Agents outside the 212

O Great Snark,

I've searched the Snarkives--but if you've answered this before I will immediately assume the nitwit position.

Should I limit my search for an agent to those working in the 212? Does an agent based in Los Angeles or Washington, DC or Boston for instance, really have the same access and clout as agents in NYC?

Thanks for all your Snarking...

Oh you should definitely limit your search to the 212. Make sure you never query that deeply suspect Agent Kristin in Denver. I mean...

Ow! Ow! Why is my hair on fire?

-bolt of lightning, sound of Angel Chorus, voice of Great Agent in the Sky-

GAS: Miss Snark, my pretty, make sure you know the writer understands Snarkasm when you say such outrageous things

MS: but but...it's a nitwit question Your Gaseousness. I mean..I have a LINK to Agent Kristin right -----> there

GAS: yes, but people sometimes only get your little blog via RSS. They may not know about the links

MS: but but...anyone who reads Publishers Marketplace would know Agent Kristin is one of the most effective agents working today

GAS: the writer didn't ask the PM now did he?? noooo.. he asked you. Now behave before I tell Mr. Clooney you've been turned into a frog

MS: ok ok. You don't have to get in such a solid state over this.

"No, you don't need an agent in the 212. You need an effective agent. Geography isn't a factor."

GAS: that's better. As penance you'll be picking up the check next time Agent Kristin comes to town. Wednesday will be just fine. Now get back to work. You have 15 partials to read today.

--Crash of thunderbolt,
Angel Chorus singing "fi! fi! Miss Snarkanian, why".

Dorrance Publishing Company

Dear Miss Snark,

A relative recently registered the copyright for her collection of children's stories. Today she got a letter from Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc., a subsidy publisher.

Is this a new trend? You register copyright for an unpublished work and the subsidy publishers move in for the kill? I suspect that people who know little about the world of publishing are likely to be caught by offers like these. And how exactly do the 'researchers' get details of manuscript registration, including people's mailing address, from the Library of Congress? Is that information public? I have not seen mention of this particular situation anywhere before.

Of course it's public. That's the whole point of registering a copyright: so people will know it's protected, and if a work is published who owns the rights and who needs to give permission for it to be used.

Subsidy publishing is a business like any other. You buy a car, you get a letter from Texas Hold Em Insurance Company offering a rate quote for cars with purple fins. Have a baby: get a call from a Burp and Spit life insurance company. Sign up for Gin of the Month Club and Versace Pail Pals is on your doorstep.

I have zero problem with Dorrance doing that. They are upfront about what they are and how they work. They don't say "get your book in bookstores" and they don't say "sell your work on Amazon". They say they publish books..and they do.

Subsidy publishing is not evil. It's not the same thing as general trade publishing. The subsidy publishers who try to get your business by telling you POD subsidy publishing is just like trade publishing only faster easier cheaper and sexier...those are the snake oil salespeople I revile.

Some Basic Guidelines on Writing Well

How to Write Good

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

3. Employ the vernacular.

4. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

5. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

6. Remember to never split an infinitive.

7. Contractions aren't necessary.

8. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

9. One should never generalize.

10. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

11. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

12. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

13. Be more or less specific.

14. Understatement is always best.

15. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

16. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

17. The passive voice is to be avoided.

18. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

19. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

20. Who needs rhetorical questions?

21. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

22. Don't never use a double negation.

23. capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with point

24. Do not put statements in the negative form.

25. Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

26. Proofread carefully to see if you words out.

27. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

28. A writer must not shift your point of view.

29. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)

30. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!

31. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to the irantecedents.

32. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

33. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

34. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

35. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

36. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

37. Always pick on the correct idiom.

38. The adverb always follows the verb.

39. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; They're old hat; seek viable alternatives.

(stolen of course thanks to Her Royal Goat Tenderness)


Software for novelists

I occasionally get questions in my in-box from folks who've visited my collection of links.

