Dear Miss Snark,
Does the appearance of the f-bomb in a manuscript reduce its chances with publishers? Obviously many novels have f-bombs and do quite well, but I've noticed that most novels, even those in genres where the f-bomb would be acceptable, don't have the f-bomb.
Is it better for a first-time author to play it safe and not include f-bombs?
Thanks a fucking lot. :)
Well, as usual it depends on what you're writing.
Arthur Nersesian's The Fuck Up and Robert Lasner's For Fucks Sake both have the f-bomb, as you so quaintly phrase it, in the very title of the book. I about dropped my fangs when I saw The Fuck Up at BN on 6th Ave.
If you're sending something to Center Street, the new warm and fuzzy imprint of Warner Books in Nashville, you better not have fuck or anything remotely like it in the title or the body of the work. Their audience is not likely to find it amusing, or appropriate.
If you're sending to Akashic Press, I don't think Johnny Temple is going to turn a hair at the word.
If you plan to sell your book at WalMart, I think they have a fuck-detector at the warehouse door...but I've never been in a WalMart so I only know this by rumor.
It won't kill you to leave it out if you can. Unless it will. Be yourself, let your characters swear like Miss Snark on a bad slush day...you don't want a namby pamby agent if you use ..ahem...colorful language.
And please don't tell Grandmother Snark that Miss Snark has a potty mouth. She may be getting on in years but she'll still wash out a dirty mouth with soap...and while Miss Snark may have dropped her fangs at BN, that's not her first choice on how to polish them up.