3.23.2006

Hello Miss Snark,

What are the odds of an established agent (NYC or otherwise) agreeing to accept a query from a poor third world writer who can't afford to travel or make international calls?


Pretty good, since we really don't want to see or talk to you now or ever.

Query letters are sent by mail. They are not hand delivered nor dictated over the phone.

14 comments:

M. G. Tarquini said...

And if that poor third world writer has access to a computer like the person with the question...lots of agents take e-queries, which are free except for the cost of the computer, or the internet cafe, or maybe the writer can use a computer in the library, or get a friend to send the query for him.

Mark said...

LOL!

Eileen said...

Perhaps Miss Snark could do Sally Struthers type ad campaign for these writers: "For 39 cents a day you can sponsor a third world writer. This cost is less than a thimble of gin. These important funds pay for queries and make the difference between a writer being agented or not."

Then the camera would cut to a tragic figure, clutching manuscript pages (single spaced) and typewriter with those big Precious Moments figurine eyes.

Cut to Killer Yapp lifting leg on tragic poor writer. Fade out

Anonymous said...

I am being this third world writer and need £1000.00.00 immediately for PERFECTLY SAFE AND LEGAL sale of wooden crates full of things.

ann said...

Not from the third world, but from Wakarusa (supposedly an old Indian word meaning "knee deep in mud")I can tell you the Internet is a beautiful thing. So is our public library, which has internet access and does a good job acquiring all the latest books.

Glenda Larke said...

I'm a third world writer too! Well sort of. And I'd love a new computer for a start. All donations gratefully accepted...

39c US will certainly get me a daily cup of coffee to keep me fuelled.

I got myself an agent in the UK while living in Austria. I now live in Malaysia and sell mainly in Australia, US, German and Russia. Love this connected world...

Trix said...

So does this mean you'd actually respond to email from this third-world client?

Anonymous said...

As I am also from a so-called 'third world country' - I believe the Caribbean is thus designated - I find the dissing of that writer in somewhat poor taste. Some of those reponses are terribly revealing of a certain generalized ignorance and prejudice, but that's a whole other issue.

The writer can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think s/he was not asking about getting the query to agents, but about the chances of an interested agent having second thoughts once s/he learned the details of the writer's location. Telephone calls and travel, though not relevant at the querying stage, may become an issue after an offer of representation has been made, and during the promotion of the book. But those should not concern the writer at this stage.

To the writer: I send both e- and snail mail queries where appropriate, and buy batches of US stamps for those pesky SASEs when I travel, or prevail on friends to purchase them for me when they travel. The stamps can also be purchased over the internet from the US Postal Service. Right now I have a supply of 37c. stamps and the postage has gone up to 39c, so I was putting two of the 37's in the interim while I awaited the arrival of 2c stamps. :::shrug:::

In addition, I use a service which gives me a mailing address in Miami. My US mail goes there and is then forwarded to me. We call the service a 'skybox', and maybe the writer can check whether such a service is available in his/her country. It does not cost very much and the US address is what goes on the mail, so s/he won't have to worry about whether location is an issue until an agent actually offers to represent. And trust me, if the work is good, a Rabbitania location won't be a dealbreaker.

Miss Snark said...

"As I am also from a so-called 'third world country' - I believe the Caribbean is thus designated - I find the dissing of that writer in somewhat poor taste. Some of those reponses are terribly revealing of a certain generalized ignorance and prejudice, but that's a whole other issue."

No one dissed this guy cause he's in the third world. They dissed him cause he can't write well enough to make even a simple question understood.

That is fair game on this blog. You can be/look/sound/smell anything you want but if you write to me asking "if agents agree to accept queries" you're going to get back a sardonic answer. Even if you live on Rabbitania..which last I looked was a 9thparsec world.

Anonymous said...

Okay, you've lost me with the '9thparsec' ref, Miss Snark, but that aside, I don't take issue with your sardonic response to the question, but rather with some of the comments here. I've seen where you posted letters with egregious writing before and people have pointed out some of the bloopers, but I don't recall their going so far as to conjure up images of KY pissing on the unfortunate questioner.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Most of the first-world writers I know can't afford travel or international phone calls either.

Is Arizona considered first world? I had a coyote on my front yard the other day, two people on horseback just rode by and I'm forever killing scorpions.

Stacy said...

Let's take the original question one joke at a time:

"agent (NYC or otherwise)agreeing to accept a query"

Anybody who uses this phrase is begging to be mocked. The self-abasement just makes me want to chuck rocks at his head. 'Oh great and important Agentman, will you let me send you my query?'


"a poor third world writerwho can't afford to travel or make international calls"

This leads automatically to the Precious Moments figurine gag, with the dog adding insult to injury for greater effect - who could be mor pathetic than this self-styled 'poor Third World author'? Who is more in need of sympathy, and - dare I say it - assistance? Which leads us directly to the Internet scam reference - I am so poor and pathetic and in need of aid, give me all your money!

Speaking as a Third World person who considers herself the equal of anyone on this planet, and never mind my poverty, that's between me, my husband, my boss and my Prime Minister, this was one damned funny question.

There was plenty of intended mockery without looking for the unintentional stuff, anonymous. Get the stick out of your a**, lighten up, relax - please. Your humourlessness is giving us Third World people a bad name.

A Voiceover said...

Please note that the assstickectomy is not for everyone. Possible side-effects include: difficulty sitting, a loss of righteous indignation and increased sensitivity to irony. Always consult your physician before deciding if the assstickectomy is the right procedure for you.

Anonymous said...

Stacy: "The self-abasement just makes me want to chuck rocks at his head." The writers of many of the questions and comments on this blog and are equally self-abasing and squirmingly servile, but there have been very few comments ridiculing them in this manner.

The mockery is not the issue. The issue is the nature of the mockery - the meanness. It may not be intentional, I admit, but a result of the Pavlovian associations that leap to mind once some people see the expression 'third world'. The conditioned response.

There is, of course, the possibility that the writer may have used the 'poor third world writer' expression ironically. Just a thought.

"Speaking as a Third World person who considers herself the equal of anyone on this planet..."
Thou protesteth too much, Stacy. Such a person does not need to go around making these declarations of the obvious.

"...giving us Third World people a bad name". Give me a break. Really. And keep those blinkers right where they are.

As for the stick up my ass, I'll retain it, thank you very much, if it means that I can still distinguish between good humored fun and plain meanness.