I try to help where I can, but sometimes I'm clueless ... Maybe your readers can give me an answer for this question that arrived in today's e-mailbag:

"Good afternoon,

"Do you have any idea where I might find out what type of software is most widely used today for novelists? Examples of authors in mind would be, Steven King, Anne Rice.

"Please and thank you for your time. "

Stephen King "sits before a dark green typewriter" Anne Rice uses a computer but no software program to help her write.

So what is the most widely used novel-writing software? ... and does it help the writing process? Can't find the answer in the Snarkives.

Well novelistas, have at it.


English Teachers Listing to Port

A Snarkling writes:

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners.....

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the ! ;East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up

Ok, call me exhausted beyond reason, but these are not all that horrible. Ok, they aren't exactly great, but with the right context, I could see reading on.

Miss Snark is Investigating a New Job...in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Language experts want to give Malaysia's literary agency the power to prosecute anyone who violates the purity of the Malay language, a newspaper said on Thursday.

Bahasa Melayu, spoken by ethnic Malays who account for just over half the population, is Malaysia's official language, but English is widely spoken, with Chinese dialects and Tamil used by those of Chinese or Indian descent.

The guardians of Malaysia's heritage would have their work cut out for them if the National Language (Purity and Preservation) Act 2006 became law, and not least while monitoring sessions of parliament, the Sun newspaper said.

"A language campaign when our honourable MPs are engaged in full-throated name-calling would undoubtedly yield a handsome crop of summonses and an arrest warrant or two, to boot," it said in an editorial comment.

But the wider population ran many risks, too.

"Do you freeze in mid-sentence and unscramble your corrupted grammar lest the sharp-eared pundits of the language house haul you up for the wilful murder of the gerund?" the paper asked.

(thanks to the non-royal pixie for the heads up)

What is it with directions?

It's bad enough half the population won't ask for them while driving the wrong way down Mulhollend looking for Knotts Berry Farm...but why is it when you HAVE them you can't follow them??

Miss Snark..yes, she's in the slush pile again.

First, of course some nitwit didn't include an SASE..he "preferred" email. Yea, well I prefer a higher credit limit at Saks but it doesn't mean I get to buy those Chanel pumps now does it?

Second, don't start your cover letter with "Hi My Name is Chip and I'll be your Querier Tonight". I know your name and I know you're writing a query letter. The fact you don't realize you don't have to spell out every last detail bodes very very poorly for any kind of elegance in your writing.

Third, please I beg of you, don't compare yourself to John Grisham, Dan Brown, Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Picoult, Truman Capote, JD Salinger, or doghelpusall GOD ("this book is divinely inspired!"). I don't care if you KNOW it's true. You know your kid is the best looking grandchild in the family..doesn't mean you say so at family gatherings.

Fourth, please do not tell me your novel will appeal to women who watch Oprah. Women who watch Oprah like things that Oprah likes. Unless Oprah picks your book for her book club, those women aren't even gonna hear about it. And unless you are Oprah, or her mom, you haven't got much of an inside track, so just move on to more rational ideas.

Fifth, leave off all the references to how carefully you researched my website and list. I swear the people who are the most strident about this are the ones who get some really basic stuff wrong: my name, my address, my gender...yanno the stuff that's really hard to find out since it's on the first page of the site.

Sixth, try not to send your query in an envelope that looks like an invoice. Sure, I open it, but then I'm so annoyed I just don't even want to read it. Why raise the barrier higher than it already is? You don't look savvier, more professional or like a better writer if you send your letter in a company envelope. You look cheap and insecure.

Seventh, when sending an SASE, you'd be very smart to fold the gummed flap to the opposite side before folding it. More than one envelope has self sealed in the mail cause it's humid as hell in NYC right now and we don't air condition the mail box...silly us.

Eighth...any novel that is "red hot" cause it's about the vagaries of George Bush is an automatic pass. George Bush is going to be out of office in two years. No one is going to give a rat's ass about him after that.

