11.16.2005

Ah yes, Sammy boy

A Snarkling kvetches:

I wonder if you'll respond to Sammy's latest post. I'm very curious about who you are too, like if your many blog claims coincide with your realities (I'm often curious about people in this way, no matter what their professions may be). Will any of you supposed insiders ever reveal who you really are? Have any of you? I cannot stand the anonymity of the web sometimes.

You know how sometimes Bill O'Reilly can say things that actually make sense but you're so used to thinking he's a nitwit you initially discount it? That's kinda how I look at Sammy. He's said some pretty interesting things but the way he says it makes me want to pour a bucket of ice on his head. He's doing the putz persona really well.

He's also so busy yapping he's having a hard time reading what I actually said.

It's pretty clear we approach the business differently. That's ok. There's room for everyone. People who think Sammy is the cat's pajamas aren't a good fit for hanging out with Killer Yapp anyway.

Miss Snark is Miss Snark. She's not anyone else. If you keep fretting about "who" you'll miss the imporant stuff about "what" is happening here. Ask questions that will help you get published. Everything else is just a distraction.

22 comments:

kitty said...

My my my. I read through some of Sammy's stuff and I see he has some issues.

Kat said...

Hmm?

*goes and reads the other post*

THIS IS A LIE.

I do a lot of research on agents and have personally met two, and most of them have said, flat out, that they do not charge fees up front and fee-charging is in their opinion suspect.

I also personally know people who have been gypped out of sums ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars by fee-charging agents. Said agents, in all cases, either never placed the book, placed it with POD presses, or convinced the author to self-publish.

I know of one legitimate agent who is charging an up-front - that is, a fee before the ms is accepted for publication - fee to clients, and it is a strictly voluntary, if-you-want-your-submission-read-faster matter. Sketchy, but acceptable And, if I recall correctly, the fee is still less than fifty dollars.

Money flows towards the writer.

Please excuse my vehemence, but as I say, I know people who have gone through this heartbreaking nonsense and I don't want to see it happen to anyone here.

Bunneh said...

I take issue with Fran's post (in the gin thread) that led me to Sammy's blog -- the idea that Miss Snark should abandon her anonymity and tell everyone who she "really" is. Anonymity is rampant on the internet -- just about everyone has a "persona" (and some have two or three), and even if Miss Snark were to announce who she really is, she could, if she wished, be making that up as well. I enjoy Miss Snark's blog because she's Miss Snark: the blog is entertaining, witty, and informative. The "who" doesn't matter.

I also take issue with the idea that the Snarklings are here for "hand-holding." At no point in this blog did I see any questions from authors asking how to conquer writer's block, or how to construct a plot. A LOT of the questions deal with might-be shams and the questions of commercialism and marketability.

And Sammy's blog? Do not even get me started. My eyes rolled clear out of my head and across the room (of course, they were bleeding anyway, from all the PINK -- like a Pepto-Bismol bottle and Glinda the Good Witch got together and threw up all over the place). I'm not entirely sure the hooker analogy was the way to go, as it mostly infers that writers pay agents to screw them in sleazy motel rooms and alleyways, possibly leaving them with VD in the process.

Kat said...

Addendium: I posted this on the sammy blog, but as he holds all comments for screening I severely doubt it'll see the light of day. I do not think this person is an agent, legitimate or otherwise. He kindly provides us with his "real" name, but this name turns up no hits on Google. Real agents (and I've researched a few) turn up conference appearances, mentions by clients, and reams of listings on agent lists even if they don't have their own webpage. He is not listed on Publisher's Marketplace, Agent Query, Preditors and Editors, or even the dubious resource of everyonewhosanyone.com.

Either this person has not, despite his claims to the contrary, provided us with his "real" name, or he is not a real agent: he is a scam agent or a troll. Trust nothing he says. From what I read it's all drivel anyway, but judging by my research it's illegitimate drivel.

Bernita said...

Sammy's blog makes me wonder what juvenile fiction is coming to...

AzGhostWriter said...

I read some of Sammy's blog and was amazed that this person claims to be an agent. If an agent ever talked to me like that they'd be on the street. I agree that he's probably a frustrated writer who is trying to vent his anger on everyone for whatever reason.

Bottom line. The guy's a nut case.

the chocolatier said...

He may be an asshole, but he's also funny as hell. I like him because he hates chick lit and writes fearlessly. That being said, he can't hold a candle to Miss Snark.

AzGhostWriter said...

I can't say if he's any better or worse than Miss Snark, but I can say he has an attitude toward writers that isn't healthy.

I just can't imagine a real agent bad mouthing the hand that feeds him or her. I can understand a writers slant from his blog and that's why I think he's a nut case.

Personally, I wasn't offended by the language but how he keeps going on and on about how much writers really suck and they should all do themselves a favor by entering into a different profession.

