1.31.2006

Nitwit of the Day

First of all, whoever keeps saying I heart Miss Snark, please stop it.

Secondly, Miss Snark sees fit to conclude her brief encyclical with the following, somewhat over-sentimentalized bit of advice: "If it's never published, so be it. YOU will have loved, understood, empathized, prayed, rejoiced and enjoyed. In the end, that's all that matters." Rubbish! Every serious writer worth his or her salt desires publication - craves understanding readers - dreams about affecting perhaps even influencing others with their original view of the world -- in short, it certainly does matter. A lot. What's the point of suffering through the act of creation if you truly believe that publication doesn't matter? Far better, then, to just give up now chuck your manuscripts under the bed or into the fire.

First of all, anyone who wants to heart Miss Snark is welcome to do so.

Second, if you don't like encouragement when things aren't going well, take your little icicle ass off to someone else's blog. This blog is not about telling writers to give up. This blog is about learning about how I, as an agent, look at work; how the publishing industry works; and the fact that writing is something I value. I would no more tell someone to give up writing cause it wouldn't sell than I would tell my five foot ten nephew to stop playing basketball cause he'll never make the NBA. The things he learns playing on the team will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life. Learning to write; and regular writing, can have a lot of value outside the marketplace. Just for starters it makes you a better reader, and a consumer of books..all things I think are just fine and dandy.

If the only reason you want to write is to impress and influence other people, I suggest you apply to work in the sign-making department of the MTA. Eight million people will read your words daily, and they'll talk about it a lot. Oh, and here's an extra metro card for your ego. I don't think it will all fit through just one rotation of the turnstile.

Sentimental indeed. F off and die.

66 comments:

Marc Ponomareff said...

I believe that I suggested in my post that people should give up writing only if they don't desire & strive for publication. My post is crystal-clear about the fact that I believe writing to be a fine endeavor.

So very sorry to disrupt your love-in, Miss Snark.

It appears that agents, too, can be averse to even mild, critical comments.

Anonymous said...

"Every serious writer worth his or her salt desires publication - craves understanding readers - dreams about affecting perhaps even influencing others with their original view of the world."

Really? I've published seven novels and never once was I so overly (and ridiculously) pretentious as to believe that I was influencing others with my original view of the world. If asked (which I wasn't, but that's not the point), I'd say that you probably have a hell of a lot more chances of being successful if you get your head out of your butt for long enough to have some fun with your craft. It must be hard to take yourself so seriously all the time, marc. Seems like all that pompous ass-ity would give a person a headache after a while.

PS - I heart you, Miss Snark. Snark on.

S. W. Vaughn said...

I HEART MISS SNARK!

:-P

-S

Desperate Writer said...

Man, what a sour puss that MP' attitude has. I, for one, enjoy the informative and forthright info Miss Snark has in her blog.

You're a peach, Miss Snark.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Miss Snark,

My client, the princess Sha'el, has asked me to present this demand for reimbursement for the cleaning expenses she incurred when she sprayed hot chocolate all over her royal comfy comforter while reading this post. Reading this post is the direct cause of this unfortunate accident. We can be happy that she only soiled her blankie and didn't burn her cute wings or butt.

Prompt payment can be made to the following address:

The Lady Sha'el,
The Pixie Home Forest,
First Nest on the Right,
Sha Nesting Grounds

Or you may send your cheque to

Enormous, Snootie, and Twit
The Temple
London

Stacy said...

marc doesn't give a tuppence. I checked.

Marc Ponomareff said...

The title of this blog, "Miss Snark, the literary agent" implies a discussion of Fiction, does it not? Sure, a diarist may not worry too much about publication; but writers of fiction certainly do.

Be honest, people: have you never once wanted to see your work in print, be it in a hardcover/paperback, chapbook, magazine, webzine, or literary review? There you go.

Publication is the end result most of us strive for. Which is, by the way, and by no means, an implication that writing for your own, personal pleasure is a crime.

Anyway, I just found it amusing that an agent would boldly state, regarding publication, that "it doesn't matter."

Mark said...

I still want to know if the fiction market is as dismal some folks say. Compared memoirs and narrative nonfiction, journalism, history and the like.

Beth said...

Marc,

Yes, of course we want to be published. Most writers have a deep need to be read. But the writer's journey isn't entirely about where we end up--it's also about what we experience along the way. How many people live their lives and never know the kind of joy we experience from the sheer act of creation? That in itself makes it worthwhile. Besides, the writers who give up are the ones who don't get published. Quitting is guaranteed failure.