Ninth...don't send anything shrink wrapped. I assume it's junk mail and throw it away.

And that's the nine innings for Team Snark tonight.

Someone get that man a Beverage Alert stamp!

This novel is the first of a series, and is followed by “Prophet” and “Patriarch.” In the second book, he struggles to reform the society he has fallen into; in the third book, he battles the gods.

Evil Editor's comment:
[In this corner, weighing in at 158 pounds, the favorite, a mechanical engineer, MacGyver. And in this corner, Thor, Neptune, Zeus, and George Clooney.]

and after the Beverage alert rubber stamp, a reminder that contrary to the hopes of lesser mortals, Mr. Clooney is NOT mythical.


Be Miss Snark...cause words fail me

Miss Snark,

I am an inspiring writer (that must be a ‘most common phrase’) and I have a question regarding market research. How could I go about researching the market as far as fiction trends? How long do trends last in the publishing world? And lastly, about non-fiction, How would I find out the most marketable non-fiction subjects and can you write non-fiction without a specialty or without credentials in that subject?

Also, a note on how wonderful you are for sharing your knowledge on the mystery we have commonly named, ‘Literary Agent’ a fleeting existence that causes more tears than a Pediatric Doctor, more frustration than taxes and hopefully more happiness than an ice cream truck in the getto. I appreciate the knowledge, and will continually follow your Blog.

All suggestions for the correct response will be received with gratitude.
Now, off to chase the Mr. Softee truck with the other kids.

National Book Festival

This year's National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, is slated for September 30. The free event, which will be hosted by First Lady Laura Bush and held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, is intended as a celebration of reading.

Now in its sixth year, the Festival will offer the public a chance to hear over 70 authors, illustrators and poets—from a wide array of genres including children's, YA, history, thrillers and general fiction—discussing their craft. Among the participating authors are: Khaled Hosseini, Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks, Joan Didion, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Taylor Branch and Kai Bird. For more information about the festival, including a more complete list of authors attending and planned events, click here

(this wasn't just ripped from the headlines of PW, it was lifted wholesale)

AweFull Books---the list

Here's the complete list of the AweFull books!

Thanks to Kirsten for doing this!!

It Was a Dark and Stormy Contest

but the winners have now seen the light of day.

Evil Editor has a permanent Beverage Alert

I'm not sure what I like best about the Evil Editor: his comments, his asides, his advice or his handsome face. I laugh pretty hard at all four...oh wait... I mean three. Here's the latest aside that made me glad the coffee was safely in the pot, not near my nose and headed for the keyboard.

[Are you the animal detective?
Yes, what can I do for you?
My chicken's been murdered.
I'll take the case. Suspect anyone in particular?
Yes, the goat.
Which goat?
The goat in whose mouth I found my chicken.
What does the goat have to say?
Says the chicken was already dead.
And what do you say?
I . . . loved that chicken. I say give the goat the chair.
The chair? But he's just a kid!]

Agents with Hoops: Jump! Jump!

Dear Miss Snark,

I definitely want to hear your take on this one: an agent I found listed on Publishers Marketplace only accepts queries from unpublished writers IF they subscribe - for $29.95/half a year - to the agency's literary magazine.

I checked the guy out on Predators and Editors and they don't have any warning attached to his name. (I think that may change in about 52 seconds)

Isn't this the same as paying to be read? (no)

Is this a bit scummy? (wellllll.....)

The idea of making you subscribe to this magazine before you can query is hilarious. I wonder if it actually works?

What makes this different from reader fees is that you are not paying for them to read your work, you're paying to read theirs. On the other hand...have you actually seen the magazine? Given I pay $25 a year for my New Yorker subscription, I doubt they've got anything I'm willing to pay $60/year to read.

Reading the slush pile is part of our job. Inventing ingenious ways to make it profitable or engaging in shenanigans to make it go away should be viewed as comic relief not the practice of an agent I'd care to work with.


