Top Ten Reasons Miss Snark Loves You

A dear Snarkling queries:

OK, Miss Snark. What kinds of things do you think an agent looks for in a potential client? Besides good writing. I'm referring to people who perhaps already have a book out in the universe.
A go-getter? Someone willing to do signings, and read fan mail, and update their website periodically? Someone elusive, mysterious, a hermit?
Both types of authors exist - which do YOU prefer?

10. A client who understands that "willing" is not the right word for "publicity". The correct phrase is "understands the value of and knows it's a requirement. " I get query letters from people every day of the week that say "of course I'd be willing to be on Oprah" to promote the book. Ya, who wouldn't (ok..Mr Twelve Hawks but he's just weird). It's the 2am phone in radio shows in Fargo North Dakota that separate the troupers from the amateurs.

9. Someone with a good established content rich website that draws a lot of people and who updates it regularly.

8. Someone with a sense of humor about this crazy world and is willing to laugh first when books don't arrive in Fargo for the booksigning...and scream second.

7. Someone who thanks me in their book. I was crushed to the core when one of the first novels I sold didn't have me in the acknowledgement pages. Everyone else was there...no Snark.
It did color how I felt about the author. It made me feel he had no clue what I'd done for him.

6. Someone who answers their emails, and phone calls right away. Who lets me know when they are out of the country/ preparing to give birth/moving to Mars.

5. Someone who takes criticism without screaming too loud. Criticism sux. No two ways about it but it's part of the game. I hate being told my prose is less than sterling, I know my authors do too. But...there's the gap between what they think (Miss Snark is sack of horse apples) and what they say ("thanks, let me think about this and get back to you:).

4. Someone who understands I am not their friend. I'm a professional colleague. As such, do not invite me to the beach house for the weekend. Weddings, christenings, Nobel Prize in Literature ceremonies, you bet. Nothing that involves Miss Snark wearing her bunny slippers.

3. An absolute ability to not panic. Things go wrong all the time, every day of the week. Controlled chaos is part of the game. The ability to standfast when everyone is screaming the sky is falling is a quality I cherish.

2. Civility. Civility. Civility. When the chips are down, it's a whole lot easier to pick up the pieces for someone who hasn't just called you six versions of unforgettable when a book deal goes sour.

And the Number One reason Miss Snark loves you is:

1. You write well. Again. And again, and again. It is one of the greatest joys of my life to see what my clients create. Some of them have work that moves me beyond words. That I get to help them bring this project to the attention of other lucky readers is a blessing for which I am grateful every day of my life. I am truly truly lucky to have work that I love, colleagues I respect ... and Snarklings I adore.


Anonymous said...

I wish you agented my genre.

Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!Eight out of ten isn't bad. Sometimes I tend to panic (like, it's three months til release, WHY aren't the review copies out??? I have a list of people waiting for them!) and sometimes I know I can be less than civil - especially on a particularly bad PMS day. Yeah, Tom Cruise, women get PMS. Jerk.

The rest of the stuff - easy cheesy. I thank everyone, all the time. Too bad I can't find an agent. LOL

Anonymous said...

LOL Anonymous beat me to it - I almost added that.

Anonymous said...

Referencing number 10:
Is 17 years of media relations experience worth mentioning in a query letter for a novel? The book does not focus on the profession.

Miss Snark said...

Media relations is such a catch all phrase. What did you do? Be specific. If what you did was write press releases for the fruit fly industry, it's not as compelling a qualification as PR flak for Enron who had to think fast on your feet AND dodge the handcuffs. And if you were Oprah's spokesperson...ya, I'd mention that. In fact, I'd lead with that. Hell, I'd bold font that on the envelope containing the query letter.

Anonymous said...

We're doomed.
One more thing to add to an already crowded query letter. Promise to sell one's first born on e-bay...

Travis said...

When did Miss Snark tell us what she represents? I thought I'd memorized every word on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, mysteries and crime fiction,

Anonymous said...

That moving and eloquent statement at the last of the list should make any writer go back over the novel or the book proposal once again and make it the very best, honest, and most compelling copy it can possibly be. So what if it's the seventh version? Some agent, perhaps, is going to love it, and if the gods are with us, be able to sell it.

You are one cool agent, Miss Snark, and you stand for a lot of them I think.

Anonymous said...

I think Miss Snark reps "literary fiction". Just the impression I got. I said she doesn't rep my genre, b/c hardly anyone reps children's fantasy, and I know who they all are.