list I've assembled so far, with every intention of following the instructions to the letter.

Then I come to this one:

"SASE – Due to new postal regulations, all self-addressed envelopes must follow these guidelines. Use postal stamps only. No metered mail. Envelopes must be addressed and include our address as the return address in the top left corner of the envelope. Use self-sealing envelopes."

How anal can an agent get? Yeah, sure, if I were the author, I'd probably just go out and buy special envelopes and do the return address thing, too. But geez, don't you people even have rubber stamps you can use for the return address? And you can't wet a gummed envelope with a sponge? Gimme a break!

Bottom of the list, dude. Plonk!



OK, I know you think it's anal, but its only cause I'd burst into flame from your enraged glare that I don't have this on MY site too. I LOVE it when people send self sealing envelopes, the ones with the pull strips.

The meter mail thing IS a rule at the post office. I drop SASEs in the box with meter stamps all the time, but I have NO idea if they get back to the querier. The thing about meters is they have dates. You meter an SASE and it says I mailed it the same day you mailed your query to me. You'll need to be writing more than science fiction to make that happen.

The only thing I think is weird is having the agent's name for the return address. I'd rather you put your own, but again, I've read in the comments column from people that the post office does require that.

And for a general comment on the overall obsessive nature of agents, trust me on this, this is a quality you WANT in an agent. You want someone who researches what works, tells you about it up front and makes it easy to understand what they need. Careless, slipshod, and "it'll all work out" are not things you want to say about the person negotiating your contract.

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17. what! what! you mean...I'm NOT the exception??

Dearest Miss Snark,

I fear that I already know the answer to this question, but I am compelled to ask, nonetheless...

I have a successful "day job" career, but I'm trying to pursue my dream of writing a novel. I therefore recently signed up to attend my first writers' conference (a costly affair). I will have two one-on-one sessions with well-known agents. So far the writing is going well, and I hope to have a polished, final copy in about six months. Here's the catch: the conference is in one month.

I know, I know... I normally would not even dream of prematurely attempting to launch an unfinished work of fiction. I know that it should be finished, polished, put away, re-polished, etc., ad nauseum. The only reason that I am even thinking about dashing my chances prematurely with these two highly-coveted agents is because a) I am writing in a genre that is considered "hot" right now (and all things hot burn out quickly, as we well know), and b) my prominence in my "day job" gives me an excellent platform (it is directly related to the genre) that I believe any P.R.-minded agent or editor would drool over.

Am I a complete nitwit to even consider pitching an unfinished work, given the above?



Feel free to waste my time at a conference, I really don't care. I have to sit there all day anyway and one more guy with an unfinished novel is one easy answer: no. That said, we can sit there and drink gin.

No matter how enticing or hot or yummy, I can't sell an unfinished novel from a first time novelist. Maybe someone else can, but I'd get laughed off the phone by most of the editors I deal with.

They know, like I do, that the final 20% of the novel is harder to write than the preceding 80%. They know too that a first draft (which is what you're talking about when you first write THE END) is hardly ever something you should show anyone except your dog. That means you're a year from being really done, if you ever finish at all.

You've spent a lot of money hoping the rules don't apply to you. Even if you GET lucky and these agents ARE interested, they're buying for 2009 right now so anything you think of as hot NOW is something we were selling two years ago.


There are lots of reasons to attend a conference other than meeting agents. Take full advantage of them but do NOT expect agents are going to be falling all over a hot idea with an unfinished novel.

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18. Holy Burning Bakery, Batgirl!

Miss Snark is glad to see that others too like to light their hair on fire.

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19. A rose is arose is a rows

Dear Miss Snark,

I have a novel in revision that I hope will be ready for querying in about a year. I've also written some short stories, which I plan to start submitting to markets. My hope is that when I'm ready to query agents about the novel, I'll have some publication credits to include in the query letter. I also want to establish a website.

My problem is my awkward, difficult-to-spell last name. If I find an agent, I imagine he or she can advise me on whether I should write under a different name that's easier for readers to remember and spell. But what about in the meantime? I'm concerned that if I publish short stories under my real name, and start a website under my real name, any visibility I'll have built up before I start querying will be lost if the novel is published under a different name. I wonder if it might make more sense to send out the short stories under my maiden name. It's an odd name, but since it's only 4 letters long, it's easier to remember and spell. Am I a nitwit for thinking about such things at this stage?




Well it didn't hurt: Mary Kay Zuravleff (I know and love her work, and I still had to look up the correct spelling of her name)

or Chuck Palahniuk

or Elfried Jelinek

or Michael Ondaatje (which I got from Kristin Nelson's blog post here, and she's of another mind on this subject)


If you've got a name thats hard to say, or easily misspelled one of the first things you want to do is put in keywords for your site that are the WRONG things people will type in trying to find you.

So if you are Killer Yapp, you also want "Killer Yap" as a keyword cause a lot of people spell it that way. Same with "Ms Snark" (sound of cocking clue gun as optional audio would be good here too).

People come in every variety of cluelessness about author names and titles. An easy to say or spell name is no guarantee they won't get it wrong.

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20. This therefore that, uh, no

Well, this is a clever way to see the limits of artificial intelligence.

Just type in Thomas Pynchon and see what comes up.
I mean David Sedaris is a wonderful writer and I love his work, but putting him closer to Pynchon than say Bill Vollmann...well...no, just no.

