4.12.2006

Words Fail Miss Snark

Miss Snark deletes all e-queries unread. Thus, she is deeply chagrined to find she Missed Her Big Chance! Forwarded from a colleague comes this enticement:

You are too busy to consider this novel. Never mind that it is the first in a series of loosely connected titles destined to spawn a cavalcade of big-screen adaptations; you are simply too busy. You don't have time to consider this project.

Your lists are already full. The market place is clogged as is and can scarcely hold another title anyway, regardless of how good the work is. Save yourself the time and effort, don't bother asking to read this novel. It will only upset you. The prose is good but a lot of good prose gets ignored every year and you're not sure you will be able to save this piece from the same fate. You're not sure if you possess the necessary skill.


Don't get angry with yourself. It's all right. It's OK. Not everybody was meant to be a superstar in the literary world. Don't get down on yourself because you can't sell my book. Look at the bright side; you haven't asked to read the manuscript yet so failure remains that far away.

48 comments:

Greta LaGarbeaux said...

BWAAAAH! Spattering coffee all over the keyboard! This is hysterical. Talk about your desperation tactics, this poor guy (and I bet a gajillion nickels it's a boy)should be on the Bitter Writers Anonymous poster.

NL Gassert said...

You have to give the author credit for having guts. Or being a complete idiot. On the upside, replying is easy. “You’re right; too busy” should suffice. But it was fun to read. Too bad it wasn’t for a non-fiction project titled “Irreverence: How to shed your seriousness in 10 days.”

Mad Scientist Matt said...

This reminds me of the (Eggers?) who titled his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

Ski said...

If this is typical of the "stuff" agents receive then I wouldn't be surprised if you ate TUMS and Valium like Tic Tacs.

Rgds...........Ski

Kalen said...

WTF? File this one under "No amount of clues could possibly help" and have a good laugh over the gin pail.

Anonymous said...

I suppose via reverse psychology, you're supposed to beg for the chance to read this literary luminary's magnum opus?

kitty said...

Did this person learn this approach at a seminar, or was nitwittery self-taught?

M. G. Tarquini said...

Oh dear. Is Lala Scrivano sending query letters again? I'll talk to her. So sorry.

JJ said...

The theory being that if I insult you enough, you will desire me? I'm wondering how well this guy works his local watering hole.

December Quinn said...

As Neil Gaiman put it, "Some of us are so sharp we could just cut ourselves."

Anonymous said...

Holy Bat Segundo! Nothing like throwing nails in the road for the rest of us. Miss Manners is rolling over her grave. I just have to know, did your colleague take the bait?

Diana Metz said...

How did you know what we're thinking? Stay out of my head.

Kagura Shinra said...

Someone's a little full of themselves.

Anonymous said...

The old take-away. But cleverly done. I'd imagine a few agents would have to read several pages, at least, to see if there's a book to back the query. Then it's done its job.

The question it raises for me is, if a query is really good does the agent cut the author more slack with the pages he/she sent? In other words, does it just get the agent through the first one or two pages of a reasonably interesting first chapter, or does it actually push the agent another ten pages or more to see if the book can grab?

Corn Dog said...

I think "loosely connected" is the key here, as in "I am loosely connected"

Kagura Shinra said...

Someone's a little confident. I wonder if chapter 14 starts off with an alien abduction.

Anonymous said...

I'm the agent who got the query, and NO I did not ask to see any. In fact, I went against my policy of responding to all e-queries and ignored it. Well, actually, I sent it to Miss Snark because I knew she would appreciate it.

Trix said...

Yanno...even if the manuscript was great, the poor agent would still have to work with this twit. I think I'd hit "Trash" and move on to a query written by someone who wasn't so full of him/herself.

Maya said...

motorboating: THAT was exactly my first impression.

M.E Ellis said...

I found that amusing. Poor sod's probably at the end of his tether with rejections.

Blessim.

:o)

Anonymous said...

What a colossal idea! What a genius!

Are you kidding?

jan conwell said...

Please somebody tell me this was a joke? If not, and the return address was not a federal corrections facility: this guy gets to VOTE!

bookfraud said...

damn! had i known my query would end up being mocked, i would have never sent it! and i would have at least edited it.

