7.04.2005

How much?

Culled from The Slush Pile that Ate Cleveland:

"I am seeking representation for....yadda yadda yadda
...a 365 page (single spaced)..."

Holy Verbosity, Batman!

First. it's word count that matters. In fact, it's pretty
much ALL that matters unless you are working in the
graphic novel format.

Second. don't ever, and I mean EVER send an agent
a manuscript that is single spaced.

One of two things will happen if you do:
1. You'll get an automatic rejection letter that might even say your
work was read carefully. It wasn't. It was discarded unread.
It's simply physically impossible to read single spaced text...so
we don't.

2. You'll get an automatic rejection letter that says "this
is not quite right for us" because we're not sure
exactly what it is, but we know we don't want to
read it.

Word count.
Not page count.
No single spacing.

Don't get whistled out of the game on fouls before you
have a chance to show off your best moves.

7 comments:

ScaramoucheX said...

Y'know,Snark, I read in your voice cynicism and snobbery, arrogance and condescension...and yet, with entries like this, I can also see compassion. I read and appreciate what you have to say. I'm just fooling about as a writer right now, can write inspired but have not yet accepted that I have to do second drafts...anyway,thanks for your efforts on this blog. I learn from you...

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark replies:
Second draft?
oh dear.
Try 15.
or 20.
and that's before you send it to me the first time.
Then there are usually two more.

How many girls did you kiss before you knew
what you were doing? How long did it take
you to conjugate irregular French verbs?

The first effort is raw meat. Get cooking baby.

ScaramoucheX said...

Mme. Snarque...your generous on-line tutelage has inspired me to keep it real...last night I ordered 'Writer's Market On-Line'. When I have completed my 15-20 drafts, and am ready to do a couple more...you shall hear of me!

Capitola said...

Girl, please.

Query letter advice? What's next, an essay on Currier 12 vs. Ariel 10? The definition of SASE?

A grain of salt: If you're going to blog about your fancy, do it like you mean it. Give your readers who know a hook when they see one some red meat to chew on, like who got tanked at Sewanee and barfed all over Rebel's Rest, or hint at who slept with whom at Bed Loaf -- high-fives if the duo's married but not to each other; stories about being accosted at conferences by over-eager newbies are always entertaining, (except the 'manuscript under the bathroom door' schtick -- that's *so* pre iUniverse)

Welcome to the blogosphere.

Miss Snark said...

Gee thanks...I think.
I don't go to writers colonies like Sewanee and Breadloaf. I go to writing conferences. I hate them.
I have no idea who slept with whom. I only know Brad Pitt is not sleeping with me, and he's a poorer man for it.

And just fyi, if everyone already knew all this stuff about query letters, how come Im still getting all the mistakes I'm blogging about? You may be savvy as bee spit, but you also may be Brad Pitt.

Miss Snark said...

I should make the distinction between conferences that are focused on writing, and conferences that are focused on selling.

Conferences, workshops and writers colonies, like Sewanee and Breadloaf are focused on the art and craft of writing. The instructors are all writers. Nary an agent in the bunch.

Other conferences like Rocky Mountain Ficiton Writers have writers AND agents.
That's how you can tell which is which.

Capitola said...

You're welcome...certainly. I hate writing conferences too. No, I'm not savvy as bee spit, flatterer, and I'm not Brad Pitt, but I'll do ya a favor should I ever see him and give him your url.

You wonder why you're still getting asked about query letters, format, word count, fonts, and no doubt are receiving bound manuscripts, safely ensconced in ten yards of bubblewrap, placed inside a box that's inside a bigger box that's secured with so much packing-tape it's verily impossible to open and you don't want to anyway because the return-receipt requiring your signature has angered you, but you have to to get the SASE they didn't include to send out the rejection slip?

I'm guessing here, but your agency is probably listed in PM.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just sayin'.

Take care.