9.21.2005

The Perfect 10

My mailbox was all atwitter this afternoon with a devotion of snarklings commenting on the post over at Agent 007



Unlike some bloggers, I cannot churn this out every day, and since my first duty is to my authors, that will never change. But it may get even more sporadic in the coming weeks. I write when the inspiration hits, and right now, nothing is hitting me. I am simply too preoccupied.
In the meantime, maybe you want to check out Miss Snark. I only agree with about 10 percent of what she says (and if I were looking for an agent, I might avoid women altogether just to guarantee I woud not end up with her), but she posts several times a day and seems to have plenty of time to answer questions.


Gee. 10%. That's like...six percent less than the percentage of votes President Bush got in New York City. 10% is so off the Bell curve, I might as well resign myself to being two dimensional instead of three.

Yanno, I’ve always wanted to be a 10 ... but I don’t think this was what I had in mind.

The post got me to wondering why she feels so strongly about someone she doesn't know, and who has certainly never felt the need to take a pot shot at her.

I thought the best place to look for answers might be her blog. I spent a bit of time delving into her archives.

Turns out Agent 007 had A Purpose in starting and maintaining her blog.

She wrote on August 27: (for the full text click here)


Why am I doing this?

Okay, I’d be lying if I said I had no ulterior motives. I’d be lying, too, if I said that I started the blog on a whim—without purpose whatsoever.

A few times, I’ve brought up that I had this crazy idea that we—agents and editors—could do our jobs better if we understood each other.

I’ve spent a lot of lunches, drinks dates, dinners, phone chats, and emails telling editors and other agents about the inside scoop and trying to effect change. Not too efficient. There are still a lot of agents out there making hard work for editors. And a lot of editors out there who treat agents (and authors) like the secret enemy.



It sounds to me like 00 wanted her blog to be serious, read seriously, taken seriously, and a vehicle for the improvement of all mankind...or at least publishing. Her posts reflected that. They were long, detailed, well reasoned, carefully thought out.

Then along comes Miss Snark: loud, profane, absolutely irreverent, acerbic, snarky, fast, short and worst of all...frequent. I can see where this blog would drive her crazy...if those kinds of things mattered.

This reminds me a bit of when I had a new young dog who wanted to play play play. She'd chase her tail, she'd bite the rug, she'd pester the older dog to be more fun....until the old bitch just snapped and bit the pesterpup on the ear.


This blog is my idea of fun. I like doing it. I post a lot cause it's fun. If you don't like the blog, don't read it. If you think it's a travesty and should be banned from the face of the earth, get a grip. If you think I should be doing something else with my time, why do you even care?

The funny thing I'd always kinda liked ol' 00. I certainly read her blog periodically and appreciated her insights into this industry--but what the hell do I know, a ten like me.

00 closed her post about Her Mission with this:


It’s time we wake up and stop being so adversarial, so suspicious of generosity, so hesitant to be human with each other. It’s time to be the best versions of ourselves.


I quite agree Agent 007---but then what do I know? I'm just a perfect ten.

29 comments:

Brady Westwater said...

Two words.

Epistolary novel.

Ric said...

See what happens when we all just try to get along?

Personally, I think both sites serve a purpose. We get 007 who purports to have been an editor giving us a side Miss Snark can't. We get Miss Snark showing us how to best get to the elusive editors.

We have the best of both worlds. Now, all we have to do is keep them from lobbing gin pails and striking each other with stilleto heels.

ps. the least she could have done was say 15%.

Agent 007 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TillyLost said...

I haven't a clue how good an agent Miss Snark is. But right here, on this blog, she is helping writers. Both blogs are great resources, but humour combined with practical information and advice does a lot to reduce the terrifying mystique the world of publishing holds for me. For that I'm truly grateful.
With all the craptastic nonsense on the net about publishing, I don't think we can have too many sources like these blogs.

Deran Ludd said...

Well, Moss Snark, I have to say I think you have for some reason gotten to 007. Personally, I read your blog everyday, and even as a published novelist I find it insighful and interesting. Not to mention a hoot and a half. I also read 007 when they post. Very useful stuff there too. Perhaps 007 is irked because they take it all so very seriously, and you do too, but with a bit more penace and humor...not to mention G&T. It's all good to me. Carry on.

Bernita said...

Miss Snark, you have class.
And you are never pompous.

kitty said...

My heart sank when I first read 007's post. I chalked it up to her having a bad day and told her that we'd be waiting when she posted again.

Both blogs are great. I'm certain that many of us here read 007 as well. I don't see them as in competition at all. However, 007 seems to feel that way.

I was pleased when I read her comment above ... until she wrote this: "You believe in beating down authors. You don't work for them. Remember? You can't be bothered to explain the way publishing works, or have lunch, or update them on the status of a submission."

Obviously, she doesn't read this blog enough to know that Miss Snark is snarky HERE but not with her writers.

Now it sounds like 007 has gotten defensive, and, again, I'm really sorry. Something must be going on in her life which we don't know about, so I'm still chalking this up to a bad time for her.

Bernita said...

Am still shaking my head over the suggestion that perhaps writers avoid all female agents to remove the chance that they might end up with Miss Snark...but what about the purported agent who posts in A Gent's Outlook?