Martin J Ross said...

Hello Marc.
Was the first thing you wrote worthy of publication? If not, why would you continue? You obviously were not publishable, so you should have quit.

Did you sit there pulling your hair out telling yourself you "Had" to get it published? Would that have helped you?

The only way you can be sure you won't get published is to quit writing and submiting, until then you always have a chance. And with each piece of writing you learn a little bit more.

Miss Snarks advice was right, don't worry about being published. Worry only about writing, and then submit it, and between submissions, write more.

In a nutshell, if you keep writing, you are still in the race, so don't quit.

Now to go off and make moon eyes at Miss Snark.

M. G. Tarquini said...

'Tis better to heart Miss Snark, than fart Miss Snark.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nikki_Dolson said...

Do I want to get published? Absolutely. Can I stand the scrutiny/opinion of others? Not yet, but I am in therapy. :)

Writing for yourself is the only way to write. Then force it upon others!

Miss Snark rocks! let the love-in continue please.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that marc ponomareff has self published a book with one of those POD press thingies? Inquiring minds want to know - does using a vanity press actually make it worth while "suffering through the act of creation"?

p.s. & I heart Miss Snark

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

"Sentimental indeed. F off and die."

Hahhahahahhahaa! Miss Snark, you just made my day!

I HEART you! and Killer Yapp, too!

kitty said...

I heart Miss Snark, and I’m not the only one, either! :~)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I heart Miss Snark.

She spade Killer Yap.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Well, a pixie princess should be diplomatic. Unfortunately for you, I leave diplomacy to my parents.

Marc, as I read your posts only one word, well two words, ok three words cross my mind. I read them in a reader review on Amazon.com.

I think they fit you to the proverbial T. "pompous and lecturing." Yup, says it all.

You take yourself waaaay to seriously. We don't, however, and that probably makes up for it.

bonniers said...

What's the point of suffering through the act of creation if you truly believe that publication doesn't matter?

Because the act of creation is about the biggest high there is.

Because only I can say the things I need to say.

Because the truth matters. My truth matters. It might not make a difference to anybody else and I might not change the world, but it makes a difference to me.

Because digging into my own soul for the truth has made me a better person, a stronger person, a more tolerant and understanding person.

Because I want to.

Anonymous said...

I once had a publisher tell me that writers are a strange creative bunch. He made the point that every artist who paints does not aspire to have a showing. Most paint for the pure pleasure of it. Likewise, how many musicians are there in this world that play music and write music with no intention of making it a profession. What is it about writers that makes most of them think their writing has no value unless it is published and widely read? I have no answer but I agree with him.

I do want to be published. I love writing so much I pray for the day it supports me so that I can do it full time.

But the pleasure is in the writing. I love the process.

Anonymous said...

Since when was publication the end of the rainbow? It's the process. It's the joy of finishing a work - and yes, celebrating in the company of my spouse.

Don't get me wrong: Publication and money are nice, but if you don't enjoy the process you may as well be flipping burgers or driving a cab. You'll almost certainly be making more money with less stress.

I love what I do, and I'm very fortunate in that I get paid for it. But if the process made me miserable then I would have to quit. I would have more fun flipping burgers at that point.

Anonymous said...

marc, your book is #1,884,703 in amazon sales! Way to go!

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks it hilarious that Mr. M.P.'s book was self-published?

Way to go. Heart on, Snarklings.

Kelly said...

I can't stand it when a writer tries to foist his world view off on me in a novel. Guess that's why I rarely read literary novels. If I want to think about the real world, I'll read nonfiction, and decide for myself what to think about it.

I want my future readers to experience the same thing I experience when I read a great novel. I want them to be swept up in another world and rooting with all their hearts for the people in it.

They can think what they want about the world.

BTW, I heart Miss Snark!

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Am I the only one who thinks it hilarious that Mr. M.P.'s book was self-published?

Oh, dear, I think I'm going to be a bit meaner than I intended. Read his blog. Just go read the man's blog. Says it ALL.

Alli said...

I heart Miss Snark
I heart Miss Snark
I heart Miss Snark
I heart Miss Snark

Marc, people write for a variety of reasons and whether publication is in their sights or not, no one, and I mean NO ONE, has a right to tell someone to give up. Telling a writer to give up is like telling them to stop breathing.

Bethany said...