P.S. This time those fuzzy letters spelt "farts". Is the moderator trying to tell me something?

Fran said...

"Ask questions that will help you get published."

--Omigod, Miss Snark-babe, you sound like you got some ego! If you mean that asking questions here will help me or whoever get published--come on now. Maybe you can pass that off to some others here, but I'm not that green. Knowing how to write, knowing how the industry works, knowing someone inside, having name recognition--all these things and more might--MIGHT--help someone get published. Asking questions might yield some answers, even some answers about those specific things, but who knows how valid those answers will be, especially to a specific individual's writing career path, and especially from an anonymous supposed insider's blog whose motivation in answering questions probably isn't clear?

"I also take issue with the idea that the Snarklings are here for "hand-holding." At no point in this blog did I see any questions from authors asking how to conquer writer's block, or how to construct a plot. A LOT of the questions deal with might-be shams and the questions of commercialism and marketability."

--Bunneh, that IS hand-holding too, IMO. Some of the questions here are so basic, they've been addressed ad nauseum in a host of writer-agent-publisher guides and in a host of websites put out by writers, agents and publishers who reveal who they actually are. Even if Miss Snark is a real agent (and to me she sounds like she probably is), do you think wasting her time on trivial stuff makes sense? People need to look up some shit themselves, they need to broaden their experiences and learn some stuff themselves. If some writers expect to land good agents and good deals by often appearing so naive, so clueless, so, well, lazy, I think they should think harder on the issue.

And, as for asking a totally anonymous person, who could also be a sham, about might-be shams...um, talk about strange reasoning.

Maybe it's just me, but I think the marketing aspect of writing should be the least important aspect for writers, especially for new writers. Learning how to write, knowing how to write, in other words, the crafting aspect of writing, that should be the most important aspect. Always. And IMO someone else can't really "teach" a writer that; the writer herself must teach herself how to write by actually sitting down and writing, by reading what other writers have written, by gaining life experiences worth writing about, etc. I'm sorry, I see lots of stars in eyes around here and around other insider sites too. My post in that gin thread was meant as a heads-up to other writers. If they choose not to raise their heads, well, there probably ain't much I can do about it.

I cannot stand the sexism at his blog, but I think a few things Sammy has said/implied are correct, like one thing about not trusting every bit of information out there and being wary of people who are too free with information, which is nothing I didn't know already because I'm a huge cynic. He also indicated agents are in competition with each other over the best writers, which I think is also true. Let me flip something around. I'm curious: would Miss Snark like it if a writer-client of hers contacted another agent to discuss/ask questions about something that had been going on between said writer and Miss Snark?

I consider the writer/agent partnership to be like
the attorney/client privilege thingie, though not nearly as "sacrosanct," especially when scamming's involved--in that case, any writer/agent trust has been broken and all promises are off. Still, there's a certain personal privacy between the two people in general. Some agents know what they're doing, and they need to be left alone for certain periods of time to get on with doing stuff in their own way. Of course that doesn't mean a writer should let her agent do whatever the hell the agent wants with her written work--a big NO. But if that writer doesn't trust the agent's expertise to a certain extent, why did she get involved with the agent in the first place?

I think the better agents usually map out individual strategies based around specific books. A writer's time would probably be better spent bringing up any specific issues she has with her specific agent WITH her specific agent, who knows that writer's SPECIFIC work and SPECIFIC work ethic, instead of bringing up those issues with some anonymous agent, which might actually somehow destroy the original agent's individualized strategy (either unintentionally, intentionally or maybe both), to the writer's detriment too. People often make this mistake in general in life: they discuss with Person B issues they have with Person A when they should discuss with Person A issues they have with Person A. If a writer has a problem with her agent, feels so moved to ask questions elsewhere, right there something's probably wrong with that writer/agent relationship. That should be obvious, at least to me it's obvious. And the first order of business in solving that problem would likely be that writer discussing her problem with that particular agent. If the writer brings up this stuff and doesn't like her agent's response at all, I think her next move should be pretty clear. If a writer can't communicate problems with her agent, and vice versa, how great can that relationship be?

Now I don't know if some of the my/an-agent-has-done-this questions Miss Snark has posted had other explanatory info attached, but, still, Miss Snark doesn't represent those question-askers (as far as I know); how the hell can she often be giving good-enough advice if she doesn't normally know their personal situations in detail? I don't think writers should rely on everything she (or anyone, including me) says, and with the groupieness here, it sounds to me as if too many are relying on Miss Snark's advice. I don't fully understand why she answers questions this way, how she would have the time, why she bothers taking the time. I think it's all a little weird, as I've said. But maybe that's partly because other agents don't normally do this, but, again, I think they probably don't normally do this partly because it's often a tactical mistake.

As I said in my other post, this stuff's my opinion--that's all. Feel free to ignore it, disagree with it, whatever. But I still feel the need to express it...well, I FELT the need to express it. I don't anymore. Think what you all like, do what you like. It ain't my business, it ain't my problem. I'm supposed to be taking a break from writing anyway--what a joke.

