Up / Down market

Dear Miss Snark,

I recently received an email from an agency rejecting my non-fiction book proposal. She commented that the concept was good, but the proposal needed to be very tight and have more of an "up market voice." What is an up market voice? James from Agent Query suggested it was a voice that's "sophisticated, but still casual and accessible." Then he suggested I contact you.

Please define.

well, an upmarket title does not have 'hip' 'groovy' 'chick' 'love' 'fuck' or 'monkey' in the title.

Upmarket voice is Emily Post and Miss Manners.
Downmarket voice is the Sweet Potato Queens Guide to Love

Upmarket voice is Deborah Tannen's "You Just Don't Understand"
Down market is "He's Just Not That Into You"

Upmarket is Fodors Guide to New York
Downmarket is NFT (Not For Tourists)

Upmarket is Vogue
Downmarket is DailyCandy.com

Upmarket is Writers Market Guide to Publishing
Downmarket is Miss Snark

I can't define it but I know it when I see it.


Anonymous said...


Voix said...

Miss Snark, that is the most succint, interesting, and useful post I've read on the whole internet all week. I've been wondering about that, too. Merci beaucoup!

Miss Snark said...

Downmarket-"excuse my French".

You're welcome!

Maria said...

I agree with all but the last. Miss Snark is Not Downmarket. Yes, she's trendy, but she's also a Class-act, full of wisdom and willing to share.

You may get down in the mud to solve a problem, but you no doubt wear Gucci, clean up afterwards and never let them see you cry.

Mary Akers said...

This is fabulous and fascinating! Thank you so much.

Lady M said...

Maria - I totally agree. I posted earlier but it never showed.

She is so NOT downmarket!

Miss Snark - you have class and you're hilarious. No matter who you are or who you are on this blog - it shines through.

Keep up the excellent work.

A newly devoted Snarkling

Lady M

Eileen said...

I think just on general principles the terms "monkey" and "fuck" should never be used in the same sentence.

Anonymous said...

I take issue with "Downmarket is Miss Snark". Fuck the pretentious market jargon. Miss Snark is NOT downmarket.

Repeat after me. Miss Snark is not downmarket.

I don't only get more valuable info here than from any other single source, but also the 'feel' of the business, the personal touch, which I never get from all those bland market tomes and publishing manuals. If Miss Snark is downmarket, downmarket has come a long way, baby.

Chrysoula said...

I'm surprised to see Miss Snark listed as 'downmarket', because I've always considered her the 'Miss Manners' of literary agents.