A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Friday, August 04, 2006

And Now, For the Rest of the Story…

People keep asking me why I keep mentioning Snark and her group of wannabe wannabes (and in case you don’t know of whom I speak, dear wannabes, check out her site for her incestuous publishing family tree). No, I don't need the attention, thank you. I'm sure my fans would continue to send death threats whether I mention Snark or not.

There's one reason mainly, and here it is: I don’t intend to let anyone forget for one minute that the people in this business who say they are helping writers and say that they care about writers are usually the biggest scammers in the universe. Perhaps I am wrong; however, every time I mention Snark or her watchpuppy or editor buddies (I am dropping clues here, by the way), it is a reminder that if any of them use their ill-gotten celebrity to get a book deal (or in some cases, ANOTHER book deal), they will, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, have a whole lot of ‘splainin to do. And that would be to you, wannabes.

Of course, some writers will never figure it out, and will continue to drool at the foot of their crumbling pedestals. But others will realize that all along they have been the victims of the biggest scam of all, and the prize isn’t money—although indirectly it is—but celebrity and the power it brings. I never trust people who say they are there to “help” people who should be able to help themselves. If a watchpuppy, for example, turned in his leash and collar and decided to help writers with no arms by typing for them, fine, that’s altruistic. However, when people tell writers things they should already know if they were actually qualified to write professionally, or when people tell writers that which should be COMMON SENSE in any business endeavor, then that’s solicitous bullshit, and the next thing to come out of that bull is usually a book.

Now, why should you care? Because the biggest bitch writers have is that they can’t break in to the field. There’s only so much room, and guess who’s taking up the slots that should be reserved for the .0000001% of the wannabe population that might actually have talent? That’s right—editors, other writers who promote themselves through “helping” writers, agents, established writers, watchdogs, forum gurus, bloggers, etc. I can’t tell you how many editors I know who have written fiction and nonfiction—just look it up, wannabes, the facts are there—and how many writers’ advocates make a living off of…WANNABE WRITERS!!

Now most of the editors and agents I can say deserve the opportunity. They went to school, worked their way up the ranks in mostly shitty jobs, that kind of thing. Probably blew a few marketing guys on the way up, too. I can even say that journalists deserve a shot at the big time, too, because at least they decided they wanted to write early enough that they went to school for it, and no matter what anyone told them, they put themselves through school and earned shitty pay for years until their big break came along (and for some, it hasn't and never will). But people who just set themselves up to build up an audience by getting writers to believe that their own motivation is noble make my balls ache.

The truth is, and I said this last year when I started this blog (happy anniversary to me!), that the reason wannabe writers can’t get “in” is because they should have started out wanting “in” and working toward that goal from the gitgo. If you just decided at mid-life that you wanted to write something because the muse bit your ass, but you don’t want to invest any time or money in following the path it takes to become a professional writer (the long arduous path), then you are a wannabe who will probably end up worshipping at the feet of those who are stepping on you on their way to the top.

Have a nice fucking day!



  • At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why can't more people just tell it like it is and stop with the sugarcoating bullshit?

  • At 11:09 AM, Blogger AnimeJune said…

    Dear Sammy,

    Er, wow. Lot of rage. Ever think those watchdogs and editors are helping the other writers out of professional courtesy?

    You kind of remind me of the people who believe that no one does anything charitable without some selfish reason in mind.

    From this post, it seems to me that you believe the only people who deserve to be published are those who've decided to be a writer since the first time they picked up a pencil. And that people who pick up the writing bug later on are johnny-come-latelies who've missed the literary-gravy-train by about twenty years.

    Ms Snark is already a successful agent, before she started her blog. Ditto sci-fi writers Victoria Strauss and A.C. Crispin.

    The general attitude expressed in your post seems the equivalent of not teaching illiterate adults to read, because if they were the type of people who truly enjoyed reading and would properly understand literary works of genius, they would have learned to read on their own.

  • At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Apparently, AJ, you don't get Sammy. You're just like the rest of the "anyone can be published" crowd. He very plainly states that his beef is with lazy writers looking for the easy way to the top. I'm an editor who's seen quite enough of writers who want my publishing house to invest thousands of dollars plus valuable manpower in their work, which is usually substandard. I know what you are going to say, and don't--no, your work is probably not the greatest thing since sliced bread. Every writer thinks that, like every new parent thinks his kid is the smartest and best looking, and like every prisoner claims he's not guilty.
    I ask you, what if we did invest all that time and money and your book failed? What am I supposed to do? Feel good because I tried to get great literature out to the masses by giving some writer a break who never invested a moment on his own behalf? Give me a break, lady! Writers are some of the most selfish people I have ever met.

