A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Anyone for Some Smoked Snark?

As usual, some dweebie newbie e-mailed me when he saw a recent post on Ms. Snark's blog and asked my opinion. Of course, I am so shy about offering it that I...oh, hell, let's get on with it, shall we?

In short, I was shocked by what you said, Snarky-poo. Do writers really believe that dog-dung you generate? You sound so outraged that agents should even think about recouping their money that I’m sure by now that you must be a writer, not an agent. You certainly had me fooled though—for awhile. Either that or you are very, very confused.

There are only a couple of agents I know who are this adamant about fees, and they are new agents hungry for clients. Solicitous agents let's call them. For most agents, this is a non-question: So what? What’s it to you?Who cares? The only agents that care one way or the other are those who are hungry and hope to solicit and harvest some newbies, so they coddle them. Established agents don’t even consider this worth wondering about. They bill their clients, most of whom are published authors, and published authors could care less if the stupid charges are up front or in the back or not at all. What a professional cares about is if her damned manuscript is going to make it to the right editor at the right time and if the damned mistakes on the royalty statements are being attended to. That’s about it. Only the newbie writer worries him or herself sick about how they are going to screw an agent out of money. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: Writers are cheap and expect everything for nothing. They want an agent to do all their work for them and give them a free ride on top of that. How well does that work? Ask a hooker about free rides and see how far you get.

Agenting is a business, my friends, not a charity. Publishers do not exist to publish your books and give you an avenue to have a glorious career--they have to make money and so do agents. Don't give me that shit about, "Well, if the agent works hard enough, the large advance he gets will pay him for his work and for all expenses incurred for the joy and glory of handling my novel and being a part of my greatness." Fuck you, your greatness, and the little bitty horsey your greatness rode in on.

So, dear Snarkalina, you are undoubtedly a writer--a knowledgeable one, granted--but a writer wannabe is a wannabe nonetheless.

A horse is a horse, of course...

Of course!

13 Comments:

  • At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're a horse's ass, using foul language just for the sake of sounding like a loud mouth. You have no knowledge as to whether Miss Snark is an agent or not, just your own guess.My guess is that she is. If you read her posts carefully, she shows enough knowledge about the mechanics of agentry that go beyond what the typical writer would know that it is unlikely she is just a writer posing as an agent. To insinuate she isn't, simply because you happen to disagree with her stance on fees being paid upfront to an agent leaves no room for differing styles and policies and assumes "real" agents would all agree on a single way of doing things, which is silly.
    Your tone sucks, as does your deliberately provocative attacking style.

     
  • At 4:50 AM, Blogger Kat said…

    You are quite correct. Miss Snark offers no name and no proof of her identity, unlike you, and so, unlike you, we cannot check on her veracity or prove that she is not an agent.

    However, troublingly, a seach for your name and "literary agent" turns up no results - no agent listing, no links from happy clients, no conference appearances, nothing. You are not listed on Publisher's Marketplace, Agent Query, Preditors and Editors, or even the dubious but resource of everyonewhosanyone.com. It's as if your agenting career did not exist.

    As regards your post: I have spent a great deal of time researching literary agents and personally met two. Of those who had solid, legitimate sales to their name, every single one has agreed with Miss Snark. Not a single one has charged an up-front fee. Most have strongly spoke against the practice. On the other hand, I know several people who have been charged hundreds - sometimes thousands - of dollars in fees by agents who subsequently failed to sell their work. Many such agents are under criminal investigation for fraud as I write this.

    So overall, I would not say it is Miss Snark's credibility in the business which is under question.

    This is, of course, your blog. You may say what you wish on it and claim to be who you want; you may delete this comment (as I strongly suspect you will) if you want. I will not be returning to this blog, and do not particularly care. I only hope to warn off any other writers foolish enough to take your career-damaging drivel for gospel.

     
  • At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Obviously *you* ain't an agent.

    Miss Snark is an agent. It's pretty easy to figure out who, too, if ya gots any know-how, but she knows of what she speaks.

     
  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger Anne Merril said…

    If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: Writers are cheap and expect everything for nothing. They want an agent to do all their work for them and give them a free ride on top of that.

