Dear Miss Snark,
I live in Ireland, the land of saints, scholars, Guinness, and Cork Dry Gin (really rather yummy), but alas, also a land of few literary agents and publishers. Something to do with that larger, jolly country off our east coast which hosts many of the world's major publishing houses.
I've written a literary novel, and over the last seven months, I've been sending it to Ireland's literary agents, plus many of the ones over the water to the east. Things move slowly, as you know, but I'm starting to get the tiniest bit of tentative interest and (holy moly!) a request for a
partial. Fine so far.
My problem is my cousin. He also wrote a novel--dashed it off in two months when he was supposed to be processing parking fines for Ballygobackward Town Council--and he then immediately went to a POD self publishing crowd. Six weeks later, and he's lounging around in a velvet smoking jacket and lace-trimmed gumboots, expounding to all who will listen about the hard life of a writer, and dropping "my agent" or "my publisher" or "my editor" into
every other sentence.
I've read his book. It's not the worst, although there's a good few grammatical errors, which of course get ignored by a POD crowd. But now, our families are looking pityingly at me, saying things like, "Oh, Finbarr must be the real writer in the family, as his novel was snapped up in a blink, and have you seen it, it's the one with the pretty purple and pink artwork
on the cover."
Now, you know, and I know, and all the Snarklings reading this know, that POD Vanity Publishing isn't the same thing as being published by Gill & Macmillan. But I'm getting really sick of both Finbarr, his book, and our families. Is there a tactful way I can explain the differences between vanity publishing and real publishing without looking churlish or putting
down Finbarr too much?
And if you can answer this question, Miss Manners....er... Miss Snark, then I have another pressing question about removing egg yolk from a silk cravat.
Miss Snark steps up to the plate on both questions.
1. When one's family makes noises about dear Finbarr, you wrinkle your nose, look perplexed, and say "you know, I really want to read this great novel but I can't seem to find it at the library. The librarian called it a vanity project. I wasn't sure what she meant. Do you know?"
When Finbarr makes noises about his agent, ask who it is. Purely to send flowers and choccies for congrats of course.
2. The best way to remove egg yolk from a silk cravat is with a tongue. Yours or, as is more often the case here, Killer Yapp's.