10.15.2006

Words Fail Me

MADAM SNARK

I live in Nova Scotia but have traveled in every ocean and on every continent. I have more stoties to tell than I ever will.

I rarely pitch a tale but have had a couple published. I would love to know if there are any reputable agents who will work on a commission basis only.

If there are any good publishers who will look at material that doesn't come through an agent, I'd like to know about them.

If you have any words of wisdom to toss out, please feel free.
oh I'm tossing alright but those aren't words, they're cookies.

40 comments:

Maya said...

**I would love to know if there are any reputable agents who will work on a commission basis only**

CLUEGUN ALERT: Reputable agents don't work on any other basis.

I've generally found that when I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm safer simply admitting my ignorance and asking for help. It keeps me from sounding smug, or worse, like a nitwit.

Chumplet said...

Oh, please, please don't take that as a representation of all Canadians. Nova Scotia is not the boonies. I've been there and it's a lovely, sophisticated province with a vibrant capital and (mostly) intelligent people.

Writer, I'm sure you have many great stories to tell - just learn to write so you can share them with us, and please use that handy dandy computer of yours to do a little research on your own.

Anonymous said...

Public Service Announcement
This is why you got Snarked:

MADAM SNARK

It's Miss, not Madam. She gets snarly over that point.

I live in Nova Scotia but have traveled in every ocean and on every continent. I have more stoties to tell than I ever will.

You travel in the ocean? Like in a submarine? Cool! Watch the typos, by the way.

I rarely pitch a tale but have had a couple published. I would love to know if there are any reputable agents who will work on a commission basis only.

All reputable agents work on commission.

If there are any good publishers who will look at material that doesn't come through an agent, I'd like to know about them.

And Miss Snark was clearly put on this planet just to do you favours, such as looking those people up, eh? (Fellow Canadian, here; you can probably tell by my spelling.) You can find this stuff in a book called "Writer's Market". There's a new edition published every year, and you can likely find a copy at your local library.

If you have any words of wisdom to toss out, please feel free.

Refer to comment regarding doing you favours.

Do your homework and learn about the publishing industry yourself; that will leave you the least likely to be taken in by scam artists and the most likely to not annoy-with-naivete the people you want to work with.

Good luck.

Dave Kuzminski said...

Words fail me, good agents work on commission.

If you encounter any other kind of payment system say no thanks and back off so they can't reach out for your wallet. They're probably scammers. Yes, there are one or two exceptions to that rule, but you're safer ignoring them as well.

Nonny said...

One word to the obviously clueless: GOOGLE. It's your friend. Really.

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

What's that smell?

Oh, it's the cluegun overheating.

Michele said...

Are you writing short stories or novels? If these are short stories, try selling directly to magazines and literary journals. BTW, if these are short stories about travel, Air Canada's en route magazine is running a short story contest that might interest you.

also said...

Maya beat me to the punch: "if there are any reputable agents who will work on a commission basis only."

Huh? that's what 'reputable' means.

Nitwit alert.

Having a couple stories published means nothing since he doesn't mention WHERE. Sounds like the 'Words Fail Me writer' needs to stop traveling the world long enough to take classes in communication - so he doesn't sound like such a nitwit.

Kim said...

erm, isn't the commission what that whole 15% is about? Or did I miss something?

Egads - I do believe the clue gun is about to blow! Everybody prepare to duck!

Anonymous said...

Oh, ouch. You know, when I first started looking into the fiction markets, whether short stories or novels, the amount of ignorance I labored under was truly intimidating. It was like staring at a college library and being told: Memorize That.

BUT ... the only one who could educate me was me. So, a bit at a time, a Google at a time, I learned. And I'm still learning. And I hope to continue learning. It definitely helps one avoid looking like a nitwit. Plus clue gun wounds are quite painful. ;-)
Cheers

G. Atwater

snowfie said...

Miss Snark doesn't run a brothel does she? I don't think that is the proper use of the title "Madam".

overdog said...

Writer, the web is your friend. Find like-minded souls and learn about the business by asking questions (as you're doing), and by googling. There are writer-friendly sites out there (Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, Absolute Write, etc.) where writers share information and save each other a lot of heartache.

Writerious said...

Sounds like someone who might possibly have been scammed by a vanity publisher, fee-charging agent, or poetry "contest"?

If you have any words of wisdom to toss out, please feel free.

Just two words: Writer's Market

Get a copy from your local bookstore. Read all the introductory articles. Use it well.

