Dear Miss Snark,

I'm getting worried by some of the recent posts: when is 15% not 15%? If my agent sells my book she'll take 15% of what she gets for it. Fine. Great. But can she also levy other, additional charges? In the future, will she charge me for photocopies, postage for submissions, cups of tea? No, really, I'm going to see her for "a cup of tea" next week. How much is that cup of tea gonna cost me when she's finally sold my book?

Also, is someone who's totally addicted to your wonderful, sexy-beast self called a "snarkhead", or is there another term?

Yours, in rapture,

err...Snarkhead? yipes.

"Snarkling" is the term. And a group of Snarklings is a devotion. Like a group of crows is a murder. And a group of lizards is a lounge.

ALL reputable agents cap the expenses at a particular number and say they can't spend more than that figure without your ok. Mine is $300.

Don't obsess about this. I can't remember the last time I billed a client for expenses, and we never ever ever bill them for lunch, or tea, or whiskey. Photocopies, messenger fees, postage. The cost associated with getting your work into the hands of people who can buy it. Lunchies, drinkies and bail are on me.


Poshcat said...

Lunchies, drinkies and bail are on me.

Probably in that order,too.

McKoala said...

I'd be the coolest in the cooler if Miss Snark posted bail for me.

Anonymous said...

Bail?! The agent of my dreams, and she's only a fantasy!

Elektra said...

Is it sad that I'm tempted to misdemeanor merely to call Miss Snark for bail?

Oooh, are there any minor crimes that involve George Clooney? If not, maybe I could just TP Mel Gibson's house. Though certain cops may be more inclined to join than arrest me...

John B said...

Lunchies, drinkies and bail are on me.

Why didn't you say so before? Now I know I need an agent!

Anonymous said...

"a group of lizards is a lounge"

HA! You caused me to spew coffeee with that as, at the same time I was reading your blog, my darling sadistic feline walked through the door of our tropical home with yet another lizard clamped in its jaws.

Wish I'd thought of that one. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My impression is that expenses are way down with the advent of electronic submission. Attaching a doc file to an email costs nothing compared to Fedex, etc.

I initially snail-mailed my proposal to my agent, and she asked me to email her a copy so she work on being able to share it more easily.

River Falls said...

My agent deducts expenses such as photocopies, postage, and messenger fees. I don't recall if she has a specific cap, but the deductions have always been reasonable so it's never been an issue.

Maya Reynolds said...

And I know this because Miss Snark told me so when I asked her last year after finding the clause in my contract: Legitimate agents will NEVER ask for a check upfront from the client. Whatever that small expense fund might be ($150, $250, $350), it will be deducted from the income; meaning, don't pay an agent upfront for expenses. Expect to see those expenses deducted from the first check you receive on a book that has been sold.

judy said...

It's nice to know that an agent will bail you out of jail. I'm supposing that you'd have to be a good client to get that service. Or perhaps a real money maker. What I'm wondering is how many writers do end up in jail and for what?

And if you live in NYC and your client lives on the West Coast, do you wire the money or do you come pick them up?

Chris said...

Thanks for the advice river falls - always good to hear it from someone on the other side of the fence...

scott e.d. said...

Re: snarkling-
From dict.die.net:

"-ling \-ling\ (-l[i^]ng). [AS. -ling.]
A noun suffix, commonly having a diminutive or a depreciatory force; as in duckling, gosling, hireling, fosterling, firstling, underling."

Sorry. I've been a Deadhead, I've been a Parrothead, I am a gearhead; I could perhaps call myself a Snarkhead, because I do enjoy your site, and head as a suffix denotes enthusiasm. Snarkhead would denote loyal following *without* causing one to feel belittled, or cute. So no ling for me. Whenever I've read the word, I've imagined a bunch of fuzzy little sheeplike creatures following a woman in high heels with a yappy dog who thinks he's a shepherd and nips at the heels of said fuzzy creatures to keep them in line. No thanks. But thanks for the site and the information, anyway.

bill e. goat said...

If Miss Snark would free me from my obligations to my owner by paying a large ransom (say large enough to self-publish my new semi-biographical novel, Don Juan as a Goat) I'd be most grateful.

Send the money to a numbered Cayman Islands account (I'll send you the number in an email) and after I get it, I'll go on the lamb (only figuratively, of course; I don't DO sheep).

I'll abscond to a petting zoo located near an airport in ... say ... umm New Jersey. You can pick me up in a limo and we'll fly off to Brazil. They don't extradite goats from Brazil, do they?

Then we can dance the night away in Rio. It doesn't matter to me at all that you only have two legs and no hooves. At least it's something I can overlook. ...

Bill E. Goat

PS: My mistress has seen this and is forcing me to admit that I have two left hooves, don't dance well, and need a bath.

She's also making me tell you that I don't have a numbered account (yet). And she is making me say that if you want me, you can have me for free, no ransom needed, though you should still free to send me the money. And she's repeating that she won't pay to have my wonderful, biographical, and explicit novel published. She says, in her most insulting way, that the world doesn't care how many French Alpines I've known and loved. I'm certain she's wrong, aren't you?

Dear Miss Snark, you must rescue me from a life of servitude to a mean Princess who doesn't appreciate my literary talent and who doesn't understand the difference between a great smell and spoiled cabbage! Bath indeed!

If I don't respond to your emails right off, don't worry. I'm hiding out until the threat of soap and water dissipates.

dan said...

Y'know I checked three dictionaries just now and only one of them defined "murder" was a flock of crows.

* The New Oxford American Dictionary 2nd Edition has no mention of crows under "murder" (you can check, it comes with mac OS X).

* Webster's New World Dictionary 3rd College Edition also mentioned no crows.

* Dictionary.com, based on some American Heritage dictionary, defines "murder" as a flock of crows and also includes it in a note on synonyms for "flock".

I've been doing this a lot since starting to write a novel. It's starting to bother me when my dictionaries don't agree, Miss Snark.

(This post was brought to you courtesy of Dan Procrastinating, Ltd., a subsidiary of DanCo International.)

Jenny said...

So let me see if I've got this pecking order right; editors buy lunches for agents who buy lunches for writers. Sounds like the editor has the roughest deal, and the agent spends the most time at lunch.

Word verification: hyxob - a very old fashioned candy.

Greta LaGarbeaux said...

I don't know, Scott. "Snarkhead" sounds a lot like "snakehead." You know, those evil fish everybody wants to eliminate?

How about "Snarkerati"? "Snarkophile"? "Snarkoholic"? "Snarkster"? "Snark-struck"?

Anonymous said...

How about Snarknik?