Dearest Miss Snark, our lady of the brazen wit,

Once upon a time ago, when I got it through to my dad that I was serious about this writing thing, he said, "You should apprentice with a literary agent." I looked at him like he was utterly mad--no one apprentices anymore. What is this, the Middle Ages?

Now I'm in college and I see that we just use a different word for it: Interning. And dear old Dad's idea sounds better and better as the Real World starts making 'Hello, I'm here and waiting for you' noises.

These internships do exist. I've Googled and searched my college's listings and they are out there. Unfortunately, Google and college listings are notorious for finding some less than desirable results. Is there a resource for finding legit agents willing to have an unpaid slave for the semester?

What skills would a literary agent most likely be looking for in an intern? What skills should I cultivate? (Aside, of course, from the ability to wade through the slush pile without getting a million paper cuts.)

Would the agent or company I intern with be able to represent me, or would that be a conflict of interest? I know better than to whack them upside the head with my proposal the moment I land the job, but when would it be appropriate to bring it up? Would I have to wait to formerly show something until I'd finished working there? Does this even happen at ALL? If it is, should I also be trying to find an agent in the same field on which I write?

Even if I didn't get an agent via interning, the contacts and experience would no doubt be invaluable. As is your advice. I now await your verdict. Is daddy right, or was my initial "You are NUTS, man!" closer to the truth?

There are ads for interns on Publishers Marketplace, so that's the first place to check. I know several of my colleagues have interns who are students in the publishing program at NYU and Pace, so if you're at those schools, they've probably got a list of agencies looking for people.

What skills are we looking for? Same as in an assistant. Reliability, punctuality, an ability to take and execute directions without screwing up too much.

My interns don't read the slush pile. They xerox, file, update data bases, and other things that actually teach them something about the industry. I do know other places do things differently.

The fact you are a writer will come up at some point of course. Don't ask to have anyone read your work. Ever. If they offer, great. Don't expect them to. Don't be hurt if they don't. Chances are, right now, at the start of your career, you'll need to make a lot of mistakes in your writing before you hit your stride. I don't want to talk to people I've rejected, let alone sit next to them for three months from 9-5.

Interning is a good way to suck up knowledge. It's not a fast track to finding representation.


Nan Talese interview

Here's the link to a nice interview with Nan Talese in New York Brain Terrain, one of my bookmarked sites.


oh dear dog, words fail me

Surfing around while sucking up the vegetable lo mein, I checked in at Making Light and got diverted by one of TNH's always fun particles and next thing you know I have nasal lo mein.... TMI? well, yea, .... so put down your beverages before reading this from my favorite POD-dy Mouth girl or you too will suffer as I have.

Yes, Email Questions are Answered on the Blog..ONLY

Just a reminder in case you are both new and clue-free.
Email questions are answered on the blog.
No exceptions.

If you don't want your question answered on the blog, don't send it.
I'm not running a private coaching service here; I'm not giving one on one critiques.

I'll leave off your name, and specifics that identify you but if you email me a question, don't expect a private reply.


Your agent sux

I signed with an agent over a year ago. She supposedly sent out my piece to 12 editors. I never got a sub schedule. Supposedly, she's never heard back from any of them. (It's been 9 months) I asked her for the sub sched recently and she's ignoring me. Generally, it's hard getting her to return my emails or calls. What's your take on this? How should I proceed? No name -- to protect an already fragile agent/client relationship

What relationship? That would imply a give and take, or communication, or ... yanno, cooperation.

You don't have an agent. You have someone tying up your work and treating you like you don't matter. That's crap.

You are a client, you have the right (if not the obligation) to ask where you work has been, and what's been said about it. Normally I can tell you in five seconds what EXACTLY is going on with your work. (I may not be able to explain why it hasn't sold, but I can give you the basic rundown on who/what/where) Sometimes, if I'm busy, or over worked, and haven't gotten caught up on my notes, I'm a day or two behind. Very, very rarely much more than that because I have to know what's going on with your stuff so I can sell it. Every other agent I know is exactly like this.