People like this irritate me. Miss Snark is being extremely kind to us all through helping us writers out, and she's helped me from making several sloppy agent-handling mistakes in the past. Even if Mr. Pompous Panties doesn't agree with Miss Snark's methods or "need" her help, that doesn't give him the right to try and be a butt about it.

Honestly. It's like going to Gandhi (were he alive) and saying, "Hey, I'm not one of the millions of people you're helping to liberate. So you know what? You're stupid. Yes, I said that, oh what now buuuurn?" Just because it's not helpful to you doesn't mean it's not helpful to others.

And no, I don't actually think that was a good metaphor even remotely. :)

Desperate Writer said...

I heart Miss Snark. She spade Killer Yap.

Oh, dear. I hope it didn't hurt. Those darn garden shovels! :) *wink* But good for her, I spayed my kitties.

It appears that agents, too, can be averse to even mild, critical comments.

Your note was not mildly critical. The tone that was set was definitely superior in voice and insulting, not only to Miss Snark, but to those of us who appreciate her advice and wit. Perhaps you didn't realize it when you wrote it. It does seem, however, that you are sensitive to those who disagree with you. Pot and kettle, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

I heart Miss Snark? I don't get it. And what's with the link in the title?

Anonymous said...

Oh. Now I get it. Not being about to understand the Nitwit of the Day post, and thus being a nitwit? How ironic.

Anonymous said...

"The title of this blog, "Miss Snark, the literary agent" implies a discussion of Fiction, does it not?"

Huh? WTF? Literary agents rep non-fiction all the time.

Or is it some strange dig on Miss Snark's use of the internet equivalent of a pen name?

Does that sentence make any sense to anyone?

That Girl Who Writes Stuff said...

Writing strictly for yourself is like masturbation . . . a good time in and of itself. But most people still prefer to do it with a partner.

If I get published I'm whoring my book out to every reader I can find - the more the merrier.

mkcbunny said...

To address the anonymous post about painters vs. writers. One key difference is that paintings can be seen without purchase. In art school, I was basically taught to make art and not worry about sales. Resume, sure. Sales, pfft! Just keep painting. But as a writer, your work isn't "seen" publicly unless it's published and subsequently bought. Visual artists have many legitimate "vanity" venues [including Web sites] in which to get their imagery out to the world.

Do I need to be published to feel worthwhile? No.
Do I want to be published? Heck yea.

But if it doesn't happen, I will still be happy with having completed a novel.

And I heart Miss Snark, too. Can we get bumper stikers that say that?

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, give Markie-Mark a break. You've got to admit that he's truly talented. Who else can severely piss off everyone on the blog with so little effort? I could try for years and never become that proficient.

Man, I love this blog. Maybe I'm a pervert, but I adore when Miss Snark spews forth fire and brimstone like that. Caliente, caliente!

Anonymous said...

I'll say he's talented! In scrolling through his blog, I think I saw two periods. Those are some of the longest ass sentences I've seen since me Joyce and Faulkner readin' days. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, give Markie-Mark a break. You've got to admit that he's truly talented. Who else can severely piss off everyone on the blog with so little effort? I could try for years and never become that proficient.


Anon - I bet you are Markie-Mark.

Problem Child said...

Hey guys, give Markie-Mark a break.

But I bet his blog hits have jumped...

Almost makes me want to piss off the Snarklings just for the blog traffic.

I said ALMOST.

:-)

Existential Man said...

This guy should be hiding under a blanket--not exposing his limitations and unreadable writing by making dumb comments...

Here are his stated interests: "Writing reading drinking being contrary smoking translating drinking yet more feeling melancholy not giving a tuppence."

so, here we have a guy who has the gall to rip off a title from no less than Fyodor Dostoevsky ("The House of the Dead"), pays for the "book" to be "published" (i.e., available for download)and to top it off, decides to indulge his interest in "being contrary" while he sits around getting drunk and smoking cigarettes! But wait, there's more: he writes utterly unreadable sentences that no editor in their right mind would allow to find the printed page...but hey, he's gonna reach all them readers out there in Amazonland who are going to hurry to download his e-book for $15!

To justify his own need to see his crap in e-book, he can't imagine anyone choosing to write anything without wanting it to be published.

Keep striving for publication, marc, you've got a long, long way to go...actually at first glance I thought Miss Snark's response was a bit harsher than it needed to be...but after looking at your literary efforts, i see that you got what you deserved ...

Anonymous said...

