Writing Credentials

Dear Miss Snark,

If a writer is also an editor at a *prestigious* literary journal or publishing house, does it hurt or help to mention that in the query?

It won't hurt...unless your writing sux.
Even then you can probably get looked at, and maybe even published.
Best chance of success is to be the book review editor; no agent or publisher in their right mind would say no, no matter what suckage was involved.


Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

In the archives, I ran across one of your scintillating blog articles that suggested that it is unethical for book reviewers of large newspapers or industry standards to also be authors. I may have misunderstood that and it's been a while since I looked at that post, but if I've got that straight, would you elaborate?

For example, in the children's literature world, I like reading reviews by Sue Corbett at the Miami Herald Tribune, which has a large grandparent readership with book-buying power. She has two mid-grade novels of her own (12 Again and Free Baseball). I don't see any ethical issues, but perhaps I'm a nitwit?

A devoted snarkling

P.S. Is snarkling supposed to be capitalized?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1, I think I remember the entry you mean (January or so). It was primarily about agents, but it did mention book critics as well.

I remember it because I read a memoir a few weeks later that was written by one. It was potentially brilliant but very disappointing. I don't think it would have been printed if it had been written by a nobody like me.

It sold OK though, I believe. She came with a platform and got some good reviews. I think that's what Miss Snark means: someone who writes a regular column of any sort in a major newspaper has a certain number of automatic buyers, and if it's book reviews they write, those automatic buyers already love books too.

I would, however, be interested in hearing Miss Snark's reasons for saying agents and critics shouldn't also write books.

Anonymous said...

OMG OMG, that's how D got published! I read a partial from D who reviews books. I thought her writing was crap. The next thing I knew she was boasting of a two book contract.

Thanks for this secret Miss Snark. I just need to start my own book review website (there are dozens now anyway, what's one more). Then when I submit to an agent, I just pull out my review credentials, and ta da... CONTRACT ! ! !

Anonymous said...

Maybe book reviewers have a kind of leverage that can be abused. When shopping their book, an agent might worry about negative comments on their latest books from the reviewer if said agent sent a reject to the reviewer for his/her pet project.

just a thought. (but wouldn't word get around if a reviewer did that? wouldn't an agent be glad not to have such a vengeful client?) still don't know why, if at all, Miss Snark might think there are ethical issues for reviewers also being writers.

And PS--on Sue Corbett (sp?--she has a recent article where she interviews Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson about their latest children's book. (a sequel to their Peter Pan prequel). It's a good interview (and of course Dave Barry is pretty funny). Miami Herald 7/8/06