Miss Snark invokes the S, C, T, D, V, P, P,A and A**

Dear Miss Snark,

Last Tuesday I sent off my first book proposal ( a nonfiction work on religion) to six publishers I felt would be good matches for my work. These are highly reputable publishers in the religion market (all with a number of books in the top Amazon rankings) but who are not so large that they require submissions to be sent by literary agents. I enclosed the requisite sample chapter. I then sat back for what I imagined would be a period of several weeks until the rejections came in, when I figured I would send the proposal to the second tier of publishers.

So imagine my surprise when late Friday afternoon I returned from being out all day to hear a voicemail from an editor at one of the publishers who called me the same day he received the proposal (I'm in Los Angeles, he's in New York). He stated they were very interested in the book and mentioned that he had already shown the proposal to the marketing director, who also shared his keen interest. He followed up with an e-mail, and I replied that we would talk on Monday.

Naturally, I am quite pleased. But what do I do if one of the other five publishers also expresses interest? I do not have a literary agent, and have no idea of how to go about getting one.

You're actually saying, in an email to an agent, who keeps a blog on publishing, that you have no idea how to get a literary agent?

You're what..a nitwit savant?

You can write a book but not be able to google "how to find a literary agent"?

You can write a book but not understand the concept of "research"

You can write a book and be totally unfamiliar with "Dear Miss Marion, the Librarian, how does one find a literary agent?".

How do you find out how many angels dance on the head of a pin?
That's the same way you find an agent. And you need one, now, so get busy.

** bonus points for readers who correctly interpret this
***four of you got it right, congrats.

The bonus points will be delivered by dancing angels,
those little sew and sews.


Janet Black said...

Ah beans . . more of us should have his problem. Get on the stick, writer!

Kate said...

S, C, T, D, V, P, P, A and A =

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels--the orders of angels in the celestial hierarchy.

How many points?

Anonymous said...

Is the acronym related to IACAL? (I am capable and lovable - The Wire, Episode 1).

Miss Snark said...

this doesn't have anything to do with The Wire.

We have one correct answer in the hopper (kate). Let's see how many more of you get it.

Falon said...

Based on the reference and the few I can remember... the nine types (cannot remember the correct word) of angels?

xiqay said...

I'm definitely not going to get bonus points this time. Too bad.

And couldn't the letter to Miss Snark count as research on how to get an agent?!

Niamh Sage said...

S, C, T, D, V, P, P, A & A = the hierarchy of angels:
Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.


Niamh Sage said...

ps according to Willard Wigan, one angel per pin head: http://www.antibet.ukonline.co.uk/tinyangl.jpg

'mazing, huh?


kitty said...

Depending on which source you use, the correct quote is not how many angels dance on the head of a pin but
1) how many angels could stand on the point of a pin

2) How many angels can dance on the point of a very fine needle, without jostling one another?

Anonymous said...

If what the writer is asking is how to find a "Christian" literary agency, the writer should check out Sally Stuart's Christian Writers Market Guide, because that will have publishers that deal almost exclusively with booksellsers in the Christian Booksellers' Association.

B. Dagger Lee said...

Is it a papist invocation?

Does Miss Snark invoke the Saints, the Church, the Trinity, the Divine, the Vatican, the Pope, the Peoples, the Angels and Acquinas?

At the moment, my girlfriend, Miss Patsy, is unavailable for consultation on popish conventions. Alas, I must fall back on mine own ignorance and bullshit.

yrs, B. Dagger Lee

Anonymous said...

"Nitwit savant" -- pure genius!!

Delilah said...

I figured it out!!

"Such Cluelessness!" Miss Snark said in a tone invoking abject fear in her precious poodle.

The Dog Vaulted the sofa, Petrified and Panicked, emitting A yap and A howl as Miss Snark pounded out a response on her coffee-stained keyboard.

Anonymous said...

I'm guesing what he's really asking is... there's interest in my book. Would YOU like to be my agent?

Elektra said...