And just to clarify Marc -- the divine Miss S merely said that IF one is a writer, and IF one lives for writing, one will write...and perhaps, get published.

I can't imagine not writing. I hope to be published. But nothing, I'm afraid, can make me stop doing it between now and the end of my journey.

And my granny keeps a journal. It would break her lil heart if I told her it was meaningless and she should stop, since she is obviously not striving for publication.

And by the way, I don't think you're at all sorry that you (in your words) 'disrupted' the Snark love-in. I kinda feel that you were just feeling cantankerous and hoping to make an impact somewhere - since it ain't happenin' for you in the publishing world.

Go write somethin' for goodness sake.

Anonymous said...

OHMIGOD! I think I went on a blind date with this guy!!!!

You know the one.

-Absolute source of all knowledge
-Fawningly helpful attitude
-Quite impressed with own vocabulary
-Goes for the titties while still in the restaurant...

No wait...wasn't him....but oh so close!

Anonymous said...

"Marc, your book is #1,884,703 in amazon sales!"

Whoa! Only hours later on the same day and his sales rank dipped to #1,900,437. That's a new one--having sales going DOWN as a result of publicity.

I suspect some form of literary karma is afoot.

Anonymous said...

"Anon - I bet you are Markie-Mark"

WTF! Marky-Mark my alter ego? No, I'm just another anony-mouse who first got pissed off by Mark's comments in the great "can you count erotica as a bona-fide publishing credit" debate. Like I said, I couldn't piss off the Snarkites the way he does if I tried, and I certainly can't write as badly as he does if I tried either.

He won't get a rise out of me any more, and I won't respond to anything he writes again - it must just stroke that ghastly ego of his. And I have no interest in checking his website.

Anonymous said...

This just in to our news desk...

Snarkland Love-In Proceeds as Planned

and in other news...

Lonely Author Finally Gets Some Attention

I heart Miss Snark
I heart Miss Snark
I heart Miss Snark

Anonymous said...

I read some of his stuff.

Congrats, Mark!! To judge by the singular lack of periods in your narrative you're PREGNANT!

Anonymous said...

"you're PREGNANT"

HEEEHAHAHAHAHAHEEEEEEEEHAHA!
ROTFLMAO!

Damn, you guys are good.
C,

Amra Pajalic said...

I write for the love of writing and because I can't not to do anything else. While I hold dear the stories that have been published I still love all the ones that are currently resting in peace and that didn't make the grade. Each thing I write is a step on the journey to fulfilling my ambitions.

Marc, you're so desperate to be published when you should be focussing on crafting. You're in love with the idea of being a writer and are so desperate to foist your writing on the world, but you don't actually value the craft.

You think writing is about riches and fame and about "influencing others" when it should be about sharing, making a connection and love of the written word.

I wish you luck on your journey and I hope you discover the true meaning of being a writer. I know it will make you a happier person and your life fuller.

Ken Boy said...

One of Mr. Marc's sentences on his blog actually has this punctuation in the middle of it:

?,

Yes, he can't end a sentence to save his life, he must put a comma after a question mark.

Does he really expect people to believe he writes for publication??

I'm just heartin' Miss Snark.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if anyone else has the experience I do with writing. Once something has been published, it's dead to me. It doesn't feel like "mine" anymore. Sometimes I hang on to stories a bit longer than I should just so I can stay in their world for a little longer.

--Lisa

Jen said...

"I believe that I suggested in my post that people should give up writing only if they don't desire & strive for publication."

This irks me. It implies that I should've given up on writing back when I was in school. I used to write for fun back then, rather than solely to pass the creative writing portion of english exams. ¬¬ Calling an exam paper a form of publication is probably stretching it a bit, but your writing *is* being read and reviewed by a critic (the person marking the exam ^_^).

I didn't expect anything I wrote back then to be published, and I still don't. All of the writing I still have from that time is treasured every bit as much as what I write now. ^_^

What's the point of suffering through the act of creation if you truly believe that publication doesn't matter?

I'm not worried about being published. It would be nice, certainly, but it's not the only thing on my mind. I hope my work will be good enough for publication someday, but first and foremost, I write for my own enjoyment. If someone else (or a few people) likes my work, then that's a bonus. ^___^

For me, writing isn't about being published, being famous, or having a book with your name on the cover on the coffee table to show off to family and friends. It's all about having fun, and if you have friends who share that idea of fun, then that's even better. ^_^

December Quinn said...

