Papa Was A Rollin' Stone

Hi Miss Snark!

I imagine some of the issues I'm having in the literary world (namely my status as a "published-challenged" individual) could stem from my general lack of SASE's in my partial packages. My excuse to myself has been my "establishe-roots-challenged" existence. For lack of better words, I'm a gypsy. My unfortunate childhood, confused adolescence, and alcoholism-ridden, "legally-challenged" young adulthood mean the most I've spent in one place since 16 is a year. So my "mobile" email address is a much better route to contact me. (As you can see, I'm quite the "challenged" individual!)

I realize this is my problem, and not the agents/editors who are kindly requesting partials. Up to now, I wasn't alluding to the reason behind the lack of SASE in my packages. Perhaps if I were to mention this briefly, it would help. Of course settling down would probably be the better solution; but Poppa was a rolling stone, and just like my daddy.

Three words: post office box.

And if you're moving state to state, invest in a mail forwarding service. You pay them a certain amount and they'll forward mail to you where ever you are. You may be more readily available by email but as everyone knows by now, sans SASE, Miss Snark has already recycled you.


Anonymous said...

I've always been curious about this quaint tradition since I first discovered it many years ago (the first time I submitted).

I think there's something heroically ironic about the fact that aspiring writers -- some of the poorest people I know (except for those who are REALLY poor) -- have to foot the postage for something they'd really rather not be doing, and then again for news they'd in most instances rather not hear.

This irony is only further compounded when occasional (say, every two - three years) postage rate increases mean that the time you've waited for a response has now left your SASE with insufficient postage -- and so it either ends up in the dead letter office, or comes back to you with a request for a few more cents. All for the joy of reading a form letter that says "Thanks, but no thanks."

I wonder whether this is because agents/publishers really fundamentally HATE new writers, or because they're simply tight-fisted little scoundrels.

Anyone have any insight?


Stephen said...

I wonder whether this is because agents/publishers really fundamentally HATE new writers, or because they're simply tight-fisted little scoundrels.

I am sure that we have been here before. Agents have no responsibility to those who send them unsolicited queries. Absolutely none. So why should they spend any money on them?

Anonymous said...

You can also have the US Postal Service forward your mail for free; they'll do it for up to one year. As a recent graduate, I can tell you that I moved plenty (once or twice per year) as a student.

Anonymous said...


This got played out in another thread -- which was not supposed to happen, but hey...this ain't MY blog.

I didn't mean to suggest that agents had any responsibilities to writers who submit unsolicited manuscripts -- or that they had any obligation to spend any money on them. In a perfect world, an agent would never have to see an ms he/she didn't love, and a writer would never have to send an ms to an unloving agent. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world.

I WOULD assume, however, that agents have a "responsibility" to make a living, maybe even support some additional hungry mouths -- just as writers do. My only point in this whole line of questioning was to try to determine at what point and by whose consent the up-front financial burden became the writer's rather than the agent's.

Perhaps we're moving in the direction of ICM, however, for whom NO submission (or even a query) will be considered unless the writer comes in with a personal recommendation from an existing client. It narrows the race; it tightens up the club. C'est la vie.

There's always the 'Net. And we'll see what happens with Macmillan's experiment.


Anonymous said...

Well, think about it.

We know agents need us writers to make money, but unless we're self-publishing, or we know the right people... our 5 years of hard slog is pretty damn useless without them.

For every agent out there, there are countless writers desperate for someone to fight their corner. Think of it from the agents point of view...

Why pay writers to send you their query/ms -- when thousands and thousands of people out there are beating down your door, trying anything to get you to read theirs? You're the one person they need to move upto the next level, and half of your day is literally spent trawling through crud for something you can sell anyway.

Maybe if you were guaranteed none crud (like a published author seeking new representation...) they might pay for your postage!

It's called supply and demand