Do Not Pass Go...go directly to Slushies

Wonders a Snarkling:

(Comments about Miss Snark's early am snarkieness deleted)
Rumor has it that some scammers and/or well intentioned agents are redflagged at most publishing houses. As soon as the package arrives with certain return addresses, it is immediately shuffled over to the slush pile. I can understand the concept because I had an agent offer to represent me but I had to pay the $9 for every copy he sent out to NYC. (little research revealed the above information)Of course, we know Miss Snark has repeatedly said she calls the editor first and her mss. are always expected and welcomed.Just curious as to how prevelent is the concept of editor rolling eyes towards the gin bottle when packages arrive with certain zip codes on them?

That's a good question for Agent 007. I do know early in my career, despite only sending manuscripts that were requested, and having personal conversations ahead of time, the response time was...shall we say...numbered in weeks rather than days.

That ended pretty abruptly when I started calling editors to tell them they could discard the ms because I'd sold it elsewhere. They got used to knowing that my stuff would, and did sell.

But, I don't know if there's a list of "bad addresses". I've certainly never heard an editor say that..but I"ve never asked.

In the olden days, I know talk radio producers had lists over the phone of people who couldn't get on the call in line for love or money.

And did that agent charge you less if s/he sent the manuscript someplace other than NYC? Sheesh.


Ric said...

I did not send the ms to that agent. Here is the email he sent me:
I read your query and brief synopsis with much interest. I would like to see the entire manuscript, but first a few things about our agency. WE DO NOT charge editing or reading fees, but in the event of representation, we DO expct the author to absorb the postage and copying costs of submissions to publishers. Average cost per 100 page submissions is $8.75, billed to the client as they are sent out. If this is acceptable, please reply before sending your manuscript to

checked this guy out - Preditors and Editors, Absolute Write, etc. That's where I came across the comment about reflagging.

The telling part of Miss Snark's comments is - Once I started calling them telling them the project was sold, they...

WHich goes back to her earlier comment - WHAT HAVE YOU SOLD?

gee, isn't that the same problem we have? WHat have you published? Gets you to the head of the line.

Thanks for that little bit of insight. More helpful than you can imagine.

Christine said...

I've wondered about that. Now that I have one book being published, do the odds of being looked at by an agent as something other than roadkill go up? I suppose they do, but what other things do they look at? Besides query, etc... do they ask for sales numbers, or what? My current publisher has right of first refusal, like most people. I like where I'm at, just wondering if Miss Snark opens queries and immediately looks for publishing credits? Does she have a sorting system of some type - look them over, and put them in a "read these first" pile - or does she merely open letters and read them as they come?
Purely for my own edification.

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark is in a fair tizzy this morning.
She dislikes, INTENSELY dislikes, publishers who seem to think they are doing authors a favor by just doing their damn jobs. (which doesn't pertain to a post just my general foul state of mind)

That said, authors who aren't published aren't road kill. Deer in the headlights on the way to road kill maybe, but there's the intermediate step of my eyeballs hitting their query.

I don't sort queries.

They arrive.
They are stacked on my desk (next to the gin pail, lorgnette and SneerCream for Lips)

I open them.
I read each one.
I send a rejection letter to almost all of them.
I don't remember a damn thing about most of them after sealing the envelope with freshly sneerbalmed lips.

Anonymous said...

LOL. OK then. Having done proofreading for people seeking publication, I can completely understand. Some of them are just...yeah.

Here's something else - when do you think a writer should GET an agent? With their first book, after they get one book published with a small publisher, or have a long list of magazine/anthology/article/whatever publishing credits?

Do you think, with some genres, that writers don't really need an agent. I know that sounds stupid, of course writers need agents, or how would agents get paid? But it's an honest question.

Anonymous said...

As an editor, I can't say that any agented submissions go in the slush pile. There's maybe one or two that I will factor in how much of a hassle they are to work with. But if I really love a project, I'm willing to take it on anyway.

Miss Snark said...

I'd be interested in your perspective as an editor in what makes an agent a hassle to work with. 'Tough', 'no nonsense', Miss Snark embraces those adjectives like lovers to her bosom. However, "a hassle" is not so embraceable.

What gets an agent on the "ick" list?

Anonymous said...

Well, there's a wide scope.

I can't say I love getting submissions from those agents with unreasonable expectations. I know that I'm going to make a small and reasonable offer, and that they're going to laugh at me. Then a few weeks later when no one has given them something better, they always come back....

But the ones I truly dislike play the little agent tricks, like changing World rights to US/Can or how a payment is split up. Don't they think I'll notice?

And the one's who threaten to pull a book over every little detail. Those aren't fun either. I'm all for agents fighting for their author's, but are you really going to kill the deal over our percentage of braille sublicenses!?!?

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,

What's your opinion of first novel contests? I'm thinking specifically of big name ones, like the annual Delacorte PBFYR first YA novel contest. I've read that winning a thing like that "launches careers." Yet if you win, it seems you're locked into a pre-written, generalized contract, something (as far as I understand) you legally agree to by virtue of entering. True? And is this a good way to start a career?

If a writer who has won something like that approaches an agent, what if anything does/can/would that agent do? Would the agent still get 15%? Can the agent make any changes to the publishing contract? Any other tidbits you may have about these types of things?

I know you might not have the answers to these questions but thanks for providing the forum for us, including baby authors like me, to ask things at all. It's a hoot besides.


Travis said...


If it looks like a scam and quacks like a scam, well, you know. . . . Here's what I found on Google: