Other Voices, Other Agents

I do tend to make comments on mss., minimally proofreading corrections -- I can't help myself -- IF I think the ms. has some potential, even if I'm not going to take it on. And I do return full manuscripts, even though it means shlepping to the PO (sometimes it takes me a week to get there, but I get there eventually).

Well Miss Snark is glad there are some nicer agents in this cold cruel world.
She will never be one of them of course.


Feisty said...

Oh, Miss Snark, don't feel bad about this. You have a very different personal style. This mushy agent (we'll call her "The People's Agent") will soon tire of her trips to the post office and those dreadful manuscripts with potential.

You, on the other hand, will not be wasting your time on manuscripts that are a few years away from really good. Neither will you be spending untold hours with the USPS.

If you did all that, how would you ever post to this blog? Think of the damage that would be done should you disappear from your post here in blogville.

Nitwits would be running around unchecked. Pretty soon they'd be doing stupid things like sending whole manuscripts in boxes by registered mail to agents who do not accept unsolicited mail.

No, your place is here, with us. We are the ones who need and appreciate you. We don't want you wasting your time on such frivolous activities.

Don't leave us for the USPS, Miss Snark. We won't survive.

Anonymous said...

Nitwits would be running around unchecked. Pretty soon they'd be doing stupid things like sending whole manuscripts in boxes by registered mail to agents who do not accept unsolicited mail.

Uh oh...

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,

I'm curious to know how you and other agents decide how much a manuscript might be worth in dollars. Do you have a figure in mind before you send out a submission? If so, how do you make that determination? I read Publishers Weekly and get the Lunch Weekly from Publishers Lunch, and there are some published writers in my circle who give me a rough idea of how much their books have sold for. But it's hard for me to grasp how you know when to tell an editor they're not offering enough on a book. Why do some debut literary novels go for six figures and others of a similar ilk go for $10,000 and it's the same publishing house? Is it all a guessing game for agents?

Thank you for the real education through your blog. One day I bet you'll sell a best-of collection of your postings as a book. And I hope you get the six figures you deserve!

Rick said...

I'll second Anonymous #2's question, Miss Snark - do you have a price in mind? More generally, how does the money dance go between agent and editor / publishing house?

Anonymous said...

How sad. I imagine if many writers had bothered to attend college and get an education they wouldn't be so desperate to get a few bucks for writing the next great novel.

Come'on I worked five months this year, went to Europe for two weeks, and don't think $10,000 for a years work is worth the trouble.

It is a hobby unless you're making six figures or enough to have some quality of life.

Rick said...

$10,000 for something you'd do for free because you love it is a pretty good gig.

Rachel Vincent said...

Anonymous 2,

I'd like to think writers write because that's what they love to do, not because they're "desperate to get a few bucks."

And I certainly hope you enjoy your job as much as I enjoy writing, because I would still do what I do even if I had no hope of it ever paying a cent. Just to clarify, this is coming from a writer who DID bother to attend (and graduate) college, and for whom a year's work is not one book, but three.

Perhaps you should reexamine your definition of “hobby.” Or at least try to open your mind.

I hope my post doesn't sound as condescending as yours does.

Never-Anonymous Kristy said...

Anon # 3 - some of us *have* gone to college. Some of us already *have* high-paying jobs. And some of us--and that includes many of those who didn't go to college and/or don't have high-paying jobs--write because it's what we love. Many of us ask these questions because we want to know if we will someday be able to quit our day jobs and work as a full-time, professional writer if we manage to attain that ultimate goal of getting published, rather than squeezing it into our already busy schedules. But don't get me wrong--we're all thrilled for you, and we sincerely hope that the weather up there on your towering pedastal is better than it is down here for us common folk.

Rick said...

Something I've read more than once:

Wannabe writers talk about Art.
Will-be writers talk about agents, queries, and submissions.
Published writers talk about money.

Rachel Vincent said...

Oops. I mean Anon 3.

Sorry Anon 2

Sonarbabe said...

Currently, my writing is a passion I have after my *day job*. For me, it wasn't a matter of *bothering* to attend college. Some of us can't afford the stamp to mail in the application, but that's neither here nor there. I agree that writing should be more for the love of it than for the $$$ value, but to poo-poo $10,000 when you don't have $10,000 is extremely arrogant and does not endear yourself to us comon folk. But hey, that's just me. What do I know?