S, C, T, D, V, P, P, A and A

Swift, Cudworth, ...er, thousands of spirits..., D'Israeli, very fine needles, points of needles, the Pope, Arbuthnot, Aquinas

I will be able to think of nothing else all day. I non-heart Miss Snark!

Anonymous said...

I'm the one that got the well-deserved drubbing from the Snarky One. Of course, I know how to write a letter, and I understand how to do a query. Obviously, I know how to write a proposal! I know how to do research. The problem is that in doing research, I could find no indication of an agent that fits the religion market (this is not an evangelical book). Dozens list religion as a specialty at Publishers Marketplace and on their sites, but few show any recent significant trade sales in this genre. Most are coy and say they want "quality nonfiction." So, I clarify, I have no idea of how to get an agent in short order without submitting dozens of inquiries and waiting three months. Shoot me again with your clue gun, Miss Snark!

delilah said...


I've been so fixated on those damned letters, I didn't think much about the real meaning behind the writer's letter.

This is a not-so-thinly diguised ploy to get Miss Snark to out herself.

Don't do it!!!

Anonymous said...


With that kind of interest, you need do little more than find a few agents that you would like to work with, pick up the phone and give them a call. I am made to understand that with an active intrest/offer on the table, you are well in line to contact agents by phone or email.

As to what agents specialize in your genre, have you tried finding similar books in the bookstore/library and reading the acknowledgments page? You can get some good names that way.

Good luck!

Elektra said...

Yeah, if anyone has a formula for getting an agent RIGHT NOW (and using only one stamp, if possible), I'd be interested too...

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

I am in need of a literary agent but have not been able to find one. I'm best known for poetry but have fiction and humorous essays to market. What few agents I've contacted say my work is neither fish nor foul, neither adult nor juvenile fiction. So now I wrote a thriller ala Michael Crichton.

My first work of fiction and what I think best is my "Tom Sawyer by the Freeway" book about growing up in LA in the 60s. Think of the potential audience!

Frank Wilson led me to your blog which I find very entertaining and snippily snarky, although your stilettos don't scare me one bit. They simply reflect skinny penis envy.

Google "C. E. Chaffin" if you want to verify I am not just an idiot savant--I mean nitwit.

C. E. Chaffin


Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Cudworth? Ralph Cudworth? The clergyman? Nice guy and my umm 14th? Great Grandpa. Smart man. But I'm pretty sure that dear Miss Snark wasn't thinkin' 'bout him when she writ this.

Could be wrong, I be supposin', but don't think so. Surely don't be thinkin' I be wrong. ....

Also, it's very sad that Damaris Cudworth didn't marry John Locke. Very sad. ... Not that any of this has anything to do with anything.

Except the C. in Snarkie's post ain't a meanin' Ralph Cudworth.

I'm working on my cowboy/goat-herd accent. How'ma doin?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Elektra said...
Yeah, if anyone has a formula for getting an agent RIGHT NOW (and using only one stamp, if possible), I'd be interested too...

Kidnapping. Blackmail. Standing on First and Pike in high heels and a short skirt. Meet their mother and get them to show you the baby pictures. (Always good for blackmail). Get their mothers to like you and nag them.

Bake cookies. Corner the market on pistachio muffins. (Hi Anna!)Hire someone to dance naked on their desk. Threaten to hire someone to dance naked on their desk.

Smile sweetly and offer them your first born. Tell them they're much cuter than that other agent.

Tell them you were there when the Titanic sank and that you channel the spirit of Ghandi's great grand uncle.

Offer to lose at checkers.

One of these should work.

Anonymous said...

My interpretation.

If you are so caught up in the teensy weensy details, you aren't writing. You are spinning your wheels over stuff that is subject for debate.

Just write.

RichM said...

Miss Snark is so refined she can dance on the point of a pin.

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Principalities, Powers, Archangels, and Angels. Naturally.

Elektra said...

Sha'el, you are a Snarkling among Snarklings.