Pam G said...

I've been pursuing publication for five years now, and in that time I have done my research. I know a crapload about the publishing industry. I can't pick up a book on the subject without putting it back down with a sigh because I already know everything the author is telling me.

After two months with Miss Snark, I now know that while I had a headful of information (use Courier, no pretty file folders, don't send romance to a sci-fi expert, BE PATIENT...) I didn't know squat. Today, I feel like I know a fair amount of squat, and I have Miss Snark to thank for it.

And that's all I'm gonna say.

kitty said...

Agent 007 has had second thoughts as she has revised her post and has turned off the comments.

Anne said...

"I cannot churn this out every day, and since my first duty is to my authors..." Snark, snark. "She posts several times a day and seems to have plenty of time to answer questions." C'mon, who's the bitchy one here? This whole thing of she's-sweet-and-you're-not is such horsecrap.

I hate it when people can't recognize tough love. Which you dish out pretty good.

And I HATE the assumption that anyone who engages in extracurricular activities is not doing their job. HATE IT.

Which begs a question, do your clients know you are Miss Snark? How do they feel about it? Has anyone threatened to fire you for blogging, when you should be "working?"

Kristin said...

Miss Snark, you are the Simon Cowell of the agent-blogging world. Maybe some people hate you, but I think most people with common sense know honesty when they read it. I've learned a lot from your site. Bring on the tough love!

Bonnie, Of the Multitude of Snarklings said...

What the Blogger commenting system refused to swallow last night: I found 007 through Miss Snark, and I enjoy the two perspectives.

I think Agent 007 misunderstood several things about Miss Snark, the most important being: 1) Miss Snark never solicits clients through her blog, 2) she frequently discourages readers who try to query her (because they don't know anything about her), and 2) Miss Snark isn't using this blog to seek referrals from other agents.

If Agent 007 had realized this, I doubt she would've made the post in question or the subsequent comment here.

Now let's see if Blogger will take my comment this morning!

Miss Snark said...

who's Simon Cowell?

Breathe said...

I think she has a thing for you. It's like second grade all over again.

TillyLost said...

I'm wondering if Miss Snark and 007 know who each other are? If not, could they be working at the same agency? That would be funny.

Mary Louisa said...

Miss Snark, do you have dachshunds perchance? It seems like every literary agent in NYC walks tiny, sweater-wearing weiner dogs! (I have no room to speak, though, since I walk rats on stilts masquerading as Italian Greyhounds.)

Mary Louisa said...

I meant wiener. I've just been reading about Jennifer Weiner's new book, Goodnight Nobody and thus befuddled my speller.

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark's junk yard poodle is named Killer Yap. No sweaters, he's much too heterosexual. He wears a Knicks jersey of course....and a backwards baseball cap. His bling is a tasteful diamond studded front tooth and he has a pierced eyebrow. We finally got him to stop smoking Camel straights but he's still a regular down at the Dogpile Bar Scratch and Sniff.

kitty said...

My husband has 3 well trained German Shepherd dogs with German names. They wear nothing but snarls and they can understand German.

Bernita said...

In My Family and Other Animals, the dogs are named Widdle and Puke.

Miss Snark said...

Kitty, can I borrow those guys for the Frankfurt Book Fair next month? I could use a staff of German speakers who are tough negotiators.

BPM Smith said...

Meow! 007 was declawed before this cat fight even started. Oh well, guess that's what happens after having a martini glass shattered on your head. A drunk midget in the Upper West Side said 007 came up with that 10% thing after drinking crap Gibson gin and tonics.

kitty said...

They're my husband's dogs, so be my guest ;)

Another Author said...

Okay, I read 007 and find her posts interesting, particularly as a former editor-turned-agent. I like the personal stories.

However, I agree with you, Miss Snark, far more than 10% of the time and notice, with a few minor exceptions, that you and my agent are very similar in your approach to things. 007 might think you're not all that, but considering my near-Miss Snark agent sold me to a major house for far more money than I was told I would make on a first novel, I'm inclined to think you're a perfect 10 in the best sense.

But I want to sell good books with interesting stories and real characters that entertain people--that are (gasp) commercial--not a literary masterpiece that I need to think about and come to some grand epiphany about the human condition or my small place in the world.

I don't drink gin (I prefer margaritas, though tequila shots can be fun, too . . .) but I'll drink a vodka martini to Miss Snark tonight.

E. Dashwood said...

" In My Family and Other Animals, the dogs are named Widdle and Puke."

Funny you should say that, my kids and I just gave our dog cred with a street name of Puke Doggy Dog.

Bernita said...

"Puke Doggy Dog"? I like that.
That's funny and cute.
We once had a walking soccer ball of a cat my innocent children named "Puss" - but it was MY job to stand on the stoop in the gloaming and call "Puss,here Pussy, Pussy..."

Miss Snark said...

"walking soccer ball of a cat"!! What a GREAT line.

I always wondered who that lovelorn lady was calling out for Pussy. Now I know.

Bernita said...

Thank you.
And then we moved to Puckerbum, Surburbia.
~sigh~
The cat came with us.