    What the hell is our writing then, chopped liver?

    Pull your scone in before someone knocks it off. You wouldn't BE in business if it wasn't for writers.

    Talk about tickets.

     
  • At 3:12 PM, Blogger SammyK said…

    Oh Kitty, you make me laugh! Before you post next time, why don’t you try reading more than one post on a blog? Why? That way people won’t think you’re a dipshit when you post.

    “It's as if your agenting career did not exist.”
    Did it occur to you that maybe I am using an alias just like Snarky-poo?

    “I have spent a great deal of time researching literary agents and personally met two.”
    Have you ever been an agent? No? Personally meeting the President doesn’t make you an expert on world leaders, Kitty, and personally meeting two agents, in addition to researching using slanted resources, doesn’t make you an expert on agents, either.

    “On the other hand, I know several people who have been charged hundreds - sometimes thousands - of dollars in fees by agents who subsequently failed to sell their work.”
    A. How fucking stupid do you have to be to give your money to someone when you don’t know anything about their job? This is what I rail against time and time again. Anyone who really is in the know knows what fees are reasonable and truly acceptable (and there are acceptable standard fees in any business). People who spend thousands of dollars are bait waiting for the sharks. If you go grocery shopping, you know about how much a dozen eggs cost, right? You sure wouldn’t spend $100 for a dozen, would you? Why? Because you have been in a few grocery stores and know how much eggs should cost. If you want an agent, you should know everything about what an agent does as well as what they can LEGITAMATELY charge for and why. That comes from being in the industry, not from waving a handkerchief from outside on the balcony and yelling, “Yoo-hoo, Mr. Agent-man! You wanna see MY manuscript?”

    “On the other hand, I know several people who have been charged hundreds - sometimes thousands - of dollars in fees by agents who subsequently failed to sell their work. Many such agents are under criminal investigation for fraud as I write this.”
    B. So if the agent had sold their work, that would have made those fees okay? Think about what you write before you write it. The ends do not justify the means, baby. People willing to pay anything or do anything to get published, whether it is in a legitimate context or not, are just asking to be hoist by their own petard (dipshit translation: caught in one’s own trap; in this case, a trap of your own making due to emotional neediness or arrogance).

    “I only hope to warn off any other writers foolish enough to take your career-damaging drivel for gospel.”
    First of all, the only people who take my word for gospel are a select group of individuals known to the rest of the world as “MY CLIENTS.” If anyone reads this blog and believes all of it, they are brain-damaged. It is actually a huge critical thinking test for writers. So far, most fail. Speaking of which, the writers I hope to drive off don’t have careers yet, and probably never will. Sounds like it’s working, doesn’t it?

    Bye forever, my Kitty. Thanks so much for your comment. It’s been a hoot.—SammyK

     
  • At 3:46 PM, Blogger SammyK said…

    Yoo-hoo, Anonymous...

    You're a horse's ass, using foul language just for the sake of sounding like a loud mouth.
    Yes, I am a horse’s ass and I’ve worked very hard at being one, thank you. As for being a loud mouth, that’s a miracle since I type with my fingers.

    You have no knowledge as to whether Miss Snark is an agent or not, just your own guess. My guess is that she is.

    And you also have no knowledge that she is, either, just an, ahem, educated guess. And who gives a shit? So it’s your guess she is and mine she isn’t…nanner—nanner—boo-boo!! Grow up!!

    If you read her posts carefully, she shows enough knowledge about the mechanics of agentry.

    Agentry? Who are you, Shakespeare? An agent? If you aren’t, shut your tater-trap. Did you ever think that she might be smarter than you (a idea that’s not to far-fetched)? Did you ever think that maybe her little clues to her identity might be for your benefit? Naw, Miz Snark would never do nothin’ like that, would she? You bet your ass she would, dipshit.

    ...go beyond what the typical writer would know that it is unlikely she is just a writer posing as an agent.

    You are gullible, aren’t you? Of course she knows more than a typical writer knows. If she knew less, she’d know what you know—nothing.