By the way, have finished the golden/gold apple dialogue you suggested. I don't think I'll be able to work it in (reference to the Hesperides seemed a bit much for the second page) but it was fun nevertheless.

Writerious said...

What few agents I've contacted say my work is neither fish nor foul, neither adult nor juvenile fiction. So now I wrote a thriller ala Michael Crichton.

Comparing "fish" to "foul" is comparing a noun to an adjective. 'Tis neither fish nor fowl -- neither piscine nor avian.

Just as "ala" is two words: a la, in italics, with the little backwards accent mark over the a, if I recall correctly.

Well, never mind me. Just having too much fun with the English usage site, I reckon.

Kim said...

See - ya learn somethin' new everyday. I had no idea angels even HAD hierarchies! Wonder if it's based on merit, or on who you know in the angel biz?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Like this:à la

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Elektra,

I think you elaborated much more than I meant to suggest.

Try something brief, a bit like this:

"Atalanta didn't have a crowds of people waiting to see her," Eumelia said. The maid separated another lock of hair and reached for a pot of wax.

"She was lucky … And shouldn't have traded her freedom so cheaply."

"You call three golden apples cheaply bought? You truly are a king's daughter."

"There's a difference between golden and gold," Psyche said. "What makes you think they were anything more than golden? Personally, I think she'd have traded her virginity for spoiled olives if they were the right color."

See? Not a lot of elaboration. Just a play on the words. No explanations. Just make the point and move on.

Elektra said...

Much better than mine...

“You call three golden apples cheaply bought? You truly are a king’s daughter.”

“Yes, I consider golden apples a poor price indeed. You can grow them anywhere.”

“Forgive me. I wasn’t aware that you had taken gardening lessons from the Hesperides.”

“The Hesperides would not bother with golden apples. Why would they when gold ones are so much prettier?”

“Impudent girl.” Eumelia yanked a piece of hair.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Kim,

The Hebrew names for angels seem to emphasize function, rather than a hierarchical structure.

While one cannot escape some indication of rank, particularly with the archangel. (The Bible mentions only ONE archangel, Michael) Mostly the designations Cherub and Seraph seem to center on their function. (Hey, I didn't write it "centre"! I'm almost cured, huh?)

The Cherub's (Heb. transliteration: Keru-vim) are first mentioned in Genesis. They were the guards placed at Eden's gate. They usually play a role in projecting the divine presence, sometimes in an act of judgment.

Seraphs seem to fill an office that projects the Divine glory. The name is derived from a word that means, "to burn." There doesn't seem to be an element of rank in this name, only function. If rank is imputed, it is by their attendance on God's throne. They are depicted as surrounding and upholding the Divine Glory and Majesty.

Angel is a generic term and means, put most simply, "messenger."

Didn't know we Pixies knew this stuff, did ya?

Anonymous said...

There are three archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. In Hebrew, they mean, respectively, ""Who is Like God," "Messenger of God," and "Healing of God." Miss Pixie claims Michael is the only one named in the Bible, however all three are named in the Bible (assuming one accepts the deuterocanonical books which include Tobit, where Raphael is mentioned).

As for the hierarchy of angels as listed by La Snarkissima, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_Angels

And please, Miss Pixie, do NOT use apostrophes to form plurals! Grrrr! How gauche! I can't imagine how our Loving Dominatrix allowed that to appear on her page...

Kim said...

Sha'el -

You are still my hero! :)

I have a newfound respect for pixie knowledge and their willingness to share!

Ryan Field said...

To Anon author..."So, I clarify, I have no idea of how to get an agent in short order without submitting dozens of inquiries and waiting three months. Shoot me again with your clue gun, Miss Snark!"

Join writersmarket.com quickly, where the agnels verus the agents are dancing on pins and points everyday and you'll find all the clues you need. There's one very excellent agent who handles religion and you can pinpoint her very simply by doing a narrowed search. She's a great person and answers her e-mail quickly. There are other, too.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I had to edit this post. I shouldn't post when I need my mediation! So thanks for being patient with a deletion and a new post.