    Also, who says Snark is/was a successful agent before she started her blog? Snark? Success in this business is relative at best, and I agree with Sammy, people who are successful writers/agents don't need to draw attention to themselves through other means. JB

  • At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    AnimeJune, what makes you so sure that Ms. Snark is a real agent? Do you have some insight or are you one of those who believes all the bullshit on AW?

    Also, I really didn’t recognize the other two successful writers mentioned in your comment until I looked them up. Yes, they have been successful in cranking out books, however in this business, success is not measured in how many titles you have published but in how many are bestsellers. Maybe I’m missing something, but my research shows none for either.

    What my investigation did note is that the two authors mentioned have very close alliances with a small writer’s organization and this does verify what ol’ Sammy has been saying all along—what is perceived to be generosity on the part of watch-puppies and others of that breed usually means achieving recognition through the back door. I’ll no say more. Those of even small intellect should be able to fill in the blanks.

  • At 11:17 AM, Blogger AnimeJune said…

    Jollybear12 - you're right, I should have read this blog more closely before making a post.

    I still like reading Miss Snark, and the Writer Beware blog, and I'm greatful for the advice they give. Frankly, I don't give a crap if they're doing it for recognition or not - words are wind, actions are stone. You say they're doing it for fame and celebrity, fine. But I see that the product of their supposed fame-mongering is a very well-written site that gives advice to authors who would otherwise be making all those selfish, idiotic mistakes that have SammyK and others going into apoplectic fits of rage.

    I agree that "just writing well" shouldn't be the only requirement for being a successful writer, or that holing oneself up in a shack in the mountains writing an epic and ignoring the real world is acceptable. Try giving that ridiculous "biography" of M. Night Shyamalan a read - why are his scripts still getting made into movies?

    I disagree with SammyK's opinions on the watchdogs. However, I agree with his ideas about lazy writers. I read the first post and made a knee-jerk "but they're HELPING" reaction. I can write a whole list of mistakes I would have been making if I hadn't read Miss Snark's and the Writer Beware blogs first. But reading the complaints made by editors, agents, and other writers was eye-opening (while at the same time very entertaining). While I continue to think that, whatever their supposed ulterior motives might be, Writer Beware and Snark are doing some good, I'm glad there's also someone who balances the scales with an argument for the other side.

    And no, I don't think my writing is the best thing since sliced bread - however, I do think it's pretty damn good or else I wouldn't be shopping it around. However, I do try to keep in mind that any revisions suggested to my writing are made in the book's best interests.

    Besides, I'm going to have to get used to rewriting at a superior's request if I want to be a successful screenwriter at some point, eh? ^_^

  • At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree with animejune.

    I LIKE Miss Snark's blog. I like Evil Editor's blog.

    They're entertaining. And interesting. And sometimes informative.

    It's a free country. You can piss and moan on your blog and criticize anybody you want: George II & company (on that one I agree). Angelina Jolie et al. (I doubt she'd have you). and yes, Miss Snark and company.

    Don't make it so.

  • At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The term wannabe writer baffles me. I've written a million words in the past few years, some of them good enough to sell, according to the people who bough them. But I wrote before I sold too... if I'm not a writer, what am I?

    I think you might mean wannabe AUTHOR, but the alliteration isn't as pretty. Of course, REAL writers, such as William Safire, know to "avoid all awkward or affected alliteration."

    God forbid I accidently submit to you...

  • At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you really believe writers are this disgusting lot of drooling incompetents, why not find a job that won't expose you to them?

    Or do you prefer your present gig and license to whine about the people who indirectly provide you with a living?

  • At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks like Sammy was right. Evil Editor is gearing up to publish a book based on his blog:


  • At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For some reason that link I just posted is hosed.

    Go to http://evileditor.blogspot.com/, and do a CTRL-F and find "Book Update."

    Under that post he lays out what's going on with the blog book.

  • At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    If you actually read what Sammy has to say, it's very clear that he doesn't hate writers, he hates WANNABE writers.

    How many different ways can he say it? It's one of the underlying themes of his blog--railing against those 40 year old soccer moms who open their imac one day and call themselves writers.

    Sammy doesn't consider writers who slave at their craft for years and approach it like a profession wannabes.

  • At 4:34 AM, Blogger Zappadong said…


    I'm one of these 40-something wannabe writer mums, who - when the children got older and she actually got more time to write - took up writing again, found herself an agent and has her first book published in early 2007, contracts for two more to come out in 2008 just signed with a big German publisher. And even worse!Some of my writer friends are 40 something wannabes, too, with books being pusblised.

    Ahhhh... the world is just not fair, is it?

    Writing Wannabe Mum


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