    To insinuate she isn't, simply because you happen to disagree with her stance on fees being paid upfront to an agent leaves no room for differing styles and policies and assumes "real" agents would all agree on a single way of doing things, which is silly.

    Aha, now we get to the crux of this bellicose. It’s all about fees. Why is it that it’s so easy to rile up a group of wannabe writers? To separate the wannbe from the real item, you just have to say “fees” and they go berserk. PETA throws red paint and writers throw words. FEES!

    FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES, FEES--SammyK

     
  • At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Cujo said…

    I enjoy Snark’s site. That’s how I found your site. I’ve been sifting through your musings, and I noticed that you don’t generate as many comments as Snark. The reason: Your site is appealing only to the serious writer. Serious writers don’t need to be told: Keep at it. Don’t give up. Serious writers need to be told: The publishing industry existed long before you; it will exist long after you. If you don’t like it, GET OUT!

    Eight years ago, I was one of those hapless wannabees plugging up the publishing pipe. But I studied hard. I worked hard. I was critical of myself, always looking to improve. Four novels and a collection of short stories later, I got myself a good agent. She read my novel and told me what needs changing. She wants to make money on my novel; she doesn’t worry about my feelings. I think she’s great.

    I have a question for you, SammyK. Why do so many wannabees see publishing as a Fairyland? A lot of people in this country want to be rich. That’s what capitalism is about. I applaud that. You go to Harvard law school. A lot of those kids will tell you they plan to be millionaires. They’ll also tell you that they plan to get a job in a big heartless firm after graduation, work ninety hours a week, kiss the asses that need to be kissed, and kick all the others. How often do you think I meet aspiring writers with that attitude? NEVER.

    This is a business people. Treat it as such. Your imagined talent doesn’t entitle you to an easy path to riches. If you have talent, and you know you have talent, FIGHT for it! If someone doesn’t recognize it, take it elsewhere. Make your manuscript so strong that others can’t ignore it. How many of your clients (i.e. successful writers) have this attitude, SammyK?

     
  • At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, and who here doesn't think that Cujo is SammyK?

    It's sad when you start talking to yourself, bud.

     
  • At 6:53 AM, Blogger the chocolatier said…

    Personally, I don't think it matters whether Miss Snark is agent or not. I read her blog (and this one too, for that matter) because whoever is writing the blog knows more about the publishing industry than I do.

    I think that a lot of writers read literary agent blogs because they need to have their hand held and be told that they're going in the right direction. I read them because they're hilarious and educational.

    I used to think that you could trust everybody on the internet to be exactly what they said they were, that illusion was shattered very quickly. But lots of writers, particularly those born before the age of identity fraud, don't understand this. My advice to them is simply: learn what you can from blogs, but don't ever assume you know the people writing them.

     
  • At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Samuel L. Bronkowitz said…

    You are an idiot. Saying "and published authors could care less" makes no sense. If someone could care less, then they obviously have some level of caring.

     
  • At 2:32 PM, Anonymous pabrown said…

    You appear to be suggesting that 'most' reputable agents charge fees before they have sold an author's book. The AAR (Association of Authors' Representative, in case you aren't familiar with it)has a canon of ethics (a system of accepted beliefs which control behaviour, especially such a system based on morals - Cambridge Online Dictionary) which prohibits their members from charging upfront money.

    Have a look yourself in case you don't believe me.

    http://www.aar-online.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=10337

     
  • At 9:01 AM, Anonymous pabrown said…

    Actually I read blogs for fun, which is why I rarely read Sammy's. The guy's a silly twit who can't seem to make a point without cursing and belittling people - hardly the signs of an intelligent, thoughtful person. I read Miss Snark because she's funny as hell. I read Evil Editor for the same reason. I have no need of an agent or a publisher, since I have both.

     
  • At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow. Even the name of your blog is a lie. A "Gent's" Outlook? There's nothing gentlemanly about you. I thank you for one very important lesson, however. I will never, EVER be desperate enough to employ you as my agent. By your post, you are CLEARLY all about YOUR best interests and not your clients. I believe the first comment said it best: You're a horse's ass.

     

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