The 10am nitwit

I'm reading the slush pile.

Dear Miss Snark, I am a published author. My novel Killer Yapp Does the Macarena won two awards in 2005.

Well, this is good news! A prize winning novelist in my slush pile.
What does Miss Snark rush to do?
Phone the author with a quivering offer in hand?
Race to the author's home town to sign her up before any other eagle eyed agents read their slush piles?


Miss Snark turns to her trusty flat screen computer which she loves really more passionately than she should, and calls on the elves to fire up the search engines.

Amazon..no hits.
Google..no hits.

Click on author's webpage which she has foolishly given me: ah, there it is. No publisher listed.

Snarklings, this is before I've even read the five pages this author enclosed.

Don't try to be cute. If you have credentials, list them. Don't say "it's published" if you don't list a publisher. I'll think it's POD. Don't say it won prizes if it came in first in the local chamber of commerce writing contest.

It makes you look like a nitwit. It annoys me. And it really chaps Killer Yapp's delicate pink snout that Killer Yapp Does The Macarena isn't going to win the Pulitzer next year.


Kat said...

There's actually a nitwit out there who advises up-and-coming authors to do this in his cover letter tips. Teresa Nielson-Hayden had a pretty good snark about what bad, bad advice this was. The author, in a mature, reasoned response to her criticism... moved his webpage. (I believe he also threatened her with legal action, but I stopped following the flame war after a while.)

Bad enough that there's people out there who think this is a good idea. Worse that there's idiots encouraging them.

Rick said...

kat --

Wow. The strangest thing is someone suggesting this nowadays. Ten years ago, Miss Snark couldn't altavista or hotbot a book title with much confidence that it would show up in search results, even if published by a legit house. The Web just didn't have much coverage back then. But now? The mind boggles.

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

Apart from absolute honesty, then, what does interest you on an unpublished fiction author's website? Do you always check out the websites (if they have them) of authors you're considering offering representation to? What kind of information do you (or an editor) like to see there? Blurbs of completed works? A hint of personality so that you can guess whether or not they'd be hell on wheels to work with? Their preference of gin brand?

harridan said...


I assume said author believed that just because Miss Snark does not accept email queries, she hence, has no concept of how to use a search engine.

Either that, or said author 1) believed Miss Snark wouldn't bother to check, or 2) isn't internet savvy his/herself, so never even considered what a Google/Amazon search would or would not reveal.

Ah well, it's a good lesson in disclosure.

Anonymous said...

I feel that same passion for my flat screen laptop, my flat screen phone, and my flat screen TV. I first truly experienced techno-lust with the arrival of LCD.

Bernita said...

The last time I googled myself I found that I had died - twice as a matter of fact.I didn't mind the "age 92" so much, though.
My momma was Emma Lou and I had a highway named after me...

BorderMoon said...

I beg leave to request, beseach, and implore the Divine Miss Snark (whose Parkeresque prose delights my days)to not use "POD" to mean "vanity press". POD is merely Print On Demand, a technology that enables a company to produce one book at a time if someone desires it. Like all technology, POD is a good servant, but a bad master. But I do hate to see a mere technology being tarred with the stigma of automatically being also a "vanity press" (perhaps we can call them VPs?).

Look what happened when three perfectly useful words that meant different things -- android, cyborg, robot -- became smushed together so that instead of three words meaning three different things we have three words that mean the same thing. (Oh, dear, I believe I'm about to begin babbling here; I shall sign off and return home to my waiting martini.) (For those who are unacquainted with the delights of the martini, it is a mixture of two parts gin and one part vermouth. Olives are, in my opinion, optional. The martini can be mixed in large quantitites in advance and kept in a glass bottle the freezer. Pour as needed.)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I had a prospective agent check my amazon listing once, only to find no books there. She turned around and told me I'd lied. Well, I didn't. As it happens, there are other countries in the world people publish books in. Like Australia! Needless to say, I went with another agent.