Inez said...

This is a joke, right?
Isn't MADAM the tip off?

Krista said...

"I would love to know if there are any reputable agents who will work on a commission basis only."

Now, don't be ridiculous. All reputable agents ask for your first born at the very least. Non-reputable agents ask for your kidneys.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Be nice to him; he's a Canadian and can't help it. Okay?

1. Before you submit, learn to write better than you do.

2. Yes, some publishers consider unagented submissions. They must be of the same quality as an agented submission.

3. Go here and click on publishers.
http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/

4. Being well traveled doesn't make you a good storyteller.

5. Being a good storyteller doesn't make you a good writer.

6. My general impression is that you'd have done better back in the 1950's with the men's adventure magazines. None of them are still alive. They've been replaced by weird stuff. That may be because men are more weird than they were a half century ago, or it may be that men were always weird and they just show it more now.

7. If you were an eyewitness to significant history, try one of the Victorian Era memories magazines ... umm okay so you're not that old. Well, there are lots of little "memories" thingies. Try one or two. They're not picky. The writing is often just -- well -- awful. But memories are memories.

8. Blog. Write it up and put it on a blog. You won't make money, but you'll get it outa your system.

9. And ... one last thought ... New Zealand Beers are much better than Canadian Beers. Just so you know. I hear the Cock and Bull Brewery is for sale. Shove off for NZ, buy it, make good beer, and die content. Oh, and you can tell Sailor stories to old ANZAC guys.

10. (So number 9 wasn't my last though) Write for Soldier of Fortune. They might love you. You never know.

11. Write "I remember" feature articles for weekly newspapers. They don't pay anything, but you'll get it out of your system. Maybe.

12. Become a radio talk show host doing Canadian Paranormal and UFOs. Then you can tell your stories live on the air. I hear Westwood One is looking for new voices ...

13. Assume a curmudgeonly attitude; become "a character;" sit on a dock and tell outrageous but true stories to anyone who will listen; call your local television station and anonymously report your presence. Describe yourself as a genuine artifact of old Canada. Then call that college in Toronto... what's its name? Oh heck, no one's heard of it anyways... but call them and ask for the history department. Say, "there's this guy who's a genuine font of living history. You must interview him" .... See?

writtenwyrdd said...

Wut eye wnat to noe iz: Wuts a STOTIE?

HawkOwl said...

What Chumplet said. If I didn't like Denendeh and British Columbia better, I'd totally live in Nova Scotia.

I feel this urge to go play my fiddle.

Mac said...

".. and on every continent .."

Fascinating. How was Antartica ?

Mac

writtenwyrdd said...

Seeing as I live on the border, I spend a lot of time in New Brunswick. Haven't made it to Nova Scotia yet, but I've met a lot of Nova Scotians. Despite the tendency to say "eh" a lot, they seem fairly prone to resemble Americans. Or is it that Mainers resemble Canadians?

I guess you'd have to peel off the parkas, touques, wool shirts and Sorels to tell...eh?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

dear writtenwyrdd,

I think he meant stories. However, Stottie (two "t"s in that) is Scottish flat bread, good too. And it's Brit. slang for Stout Lager.

I'm pretty sure, he being Canadian and all, that it's a misspelling. ... Cnadnandaians can't spell much or nutin' else neither.

Quick, name five famous Canadians who weren't actors or television peronalities! Times up! You lose.

It's easier to name some infamous Canadians, isn't it? (I am so getting my little self in trouble here.)

1. Mackenzie King under whose rule Canadians developed military plans to invade Washington State and hold Seattle hostage. (Look at all the coffee history that would have gone unwritten.)

2. Sam McGee who was sorta cremated.

3. Ernest Lapointe who used the Defence of Canada regulations to persecute minority religion.

4. Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis, the dictator of Quebec. Nasty man. Just nasty.

5. Edwin Alonzo Boyd. Betcha don't know who he was. So I guess he wasn't that infamous outside of Canada.

To atone I will sing

O Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

I'm still wondering about the brilliant exploits part. .... But I'll sing it before bed to make it up to all Canadians everywhere, especially my cousins in Toronto.

Say ... Did you ever notice that the French version of O Canada was more than a tad politically incorrect! Way to go Frencies!

jta said...

Traveller: Luckily, your letter hasn't been wasted effort; it gave quite a few people a chance to prove they're better than someone. Anyone. Welcome to high school.

Hot Whiskey Tot said...

