Miss Snark Gets Wicked

This was my first conference pitching a story and was very happy to have three requests for partial submissions. (one editor and two agents) YAY..but then a fellow author said they just ask out of courtesy..Huh? I would think the last thing you want is another package of 3 chapters or 100 pages flooding your office if you don't intend to read it, but it put the question in my head anyway.

REWIND to Writers Conference

Snarkling: I'm very excited! Two agents and an editor asked to see my partial. What a happy day!

Fellow Author: oh they just ask out of courtesy; it doesn't really mean anything.

Cue: sudden burst of lightning, giant pink balloons fall from ceiling and MISS SNARK arrives in a bubble like Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, accompanied by KILLER YAPP in sunglasses, burberry velvet smoking jacket and matching chapeau.

MS: (Seizes FA by throat and enunciates slowly) WTF? Is this how you respond to good news? You churlish, mealy mouthed sapsucking nitwit. YOU may think it's a courtesy cause YOUR work came back with a rejection at the speed of light, but don't assume that's the default setting. You're clearly a person of limited social skills and rampant nitwittery so YOU will not have much luck connecting to someone at a personal meeting but other people do not share your lack of social graces. People such as the Snarkling here, to whom it did not even occur that you are jealous back biting nimrod; instead she doubted herself.

Killer Yapp bites FA on ankle, spits out bile, reaches for an Altoid

No, it's not just a courtesy. I've said no to plenty of things at conferences.

And even if it WAS just a courtesy, that person is a pill for saying so. May the earth swallow 'em up.


Mindy Tarquini said...

This business is hard enough without taking it on the chin from our colleagues. Mama told me that being gracious and supportive will never make one look like a nitwit.

Maya Reynolds said...

Miss Snark went to see "Wicked," didn't she?

Alli said...

Miss Snark and M.G. Tarquini are right - good luck with the submissions and don't lose your confidence, a request is a request!!

Brady Westwater said...

Did the writer elsewhere mention the gender of the offender - or did you just assume that it was a ... meow.... woman?

Anonymous said...

A conference submission is how I got my agent - and later, a two-book deal. The fact of the matter is, THREE asked, not one. This may be a courtesy and it may be interst. They could be kind or you could have something really good. Why let self-doubt have a role in this? Just send out your pages and hope.

Anonymous said...

That fellow author was a rude jerk, goes without saying, but let's get to the meat of the question: Do agents and editors routinely ask to see stuff that they aren't really very interested in to either be nice or, more likely, to appease the organizers of the conference who depend on good vibes all around to perpetuate conference attendence?

Miss Snark, do you treat pitches at a conference the same way as you do slush pile pitches, or are you a little kinder?

McKoala said...

Loving the Fairy Snarkmother. Come to my rescue one day?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Jealousy is no excuse for pettiness.

I would have felt crushed, then angry, then I'd make it into a funny story and tell it to my friends.

Miss Snark said...

the gender of the offender is neutral and I believe it continues to be that in my commentary. "She" is the Snarkling who wrote to me, and as far as I know, she's a she.

Miss Snark said...

yup Maya, she did.
She liked it too, sneerers be damned.

Victoria said...

Dear Miss Snark,

This post just reminds me of how wonderful you are. Indeed, you are like the Good Witch! Except better! And with gin!

Thanks for doing this :)

Miss Snark said...

Miss Snark is never kind. It's against her Code Of Snarkical Conduct.

Anonymous said...

So what if the read is a courtesy! It still gets a writer's work on an editor or agent's desk and isn't that what you need to eventually sell your work?

I had an appointment at a conference that led to an editor reading and buying my book...and I don't care if she did it as a courtesy or not....

A foot in the door, er..a book on the desk is never a bad thing...

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss Snark,

An executive editor at a major house asked to see my ms after an advance reading at a conference. What is the best way to convey this opportunity in the query to my target agents?

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of us.

- A Snarkling with high hopes.

Anonymous said...

If such a request is indeed just a courtesy, it is still an opportunity, and only a nitwit would be stupid enough to not follow it up.

Eva said...