Raphael is an "extra-biblical" angel. He's from the apocryphal book Tobit. Tobit is not part of the Hebrew Canon and while it appears in the Catholic Bible because it's associated with LXX, it is not a genuine canonical book. At best it's a shade past being part of the pseudepigrapha.

Raphael is made to describe himself (12:15) as one of the seven angels who stand ready to enter the presence of the Lord's Glory. This is an apparent reference to the angelic presence in the Most Holy. Tobit never calls him an archangel. He's a character from late Jewish fiction.

Gabriel is never described as an archangel. The only angel so described is Michael. If one ignores what some religions have as tradition and sticks to what the Bible actually says, ONLY Michael is an archangel. He is so described at Jude 9.

If you think you're right, and Gabriel or even Raphael is described as an archangel, show me chapter and verse please.

I saw the apostrophe after I posted.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

And now it's time for a Pixie snit:

Listen, bub, Miss Snark doesn't edit posts. She lets 'em appear as sent.

I've explained before that I have typing problems and I can't spell. On a good day, I can spell. On bad days I can't. There is a neurological basis for the problem. It's a sore spot for me.

But mostly I reject your attempt to diminish what I said by pointing out a typing or grammatical error.

If you wish to refute, refute. Provide more than an assertion. Provide the proof.

Samuel Adams, some dude named Houghton Mifflin, and Black Beard are all named in a book about presidents. So they're presidents too? That's the sum of your argument, you know.

Because an angel is named in some text doesn't mean that angel is described as an archangel. You shoulda read the texts.

The Orthodox sects, influenced by Jewish mysticism, have seven archangels in their pantheon. Doesn't make it biblical though, do it?

Stick to the content of the texts and not what Wickedpedia thingie says.

I'm not sure you'd have lasted too terribly long in one of my classes. I'd have required textual support and rejected a mere assertion.

Now, I must flutter my wings long enough to dispel the snit, and I must find my ayisha for some quite time and wing grooming.

Miss Snark said...

"wing grooming"
There's a phrase I'd perk up to see in a query letter.

I wonder if the goat is involved?
If so, send pix.

Otherwise, I'm off to read some Tobit.
Oh wait, I mean two-bit query.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Wing Grooming is social behaviour among Pixies. It requires a gentle hand. Goats don't have hands. They don't participate.

One's ayisha is one's best friend and a nest-mate. Perhaps this from the Prologue of Dragon Sword will give you a better idea:

I should explain that when Father gave me my first notebook and pen, I thought of becoming a story teller. But, I will never be a great novelist. I don't run with the bulls; I don't drink to excess; I avoid concupiscence - I think. (I'm not too sure what that is. But I'm certain I'd avoid it if I knew.) I have no imagination.

I suppose that's another reason why I've turned to chronicling our history. If one lacks imagination one is left with life. Life is often dull, or events which are entertaining in themselves are not worth recording. For instance, there is nothing nicer than a couple of hours of wing-grooming. But, aside from the gasps of pleasure (assuming one's Ayisha knows how to groom as it should be done) and considerable idle chat, most grooming sessions would make for dull reading. Those that wouldn't make for dull reading? What's the matter with you? Even I have that much imagination!

Oh, and can someone tell Blogger that yuvkmgxc is a bit much as a word verification code?

Elektra said...

What color do Pixies wings turn when they're being groomed?

Kim said...

Wouldn't the goat just try to eat the wings in question? I don't have much experience in dealing with goats, but it seems to me they'll eat just about anything - is Bill any different?

Wow - this blog's getting to be more and more of an education... and I totally mean that in a good way!

word ver - krggwwt (or, I'm going to MAKE sure this isn't a spammer!)

Bugwit Homilies said...

The Lord sayeth that all things come to those who wait. But I got a lot going on at the moment. Can you round up some of your agent friends and have them contact me?