What are "stoties"? A shot of gin added to a hot gin tot(t)ie?

:)

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

jta said...
Traveller: Luckily, your letter hasn't been wasted effort; it gave quite a few people a chance to prove they're better than someone. Anyone. Welcome to high school.


Are you suggesting I didn't give him good advice? Shame! Just because I teased the heck outa Canadians, all my advice is right up to snuff, good stuff, and should be followed. ....

Shouldn't it?

You wound me deeply, jta. Deeply.

Ryan Field said...

jta said...
Traveler: Luckily, your letter hasn't been wasted effort; it gave quite a few people a chance to prove they're better than someone. Anyone. Welcome to high school.

Thank you, JTA...I agree completely, but I think the tone of this blog shouldn't be taken seriously. A lot of the advice, yes, but not the tone.

Anonymous said...

Keep insulting Canadians, Sha'el. That's really classy. Why don't you make fun of African Americans next?

rams said...

Junior high.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sha'el:
You've amused me today. I have gone to the trouble to look you up on the internet. Your email address (listed the same way in both places, thank dog) does not work. You have a block in place, put there by Verizon; you have to remove it.

Anonymous said...

I'm in jta's camp about peer courtesy. Although many of the harsher critics gave good advice wrapped in a brick through the window, the aggregate affect is overwhelmingly hostile. Might not the message have gotten through without us first sharpening the brick?

Word ver-- xnwzywy: the sound of snarklings circling, nipping, and snapping at a rival.

HawkOwl said...

Toque. It's spelled toque.

And New Brunswick is a whole different can of worms. :)

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Anonymous said...
Keep insulting Canadians, Sha'el. That's really classy. Why don't you make fun of African Americans next?


Well, Anon., Canadians feel more than free to poke fun at their American cousins.

Sometimes it's not fun at all. Sometimes it's ill intended. There is nothing ill intended in my teasing. You are a funny people. (I'm assuming you're Canadian.) Canadians are simply fun to tease. And most of them take it about as well as Americans take what the Canadian media says about us.

The only things in my post that should sting Canadians are the ones that are true. If you found nothing "true" in it, then why would it hurt you?

You are making assumptions about race that are unwarranted. You don't know what colour I am, and you certainly don't know what colour my children are.

You suggest that since I tease Canadians, I would hate people of colour. Why? Two of my daughters are as brown as they come. They were born in India. You missed the mark when you tried to slap back.

What you proved is you're overly sensitive. I have no apologies to make to Canada or Canadians. I like most of them, including my own relatives. Liking one's relatives is a true accomplishment.

Did your comment hurt me? No. Is insulting African Americans something I'll do? No, they aren't Canadians.

Other than suggesting Canadians can't spell, you tell me exactly what I did that was hurtful. You don't even know if I am a Canadian or not. (Not, thankfully. Canada is a scary place. Ever been to downtown Vancouver? Totally creepy!)

The Canadian media are full of direct insults to Americans. Your government officials insult us individually and as a country. We visit your country anyway. Many of us, me included, have Canadian relatives. We forgive them the accident of birthplace.

Oh, and the Canadians in my list, other than Sam McGee, are fairly and truly represented. Don't you know your own history? Oh dear. Lapointe sent his goons in the guise of RCMP officers to confiscate Bibles from Christians who happened to be of a different religion than his. (It's all detailed in Debates of the House of Commons from back there during the war years.) This really happened, and it was despicable. Do Americans have similar things in their history? Certainly we do.

Was Duplessis a scholar and a gentleman? Really? From whose perspective? Do Americans have similar villains in their history? Of course we do.

If we can't make fun of these bits of insanity, we have to take them seriously. Do you wish us to take them seriously? Really? If we took Canada seriously, we'd be at war. We've managed not to shoot at each other too much since the War of 1812. I think you should give back that New Hampshire Militia Cannon you captured. Don't you? (There was that unfortunate brush up in the 1850s between trappers. But I think they were mostly drunk. Besides that all happened before 1867.)

If I took Canadian-American relations seriously, I'd be advocating building a fence along the border with guard towers and such, instead of thinking that I'd like to visit that scary and creepy Vancouver again or maybe fly off to Toronto to visit cousins. I mean you did make those invasion plans. And as far as those plans go, I'm not sure back in the 1930s we would have cared too much if you camped out around Seattle. It would probably be different now. We have our coffee supply to defend. So if your war office has updated those plans, forget it. We won't let you hold our coffee hostage…..