Anonymous said...

I’ve only had one person (an editor at an indy publishing house) do that for me. It was a sweet thing to do. So, I fired off a Hallmark to let her know she is the new patron saint of the unpublished . . . at least to me anyway.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

The last time I stuck my nose in...Oh, well, here goes...I never learn.

I agree with sonarbabe and kristy!

I can understand why the "How sad" anonymous(sorry if I mix y'all up but there are several of ya')is anonymous. That was a plain and simple sad-assed remark!

How dare you say "If they had 'bothered' to attend college. I know a hell of a lot of great writers that have never seen the inside of a college building, let alone attend one.

And I have also seen some of the stupidest remarks ever turned into a sentence come out of the mouths of people who obviously put good money after bad and graduated "come loudly".

And if you need six figures to have a 'quality of life', I pity your life!

M. G. Tarquini said...


Education? Check

High-Paying Job? Check - or was check...well, you know kids get older, need chauffeuring, etc...Chauffeuring kids doesn't pay much. Doesn't pay anything, actually, which is what my writing's paid me so far, except for the outlay for paper, stamps, bribes, all those hours spent writing, etc....um...but the kids cost a whole lot more and all those hours spent chauffeuring and cooking and hosting sleepovers and whatnot -


Husband has High-Paying Job? Check

Europe? Several times

Hobby? you mean, like the kids?

Attitude? Not yet jaded

Ability to laugh over that anonymous posting? Priceless

Bernita said...

I despise people who claim a college degree makes them superior. Often they have the most to unlearn about writing.

Stacy said...

"It is a hobby unless you're making six figures or enough to have some quality of life."

Is this some sort of capitalist philosophy? Does it apply to everything? F'r example, "jobs" or "professions" that pay less than 6 figures per year should now be called hobbies - like teaching, nursing, policing, parenting . . .

You have to respect the ability to insult a broad spectrum of the world's population with one sentence. It is a rare talent. Jackass.

kathie said...

Grumpy Anon. has a real problem. Or he's pulling Ms. Snark's leg. Ain't no way someone believes the garbage he's tossing our way. I have to admit, though I'm intrigued with who this person is...

Audiate said...

I'm surprised the "How Sad" comment got through the Snarkometer!

Well, "how sad", I have a Masters degree and work a well-paying job, but I can't wait to see my boss' reaction when I tell her that because I earn less than $100K it's just a hobby. Actually, I don't think anyone in this entire company, including the many PhD's working here, make over $100K. Maybe the CEO.

I also can't wait to tell the many (full-time) writers I know that until they're earning $100K, they're not real writers. That should be fun! :) Care to share your name and email so that I can forward their comments to you?

Kristy said...

Anyone think that Anon #3 sounds familiar...especially the "six-figure" and "hobby" parts...like a certain foul-mouthed "agent" whose blog has been getting precious little attention lately? Anyone know who I'm talking about?

Jo Bourne said...

The important question about writing ISTM,
is not ...
'is this just a hobby?'
how much money can you expect to make?'
but --
'is it good?'

If the answer is 'yes', the ms will eventually sell and the family can celebrate with extra helpings of sloppy joe.

If the answer is 'no', maybe it'll sell anyhow.

Jo Bourne

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Oh, Kristy!!! you are just too good, girl!

Anonymous said...

The anonymous commenter is making a straw man argument. His hypothetical writer, the man who takes up writing because he's desperate for money or thinks it will make him rich, doesn't exist. If you're desperate for money, you wait tables and clean toilets, and if you're really desperate, you stand on a street corner with a cup and a sign. You don't query agents.

I left an industry with high payouts to write full-time after selling a novel to a major publisher for less than $100,000 and more than $10,000. My income has gone down, but my quality of life has gone up. If my advance had been $10,000, would I have quit my job? No. Would I have still written the novel? Yes. If the novel hadn't sold at all, I'd have still written it.

Selling it was great. But selling it wasn't the point of writing it.

And my college degree, a BA from a university that's consistently ranked as one of top 5 in the country, has nothing to do with any of it. The degree was worth it, but not because it taught me to write. It didn't. Years and years of reading did that.

M. G. Tarquini said...

like a certain foul-mouthed "agent" whose blog has been getting precious little attention lately?

Kristy, I thought the exact same thing.