Thanks, gotta run now. Just have them leave messages. I'll get back to them when I'm bored.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Elektra said...
What color do Pixies wings turn when they're being groomed?

Oh, that would depend on the pixie herself ... and on her exact relationship to her ayisha. I call my Ayisha "Nanny," but she isn't a goat ... exactly. Her real name is Sha'nan'ye. Her mother is my aunt. Auntie was smitten by one of those Macedonian Pixies. We don't often speak of it. However, it gave Nanny the cutest little tail. And instead of having the blond hair usual to the Sha, her hair is snow white.

Kim said...
Wouldn't the goat just try to eat the wings in question? I don't have much experience in dealing with goats, but it seems to me they'll eat just about anything - is Bill any different?

While goats like to chew, they don't eat everything. They don't value tin cans at all. Dried leaves for roughage are a treat.

They don't like pixie wings, though they have been known to nibble a bit. Wing hair gets caught in their throat, and there's nothing less attractive than a goat trying to cough out a loose hair.

Some goat owners hire out their herds for weed control. Goats are good at weed control.

Just as an after thought, goats don't train to paper. They're not good in door pets. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Pennyoz said...

I'm in an analemma about this.

Ryan Field said...

"Miss Snark invokes the S, C, T, D, V, P, P,A and A**"

When do we find out what this means? Or did this here nitwit miss something?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Nitwit, err umm Ryan... Read up! You missed it. See Kate's post. The "C" is definitely not Ralph Cudworth, as much as I admire the man. (Family connection and all aside.)

Does anyone know if Ralph was cute? The only picture I know of is some awful frontispiece-engraving thing in one of his books. Horrible hair style. Also, I'm pretty certain it's a mistake to consider him a Platonist. ... Say, I've wandered again, haven't I?

What were we discussing? Oh, ya, the SCTDVPPAA thingie. That comes from the fourth century C.E. (AD to the uninitiated) book The Celestial Hierarchy. Some idiot who wrote under the name Dionysius the Areopagite (it's a fake name if I ever saw one) misread two Bible verses and came up with it.

I wonder if he was cute? Probably not, or he'd have used his own name. ...

My word verification is bahww. Seems to me that should have been reserved for Bill E. Goat.

wonderer said...

ryan field: Read the second and fourth comments in the comment trail. :)

Kim said...

Maybe he WAS cute, but wrote under a different name to keep the fans at bay - he probably had enough of them screaming and trying to tear his toga off every time he went out. Maybe this was the only way to get a little peace and quiet. It's quite possible that he screwed up because he was a mimbo!

Or maybe he was a mountain troll with a creative flair.

Either way, don't most of those ancient Greek and Roman busts and pictures show the subject with dreadful hair?

Elektra said...

Kim, I love this bit. Toward the end of the Roman empire, when very elaborate hairdos came into style, women would have their busts made with removable hair, so that they would always be seen in the height of fashion.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Hey Kim,

You are published by eWings? Email me at ThePixieShael@yahoo.com and tell me about your experiences with them. They asked to see my manuscript, but I have some reservations. I put them off. I'd like to know your experiences.

My WarDancingPixie mail is not working. There's a password problem. I changed it. Now I can't get back in. I can't get that yahoo page that gets you a new password to work, and I CAN'T GET YAHOO TO FIX IT FOR ME! Naugty Yahoo! Bad boy! Sit!

Actually, I'm sure they will. I have high hopes they will. I'll sure tell ya if they don't.

I'll probably have a pixie-snit if they don't fix it. And as we all know, those aren't pretty.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Well, poor Ralph of-the-deporable-wig Cudworth wasn't a Roman. He was English. He died in 1688. So he wore one of those disgusting Goat-Hair wigs that those people found fashionable.

The Wickedpedia article has the portrait that one finds in some editions of his book. Poor guy! Relative he may be, but I disclaim any resemblance. My nose isn't even a third that size!

The Pseudo-Dionysius who came up with the orders of angels thing was from the Roman era, from the fourth century. I bet he was pot-bellied, bald, and devious.