We love you Miss Snark,
Oh yes we do;
We love you Miss Snark,
And will be true;
When there's no entries,
We're blue;
Oh, Miss Snark,
We love you!



I keep writing because the characters in my head keep bothering me if I don't. I write because it's fun. I write because I love the sound of the clicky keyboard. I write because it feels "right" to do it.

Yes, I write hoping to be published. I write hoping to move from small publishers to larger ones. And some days I feel pretty good about already having a few small things pubbed, and am convinced that it's the start of Big and Exciting Things.

Other days I'm not so sure, when I see all the competition and how talented every writer I know is...and it's depressing and awful and I feel like a failure.

Then I see a post like the one about never giving up. And I feel fired up and good again, because I remember that I'm doing something I love to do, and just doing it makes me happy, no matter what happens to the story after I finish it.

How dare you try to take that away from me, and everyone else here, by implying we're stupid for writing for the pleasure of it and should keep our eyes on the dollar signs.

Eva said...

Okay guys, this isn't fun. Enough is enough.

bonniers said...

"you're PREGNANT"

*spews coffee on keyboard again*

Ken Boy said...

I writed because all my life I've slung the bull with alacrity, and now I'm learning to do it with potency. Building sentences and paragraphs and scenes and chapters, molding it all into a coherent novel, teasing life up to the surface of the page--it's a gas.

I've never been published (well, not since high school), and probably never will be, but hope springs eternal.

Ken Boy said...

Holy cow--writed? So much for potency.

Maya said...

I'm with Eva.

Anonymous said...

Marc must be very proud. He did what he wanted to do - got our attention.

Somewhere, he's laughing it up with his dearest chatroom friends.

Tess said...

Miss Snark - thanks soooo much for making that person nitwit of the day. Yeah, I'd love to be published, but in the end, I'll keep writing, no matter what happens, cause I LOVE to write. For ME :-) Your comments were right on the money.

Grady said...

Miss Snark,

Your nephew can take heart: he's five inches taller than Earl Boykins.

Anonymous said...

"Every serious writer worth his or her salt desires publication - craves understanding readers - dreams about affecting perhaps even influencing others with their original view of the world."

Kafka NEVER wanted to publish - he only did when it was financially necessary, but he wrote for the writing itself. The actuall act of writing itself was what was most important to him. (I attended this semester an entire course devoted to this given by Dr. Jahraus, at the LMU in Munich.) I'm pretty sure that Kafka is someone we can classify as a "serious writer".

Pepper Smith said...

Ugh! What hubris.

There is a segment of the writing population that is extremely arrogant about their writing, and without cause, because they're great only in their own minds. Arrogance isn't necessarily a bad thing--it keeps a writer going until he/she actually has the skill and depth of experience to realize how truly awful their earlier work was, compared with where they have gotten to.

Unfortunately, with the advent of vanity publishing, those authors can get published without ever going through the maturation process. It means that they will probably never have the opportunity to get those rough edges knocked off and become polished writers. They remain arrogant because they really don't understand that they can improve, and that they aren't necessarily offering the wide world something it hasn't seen before.

I know a lot of writers who write for the sheer pleasure of it. I know of one who has told me she has no intention of ever seeking professional publication, but she continues to churn out stories to entertain herself and her friends. Nothing wrong with that. Some of us are just natural storytellers and could care less if there's money involved, because we're doing what we love.

Indigo Black said...

But as a writer, your work isn't "seen" publicly unless it's published and subsequently bought.

I, for one, think that blogging is changing this a little. Now everyone, good and bad, can show off their writing to the world with just a few clicks of the mouse. I love it and I heart Miss Snark.

Anonymous said...

What is the URL of his blog?

Pepper Smith said...

Click on his name. It's the link to his blog.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Nothing like taking the wind right of a writer's sails, eh? To tell someone that they should give up writing because they don't want fame and fortune is, to me at least, the same as saying someone who doesn't want to be old to step in front of a speeding train when they're 30.

Nice.

Real nice.

Oh! And btw, I heart Miss Snark too!

Anonymous said...

I have read Marc's novel that he self-published..it isn't too bad, there are some great chapters in it. I do agree however that his view of affecting and influencing others is arrogant. As someone who has befriended him at his darkest hour, I actually pity him for not realizing that his actions towards others will leave a far greater impression than any literary contribution he leaves behind. As for not giving a tuppence, I wish I had known earlier. To all of you writers, keep creating and sharing your efforts, don't let this one view deter yo