The Gambino Crime Family said...

Wow, I haven't seen anyone so passive aggressive since, well, since I talked to my parents...

S. W. Vaughn said...

I applaud anonymous #3 for the proper use of it's and its in the same sentence.

As for the writer of the query in question... well, this is the sound of one hand clapping (which I hope is not the title of your brilliantly overlooked prose, as a certain blogging colleague of Miss Snark's will certainly give you a pass).

P.S. Forgive me if this is a duplicate post -- Blogger does not feel like cooperating with my ISP today.

Pepper Smith said...

Erm...wow. Words fail me.

Rhoda said...

wow this is hilarious.

LOL

R

Anonymous said...

(Miss Manners isn't dead yet.)

So did your colleague take the genius? Or even answer the email?

ColoradoGuy said...

So was this Gerard Jones of Ginny Good fame tugging the agent's whatnot?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Ok, now that was really funny.

Lady M said...

Well - so... Ya gonna read it?

It is a unique query.

It is different...

It isn't horridly written.

If it had come in an envelope with an SASE attached, would you have been more interested?

Mark said...

Eggers pulled it off, and boy his story was heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Another agent here, chiming in for the first time. I got the exact same email, twice even. And as with the original agent, I too went against my policy of replying to all queries, and deleted it. Twice.

This sh*t gets really annoying. It's not charming, it's not clever, it's not funny. It's a waste of my time - a few seconds that I should have and would have spent giving consideration to someone more deserving.

Eileen said...

I'm going with the "they meant it as a joke" theory. I like funny- but there is a time and a place. The query letter- not so much. You want to stand out, but not in a fly down, skirt in the back of your pantyhose kind of way.

cameron said...

Dammit, he stole my idea!!!

Janny said...

He's a-pullin' your leg. :-)

Inkwolf said...

You know where this stuff comes from....someone read "Never be refused again" or "Market Yourself! For the tiny business owner" and believed everything.

For a letter mentioned in a previous blog entry--the one about "Do you prefer to call or e-mail me to send you the full MS?"-- I've actually seen that approach suggested in a book, though not a publishing book, thank goodness.

Termagant 2 said...

IMO, it's too out-there to consider as anything but a jest. Maybe s/he sent it knowing it would end up on at least one lit agent's comedy blog-?

T2

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

*jaw to ground*

No. Comment.

Catja (green_knight) said...

I like this query. If the author had written a properly considered query, it might have impeded _my_ chances. This one doesn't.

Mr. Snort said...

Um...wow. Someone has a future in spamming. Seriously, I bet this guy doesn't even get thrown out of bars. When he gets too drunk the bouncer just gives a nod and he takes himself out back and beats himself up.

Anonymous said...

I would bet she is a romance writer.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was the Lemony Snicket guy...

Anonymous said...

I thought this was pretty funny; if it erred, it was only in laying the nyuks on a bit too thick. I'm surprised that two agents have weighed in saying they deleted it; I would have given the writer a chance, based on this. Inside-out thinking can be a sign of a good imagination.

I guess slogging through the slush pile does not leave a person very receptive to comedy. Or it's a personal preference issue - like when a friend of mine pasted her resume onto bottles of wine and sent them to potential employers. Some were impressed by her imaginative presentation; some thought she was a complete flake.

~JJ

Pauline B Jones said...

When my younger daughter was an editor with a small publisher, she got this equery:

WHY WON'T ANYONE READ MY BOOK?

She felt bad for his frustration, but it was a novel and they published health books.

pennyoz said...

It's smarmy. It's demeaning. It means that the writer thinks you are too dumb to recognise a ploy.
It's like the blind man on the corner of Fifth Avenue holding out his cup with a sign on his chest saying "Please help me back to New Zealand"... Why are you here fella... sight seeing?

prettylady said...

Well, I liked it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the Lemony Snicket comment above; that's what it reminded me of. I only mostly-skimmed it the first time, and thought it a very different approach and not necessarily offensive, just probably hit-or-miss as to whether it was someone's cup of tea.

Then I went back and reread it. The second half is insulting. What was the writer thinking?