Besides, I'm not sure that Americans would make good war brides, not since women's suffrage … We've been a bit testy since then. We are cute though ….

Oh, and my email isn't blocked as far as I can tell. Verizon tells me that they may have blocked your email as a harbinger of Spam. You'd have to work that out with them ….

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Might not the message have gotten through without us first sharpening the brick?

Say, how does one sharpen a brick? Is this a mixed metaphor? I've always wanted to see one ...

Mixed metaphors are slicker than sliced bread and twice as fast, aren't they?

Yes, I've been a bad girl. Here are my reasons:

The original post is an example of someone wanting another to assume their basic responsibilities. Ten minutes of online research would have answered his questions.

I like to tease.

I like to tease a lot.

I was a good child; now I'm sowing my bearded darnel in the wheat field. Or something like that.

I gave him a good but snippy answer. I don't have to be patient with a man who claims life experience, but who hasn't got enough self resolve to answer a few basic questions on his own. Here's a man who wishes to appear a man of the world, widely traveled, suave, debonair. Does he ask Google or Dogpile a few basic questions? No. He asks a silly, uninformed question of Miss Snark (an the rest of us who chime in) while wanting to appear courtly and wise. (Note the Madam Snark bit.)

This is, to quote the pig-farmer who lives cross county from us, "hog wash." Miss Snark isn't our mommy. She's not Encyclopedia Brown. She's not that cute librarian at the Library of Congress either. … Sigh … We like to ask her questions, right? She has great answers. But the framework for this question is such that there is no nice way to take it.

If he had presented himself as clueless it would be different. He didn't. "I'm a man of the world; widely traveled; published on occasion, don'tcha know." Fooie on that! Be happy I was as nice as I was. There is no sense of responsibility in that approach. None. It's naughty.

And I still like to tease, Canadians especially, because they're so teasable.

Wonderer said...

Sha'el - Don't worry. I'm Canadian and I wasn't offended. You don't have a mean bone in your body (forgive the cliche, it's late).

xbpdcf - Canadian for WTF?

are you sure, sha'el? said...

Sorry sha'el, most of what you write is at least mildly (if windily and self-indulgently) amusing, but in regards to,

"The only things in my post that should sting Canadians are the ones that are true. If you found nothing "true" in it, then why would it hurt you?"

Are you saying that the only things said about groups of people that sting are "true"? I am sorry, but are you really saying this? We all wish untrue things said about us did not hurt, but they do. I like making fun of Canadians, and I also believe it would be a more fun world if everyone could handle being made fun of equally, but think of what you are implying--that if words hurt us, they carry truth in them.

blaironaleash said...

here in the uk a stottie is a big old hunk of bread used for a sandwich that could break your foot if dropped.

rams said...

The problem seems to be imprecision of language. Teasing and ridiculing are different. I always liked Miss Manners's rule of thumb that family members can reasonably be allowed to tease one another about qualities they could be expected to be proud of -- long eyelashes, for example. By that token one could tease Canadians about politeness (if you bump into them they say "sorry") or hockey prowess. The fellow was a jerk; he was not the Canadian ambassador. The response was excessive and tactless -- it wasn't a lynching. Quick, Miss Snark -- today's posting, so we can change the subject. Or send in Killer Yap to moderate.

Ryan Field said...

Sha'el...

Last comment; well stated.

blaironaleash said...

Insulting isn't teasing and vice versa, and the latter (and the former, in plenty of examples) is a long way off racial abuse. Prop that straw man up a bit, love, he's about to fall over.

Anonymous said...

Black people make fun of white people all the time, so it's okay. I can make fun of black people because I have friends who are black! In fact, my cousin is black. Any black person who doesn't like what I say is only offended because it's true. Oh dear, let me tell you about all the black people in your history who you should be ashamed of.

Sorry, but I don't think it's right to be a bigot about anyone. I guess Canadians are just an easy target.

Anonymous said...

Sha'el, I wasn't after you-- as I said, it was the aggregate effect that was overwhelming. I think that if you felt compelled to address my "brick" comment, you must either have assumed I was addressing you (because of my affiliation with the commenter who did, perhaps!) or felt guilty as charged. :)

Mixed metaphor? Kind of. My point is that a brick hurled through a window doesn't need any further modification to be a brutal awakening, and that we seem to be refining our brutality here.

Aren't we all on the same team? Is there any reason to "tease" the fat kid who can't play well, rather than helping him/her train?

I hope none of you are like this in person.