Doesn't it seem as though no matter what our successes, writers can never escape self-doubt? Do you think that's what partly motivates us to publish? We need some audience to affirm us?

If an editor requests a partial from me at the NYC conference, I don't care about his or her motive. I will be so happy, so happy, so happy!

Rhonda Helms said...

I heart Miss Snark. :D Well done.

And no, they don't always ask for partials - I had friends at writers' conferences who didn't get a request at all.

In fact, when I pitched to an editor, she asked me to make a few changes before I submitted to her.

So congrats to you for getting THREE! That's awesome.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone and especially Miss Snark, for clearing that up.
I'm not going to pass on an opportunity, even a backhanded one, so the submissions are ready to mail. I just thought the whole thing was odd and who better to ask the straight skinny than Miss Snark.

BTW yes the offender's gender was female.

Jenna Petersen said...

Miss Snark, you rule!

Anonymous said...

That story sounds familiar. I received a positive response to a query from an editor some years back--my first! I was thrilled and shared it with someone I thought was a friend. Her repsonse (insert subtle,bitchy tone): "It's only a yes to a query, not a yes to a sale." True, but in this nutty business I think one should enjoy every stinkin' positive moment, even a little one. Real friends get that and cheer you on to the next small victory. Those who don't are not friends. A pox on them!

Anonymous said...

I have attended a couple of conferences and have pitched to eds and agents. The eds have all gotten back, in a semi-reasonable timeframe. The agents take forever. In fact, one of my manuscripts ("Oh, please send the full!") is still lying someplace around one agent's office (in that shared suite), for four years.
So courtesy? (Whichever way you mean it.) Not always.

Yasmine Galenorn said...

Go Miss Snark! And KY of course. No agent or editor I've ever dealt with has asked to see pages out of courtesy--man, they're all too busy to look at anything that doesn't strike their interest. Tell Fellow Author to take his/her angst and put it to good use at the keyboard instead of undercutting your joy.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that fellow writers are very stingy with praise and encouragement.... and very liberal with warnings. In fact, before I went to the very same writer's conference, I was told by my writing workshop instructor the same thing [that a yes may just be out of courtesy].

Harry Connolly said...

I have only been to one conference, and I met several people there who had their pitches rejected.

Not me, of course, but other people, definitely.

Anonymous said...

I find this interesting. I attended a writing conference for the past two years and had several requests for manuscripts, and my experience is that at least two of the editors and one of the agents had no interest in looking at the material.

I attended with two other writers (both excellent, fwiw) and both of them were also requested to submit partials. And all of us never heard back from one specific publisher and one agent. Requests to follow up were never responded to. I later found out from another writer that this one editor does this to everyone. In fact, we have been unable to find a writer whom he did not ask for a partial.

I still think conferences are an invaluable resource (I've made good contacts) but there may be some editors who think it's easier to reject via email, snail mail, or silence, rather than face to face.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Black Snark, the Agent
With Apologies to Robert Lewis Stevenson

"Miss Snark is never kind. It's against her Code Of Snarkical Conduct."

An Insta Poem by Rachael

Fifteen novels on an Agent's desk
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of Gin.

The agent reads one and starts to grin.
Yo ho ho and she pours some more in her tin.

The next she reads has a ghost in tow.
Yo ho ho, and isn't that a sin?

She frowns and gives it a throw!
I knew, she says, they'd sneak that in.

It would have worked too, the author will think.
If only she'd read about the shroud so pink.

Yo ho ho ! The agent snarls. I need some more gin.
This book really does stink.

The next she pulls from the pile,
Yo ho ho, and opens another.

Yo ho ho, she mutters with a frown.
This author reminds me of a clown.

Tying up a manuscript with a ribbon and blow
Is (yo ho ho) kinda low.

She comes to number fifteen and is ready to vent her spleen.
But she shouts He he he! This one pleases me!

Ok, so it's a poor poem. But, can't you envision Snarky with a bandana round her head and her cutlas leaning against the desk?

I want to know if it's Snarkie or Killer who wears the black eye patch when rejecting submissions?