"look ma, I did it all by myself"

I'm going to skip right over the part about how this arrived in my email inbox when I specifically tell people our agency doesn't handle e-queries, and move right to the good stuff...

subject line: this might interest you

text: after being rejected by a million agents, ~Fido Fleckstein~ has published his novel online and you can go read it here: ~www.Fleckstine.com~

Let's deconstruct this.
The work you think is fabulous has been rejected by what looks to be the entire known universe. This does not bode well for me liking it either.
Yes, I like weird and avant garde things.
Yes I love what they publish at Softskull and
what they publish at Akashic

but so do a lot of other agents. I'm not enticed at all with this "clever" plan to persuade
me that this is an overlooked gem.

Second, I rarely go looking for new writers on the web.
Mostly cause there's so much dreck out there it's a
MUCH more efficient use of my time to read a literary magazine like

or any of the other things you can pick up at any good indie bookstore.

Third, you sent me an email (despite the fact we don't do e-queries)
and it was a blind carbon copy without a single hint you knew a damn thing about me,
or the agency. That identifies you almost instantly as a person who knows nothing about publishing. As an agent, it becomes my thankless, frustrating and largely UNPAID job
then to coach you about the industry if I were to take you on.

Given a choice between someone who's clearly done some sort of reading about the
business side of the industry and
some nitwit who knows he's an undiscovered James Joyce,
I'm going to pick Side A every time.
And every agent I know is too.

We like to spend our
time selling your work, not teaching you about the industry.

Now, go read something good.
Start with Writers Market.


Anonymous said...

Hey Miss Snark, your blog is too funny (and sometimes sad) for words. But be that as it may, are there any web-based zines that you've come across and found them to have good quality writing? Personally, I like stuff like Plots With Guns and Shred of Evidence...but that's me, what do I know.

Anyways, aside from all that..I'm am aspiring writer who's had stuff published in webzines...and if I can learn how not to come across as a moron in a query letter (after I learn the craft, of course)then I've gotten something from Miss Snark's blog aside from some goofs.



Stijn Hommes said...

subject line: this might interest you

text: after being rejected by a million agents, ~Fido Fleckstein~ has published his novel online and you can go read it here: ~www.Fleckstine.com~

Some further deconstruction:
1) Spammy title. Unless Miss Snark signed up to be on your mailing list this is not done.
2) I hate marketing hyperboles. You didn't submit to a million agents and if you did, I'm positive they rejected you for not following the guidelines or simply for having a crappy book to begin with. You should've considered rewriting after receiving the first 10 rejections.
3) There's times being published online is something to be proud about. Being published on your own website after being rejected by paying markets isn't one of them. And it's really "made available", being published either requires the involvement of an editor or some work on your part to get self-published by either paying money or doing it yourself.
4) Learn about marketing and start thinking about your target audience instead of sending out spam. Spam is illegal.