And Wayne Dyer on the same page as Laura Lippman? No, no, really no.

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21. Miss Snark shops at Alphabeta of course**

Dear Miss Snark,

There are approximately 6,800 spoken languages in the world, but only around 2,200 of them have writing systems. That leaves 4,600 languages that don’t have alphabets. When I saw that data I pounced on the opportunity, and I’ve just completed my new book titled “How to Invent an Alphabet”.

But I can’t print the book in any of those 4,600 languages, because they don’t have alphabets yet! And if it’s published as an audio book, those people might not see the need for an alphabet in the first place.

I know my book will be a best seller if I can get past those tiny little details. Any suggestions?


YouTube!
Who wouldn't want to have books and a library after seeing this




**when she's not down to the PigglyWiggly of course

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22. Remainders

Your Snarkiness,

While lounging at the bookstore today, browsing through the tables of "Was $25, now $3.99" books, I wondered... who takes the loss on these huge discounts? The publisher has sent the books to the bookstore, but I know the bookstore can get its money back if it returns the books to the publisher. But if the bookstore instead sells them at what I presume is a loss, is it the bookstore that takes the hit? Or does the publisher somehow not get its full price?

Basically, I'm just hoping it's not the author, but I have a bad feeling...

My two cats send a wary greeting to Killer Yapp and wish him a pleasant afternoon, as far away from them as possible.



Killer Yapp is safely passed out cold on the sofa after a busy day at Grandmother Snark's gnawing on roast beast and fetching a red rubber ball that seemed to always be bouncing around (silly humans, losing things, you don't notice poodles losing their toys).

I think I know the answer to this but I'm going to foist it off on Ben at BleakHouse for his podcast.

Ben...would you school us all on remainders?

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23. Another good place to find out about publishing

You want to find out what goes on at a publishing company?
Here's your chance.

Ben at Bleak House books is doing a podcast a day about publishing.
Here's the link.

First thing I wanna know....
When's the new John Galligan book coming out?? I'm desperate here.

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24. But, but, I did that on purpose!

Hi Miss Snark--

I've been querying my novel since March and have gotten responses from a few big agencies. I'm in my second round now, sending samples to the agents who said yes to a letter, and presentation packets to those who said yes to a sample. All of the former have turned me down. (what the fuck is a presentation packet for a novel anyway??)

One agency requested temporary exclusivity on a three-chapter sample after reading my letter. This is, I've read, one of the most (reputable? powerful?) agencies in the industry, but they had no submission guidelines listed anywhere, not even on their own website. I sent the sample over, but also sent an e-mail saying that while I'd be happy to give them exclusivity effective that day, my submission was already simultaneous (this was also stated in my query). Their rejection came less than a week later.

Given the very quick turnaround, I can't help but think that this was because I could not offer them exclusivity. But had they been interested, I might have been caught in a lie, which I think is no way to establish a business relationship. Would it have been better to lie? Am I just being naive here?

Another agent sent along a few criticisms with her rejection, and, my gigantic writer ego aside, I thought they were preposterous. She suggested that I stop using the passive voice, add more dialogue, and put in more vivid descriptions--all intentional personal style choices that were direct results of the novel's story.

My own business sense and understanding of the market, coupled now with the fact that big agencies have responded to my queries, tell me that this novel is most likely sellable. That being said, I'm thinking that this agent--and the others who said no to a requested sample--liked the premise, but not my writing style in executing it.

But if a novel has marketability, does its style really affect that? Or is there something I'm missing here?



Yea, a clue.

What on earth led you to conclude the novel was "sellable" (and it's "saleable" but maybe you chose that word on purpose too)? You've got a fistful of rejections from people who've READ the thing!!

Just because someone said no quickly doesn't mean they didn't read it. I can turn things around pretty damn fast if I see right away that it doesn't work.


You've got passive voice, limited dialogue and flat description. Yes, I know you described it differently but that's what I get from what you said. Say what you will about downmarket fiction, it's usually full of dialogue and pretty vivid.

What you have here sounds like a high concept, badly executed book. Of course I haven't read it, so take that with a grain of salt. The only thing that really makes me think I'm right on the money here is the idea you actually have a presentation packet for a novel. I'm almost afraid to ask whats in it.

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25. Submitting work that's in a contest

Dear Miss Snark,

Please help me avoid acting clueless. I want to maximize my opportunities without doing something that will make agents snarl. Here's the deal. I will be submitting my recently completed novel in a contest. The contest meets the Snark Test, as it is one YOU posted some months ago with a note that if we felt compelled to enter a contest it was a good one. (Bless you...it was your blog that put me onto the contest.) The winner gets a publishing contract with St. Martin's.

So, the question. I want to query agents while the ms. is under contest consideration. If I wait until I hear that I did not win, I've lost six months. If I do win (Dear Dog in Heaven, get me the smelling salts), then I'd like an agent anyway to advise me on the 'standard contract' they will offer the winner. But will prospective/interested agents be put off that the ms. is in a competition?

Querying agents while the ms is in a contest: bad form or good business? Please advise.


I think it's fine. I wouldn't elevate an eyebrow at that info in a query letter.
In fact you're smart to pursue all avenues.
(You do want to mention it in your cover letter of course.)

And if you win, email me again. I have a lifetime supply of salts here at Snark Central. One must always be prepared for a sighting of Mr. Clooney...or this guy

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