Fran said...

Ooops--that should be "ad nauseam" not "ad nauseum."

Fran said...

Ugghhhh. Let me rephrase one sentence or else that sentence sounds strawmanish: "if you mean that asking certain other questions here will help me or whoever get published--come on now." My original sentence sounded as if I were saying Miss Snark said that asking questions in general here will get you published.

I think Miss Snark seems to have meant/implied that asking other questions, questions I hadn't asked, will help me or whoever get published. But the rest of my comments on that stand. I call a big BOGUS on this. Sorry. Miss Snark, had you said COULD help you get published, I think that would have been better. You're not a god, babe, at least not to me. And I'm not a snarkling. I'm me. Fran. Thanks.

roach said...

Fran wrote, "Maybe it's just me, but I think the marketing aspect of writing should be the least important aspect for writers, especially for new writers. Learning how to write, knowing how to write, in other words, the crafting aspect of writing, that should be the most important aspect. Always."

Yes. But as soon as the writer decides to pursue publication said writer has to think about marketing. Writing is an art, publishing is a business.

Apropos to nothing, my verification word is "illlk."

AzGhostWriter said...

Well my verification word is woozey and that's about how I feel now. There is some truth to what Fran is saying, so don't discount it as meandering towards our Snarkness. My take on what Fran is telling writers isn't something new but nonetheless, it is refreshing to have another opinion.

Miss Snark said...

I haven't said anything here that hasn't been said someplace else. This is not the holy grail. I just say it with snappier snark quotes and savoir faire.

And MY word verification is "getoverit"

tremblor said...

Dear Miss Snark,

Thank you for spending some of your time with us. We greatly appreciate your answers, and the freshly-stropped wit with which they are given.
Once, someone told me there was no Santa Claus - but presents kept showing up under the tree.
I read your blog every day. Sometimes I learn something VERY useful, and sometimes we just laugh my ass off.
Anyways, we just thought you should know that I DO know who you are.

You're Miss Snark.

Love,
The Snarklings

tremblor said...

also, I apparently can't differentiate between "I" and "we"... I'm either becoming royal or insane.

AzGhostWriter said...

I personally enjoy this site and think Miss Snark is doing everyone a favor by spending her/his time answering questions. I wouldn't suggest changing anything and my verification word is yeahsomepeopleneedtogetalife.

Now you know why it takes me three or four tries to get it right!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I agree with tremblor, azghostwriter, ric, bernita.....oh anybody but fran. My word verification says:
somepeoplewhowritebooklengthcommentsaughttogowriteontheirownbolg.

O hell, I'm tired of this...fran go play somewhere else and leave us to our fun....

Bunneh said...

Goodness, Fran's certainly wordy.

As for whether or not it's silly to ask an anonymous person random questions about the publishing industry, when one can find answers to those same questions through books and other avenues... well, that's the thing about research, isn't it? You've got your question, and you've got your source, but finding the answer to your question while using said source isn't always as cut and dry as you'd expect.

Besides, anonymous source or no, it's nice to get a second opinion, because all of those "how to get published" books were written by someone who wanted to sell a book. Snark doesn't ask for anything in return. Does this make her more or less reliable than a different source? I really couldn't say. I for one enjoy the blog for what it is -- a fun break that can be informative.

Speaking as one who has sent a question off to Ms. Snark, I can say that, yes, she does cut the extraneous background information from the questions she posts, cutting to the meat of the question.

My verification word is: mygodineedadrinkandit'sonlyeightam.

Dave Kuzminski said...

The way I see it, Sammy isn't offering lobotomies anymore than the rest of us. He's probably getting less, too, judging by how much he mentions it.

Jan said...

It makes me angry when self-righteous people think that it's okay for them to make long posts on someone else's blog, because of course, they know more about publishing and agents than any of us.

I would think that someone (like Fran) who isn't published and doesn't have an agent would appreciate the insight that Miss Snark gives into the publishing world.
Matter of fact, there are several people who visit here who are published and/or have an agent, who still appreciate Miss Snark's insight.

The way I see it, Miss Snark is providing a service to all authors, whether published or not. She is giving us info on the agenting side of the publishing business.

There are many published authors who have blogs where they give info about publishing from their point of view. I read their blogs as well.

In my personal opinion, to be successful in any field, you have to study it.
You can't be a doctor without studying medicine. So why do you think you can be a published author without studying the publishing world?

Jan said...

I forgot one thing.

Fran, you commented on Miss Snark answering questions when she doesn't know all the information about the situation.

Well, yeah she does. And she always states that this is what SHE would do. or this is HER opinion. And she always says it is best to talk to your own agent about it.

So, yeah, if you are going to say negative things about someone's blog, at least read the whole thing.