It Doesn't Mean What You Want It To

Hello Miss Snark (insert clever compliment here in order to gain attention). (perhaps we just need a Chinese take menu of effusive compliments make this easier on everyone)

Finally, a blog with a purpose! None of this what-I-had-for-lunch-my-life-is-so-interesting-NOT rubbish, but a veritable fount of useful advice!

I'm a UK writer, who has been touting his second book around London agents. The other day, I spoke to one on the phone having called after three months to check for any progress on my sub. The agent said that their readers liked the sample, and then he asked me where I saw my book on a bookshelf as it combines elements of satire, dark fantasy and sci-fi (eeek, I hear you say!) (eek indeed).

A rather long discussion (for an agent on the phone) followed, ending warmly with him telling me he was going to 'write me a letter about this'.
I've been in quandary for the past three days as I can't decide if this is a rejection or not. I wondered if you could provide any insight into agent's responses and what they really might mean i.e. 'This is certainly different' translated as 'You're clearly a serial killer'. (Yes, I know, I didn't have the balls to ask directly myself!) Any ideas?

O! Miss Snark has ideas to spare on this one.

First, let's look at your questions: "What does this mean"? and "is this a rejection?". You're asking the wrong question. The question is: is this an offer, and the answer is no. Regardless of why (you=serial killer; him=unorganized slacker; book=unsaleable masterpiece) this guy has not said the magic words and thus you Must! Query! On!

Don't stop till you've heard "I'd be pleased to represent you" AND you've said yes. Those words will be unequivocal and generally accompanied by something in writing and a talk about the root of all evil.


PJD said...

Rather than a Chinese take-out menu of complimenary openings, perhaps Miss Snark could have someone whip her up a program that automatically opens the email and adds a randomly created opening before passing it on to Miss Snark. Something along the lines of picking one from each:

1.a) Dear
b) Oh Your
c) Oh Miss

2.a) most incontrovertible
b) divinely ordained
c) truly utter

3.a) bundle of perfection
b) genius
c) wickedness

The lists of course could be expanded indefinitely.

A similar program could add an automated signoff expressing appropriate unworthiness and nitwittery.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to send Miss Snark my cleaning bills if she doesn't start giving fair warning before slipping in a closing line like the one in this post.

I'm reading along - blah, blah; yeah, yeah - minding my own business, empathizing with some poor, angst-ridden writer, and BAM!, a wickedly funny Snarkism pops up out of nowhere.

My wardrobe, not to mention my keyboard, is in ruins. I beg you, oh holy one, have mercy on us snarklings.