And the idea that not one editor has responded after nine months means someone isn't doing her job. Since it's not your job to call editors...that leaves her.

You need to have a talk with this slacker ass agent and you need to start looking for a new one. Not necessarily in that order.

Am I Your One True Love?

Dear Miss Snark:

I am looking for a new literary agent, after spending a few (unfruitful - ie she didn't sell anything) years with a very respected agent who has been around for dogs years and has a very full client list (I felt I wasn't on her radar, really).

I am in the process of querying several people. One young person at a very large, well-known literary and talent agency asked me point blank if I were approaching several people - I parried, and referred to the agent I just
jettisoned. My feeling is it's simply not necessary for her to know what I am doing or am not doing, since she has not offered to represent me - she's still working on reading a proposal and a few very short book chapters for a nonfiction project.

Was I (or am I) under any obligation to inform her I'm shopping?


Most of us know where we rank in the pantheon. I'd be a self obsessed idiot (rather than just self obsessed) if I thought you were shopping for a new agent and only talking to one person. Now, were I Binky Urban, Nicole Aragi or Jenny Bent..well, that's a horse in a different neighborhood.

Mostly we ask cause we want to know what the competition is and who else has her claws into you.

You can finess it by saying "I'm investing a great deal of thought and energy into finding a good match".

Don't lie ("you're my one and only") and don't name the competition ("you're number six ..but with a bullet!").

It sounds like you're doing exactly the right thing.

Writing Credential Mid-Stream

Miss Snark,

As you shop around a client's book, do you like to hear from that client when he/she has published a piece in a significant magazine or lit. journal, or received a respected award, even if it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the book? Do you add that info to the client's credentials when contacting the next round of publishers?

It also gives me a reason to call up anyone looking at his/her book and say "Im so thrilled to tell you that s/he has had a story accepted by the New Yorker ".

Hey, why haven't you responded to the query I sent you 43,000 minutes ago!!!

Dear Miss Snark,

I have several queries (plus first chapter) that have been with agents for slightly more than a month and I understand from your words of wisdom that it's now appropriate for me to nudge them. My question is this: can you elucidate on the art of the nudge?

I don't want my gentle nudge to cause these agents to reach for their form rejections. Have you ever received a nudge that didn't make you want to do exactly that? No

No doubt brevity is in order, and accusations of malingering must be avoided. Should I also avoid the "I know you're very busy" cliche (even though it's true)? Should I include a copy of my original query? (I'm guessing not.) (actually yes, you should) Do you recommend anything more than a simple, Dear Ms. Agent, I queried you regarding my literary novel X on DATE. As you can imagine, I'm eager to hear your response so that I can rejoice (and yes, even getting asked for a partial would cause me to rejoice) or continue my search for representation. Sincerely, Aspiring Author?

Ok, here's the dog's honest truth. I HATE nudges. HATE HATE HATE. Try to avoid them if you can restrain yourself.

I really don't want to hear from you, particularly if it's one second after "the deadline".

However, knowing my colleagues (ok, me too) are lazy ass slackers, nudges are a fact of life.

The art to sending one is much like one hand clapping: devoutly to be sought, rarely attained.

First, wait twice as long as the posted guidelines. At the top of my fecal roster are email nudges from someone right after I sent them a rejection letter or two days after I've first read the thing.

Second, couch it as: "Dear Miss Snark, I mailed you a query on December 25, 2005. I've enclosed a copy with an SASE in case it was not received." This covers the possibility that you didn't send an SASE, that said SASE got lost in the mail, or any other reason you haven't heard back.

Under NO circumstances do you say "I guess you're too busy to respond" or "I guess this means no" or "you rude trollop I'm telling Grandmother Snark". I've gotten versions of all three and I didn't even have to read the material to know what I was going to do with it.

Just keep querying. All you see is the query you sent me; all I see is a stack of mail that towers over KY even when he's on his skate board dashing off to the mailbox.

Burying the Evidence

Greetings Snark Lord of The Publishing Underworld, and your Killer Yap, too:

I recently wasted my first novel on a POD press run by an idiot in his garage. (My career nitwit moment.) Thankfully, he was too incompetent to keep records, as evidenced by some of the other authors who didn't get paid. However, this also contributed to garage nitwit's downfall.

I'm now shopping my second book. Since the first one's sales were statistically insignificant - as in nobody who should have kept statistics, if only to show the IRS - should I bother mentioning this one in agent queries?


Back in the saddle after falling off a pony

Is there an ISBN?
Is there copyright registration?
Does it show up if I google your name?

If you answer no on two or more, you can keep it under your hat at the query stage. All three, and you probably never need to tell anyone outside the bar when you're regaling Miss Snark with tales of woe at the next writing conference.

If the answer is yes to two or more, better to fess up, exactly as you did here.

The reason is, if you've been published the next one isn't your debut. I can finess that if I have to but I want to know I need to rather than discovering on Page Six that the Smoking Gun loves you a lot.

A Good Kick to the (Crystal) Balls

Dear Miss Snark,

Having just completed my third romance, I packed it off to an agent who requested the full. That's the good news.

Trouble is, there is no new romance in the offing. My muse is dragging me in another direction...mystery.

So, now I can no longer market myself as a talented up-and-coming romance writer, since I believe agents and publishers prefer their newbies to have long haul potential. Is there any chance I can still seek an agent or publisher for my romances, or am I basically back to square one in my writing career?

Don't worry about a book you haven't written, an agent you haven't got and a publisher you don't have. You keep gnashing your teeth over things you can't control and you'll need Killer Yapp to soften your t-bone for you (and he's not keen on actually giving it back).

Just keep writing and improving. We'll deal with the rest when the time comes.

POD people...cause this is my favorite topic of course

Dear Miss Snark:

Could we hear your comments about the likelihood of a POD book being picked up by a commercial publishing house? Do POD publishers share in any royalties if the book is picked up? Would an agent in his/her right mind take on a POD book in an attempt to sell it commercially? Have you ever received a POD book in the mail for representation? If so, what did you do with it?

Let's start with a basic review of terms. POD is a way to print books. (Yes I get lazy and misuse it too). What you're asking is if a writer self publishes a book using POD technology, OR "sells" his/her book to one of the vanity publishers that uses POD, is there a chance it will get "picked up".

Picked up is TV or sports jargon. In publishing, we talk about selling rights. Your question is, I think: If I publish with a company like Lulu.com, or iUniverse, or on my own with a small print run, will a big house be interested in acquiring the rights.

Answer: probably not. Totally not if you write a novel. Less totally but still not much if you write non fiction, and totally totally not if you write poems or family cookbooks or family genealogy. Now before you find the exception to this and wave it in my font howling "you're WRONG!!", remember there are always one or two exceptions to the 50,000 books published that way and if you want to spend time and money trying to be 1:50K, go for it.

IF by some stroke of marketing genius you do end up selling rights to the book to someone else, whether the first publisher shares in any of the money is dependent on the contract. Whether you are able to sell the rights is also a matter of the contract language. If the first publisher own the rights, you can't sell them till you get them back.

I don't know of many agents who are keen on selling previously published work unless something else sweetens the deal.

People have sent me previously published books without querying. I throw them away. The library won't take them, and I'm not schlepping them to Housing Works on the train.

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.

Killer Yapp's Book du Jour

When not protecting the balcony against bold yet foolish pigeons, or selecting Miss Snark's Central Park perambulation, KY likes to recline on his bark-0-lounger and read. Thanks to the Bookslut he's reading this

Fiction based on real life is called...


Is there such a thing as Fictmoire? You know, fiction that is really based on real life stuff, and not ashamed to admit it.

Royalty statements.

roman a clef