No, thank YOU!

Dear Ms. Snark,

I am on deadline for a book for HarperCollins – due Monday! – but I am in good shape.

Just wanted to say – love the blog. As a successful author (thank you Lord Jesus!) I normally don’t pay that much attention to the “how do I get an agent side of things” but I got a huge kick out of your blog. I am a former journalist and through a friend, my agent asked to meet me, and after that, it was all pretty simple.

BTW, I know Joanna Pulcini – I am represented by Linda Chester… Joanna is a lovely girl, and you are most decidedly not her. She is also hugely devoted to her clients, so I cannot imagine she would have the time for a blog.

Okay – back to work!

Thanks so much for you letter. I got a huge kick out of it too. Fortunately I've learned to recognize what the left hand is doing when the right hand is dishing up compliments. I'm really sorry to hear you can't imagine an agent who is devoted to her clients has time to blog. But that's ok: one of my great pleasures in this blog is helping people discover new things.

Okay - back to work!!


Anonymous said...

Heh... Did he know what an asshat thing that was to say?

Anonymous said...

Dear Successful Author.

I am on deadline with Penguin Books - in two weeks! - but I am in good shape, whatever the hell that means.

Just wanted to say - missed the point of your post. As a successful author (thank you, Powers That Be!) I normally don't waste my time reading the "how to be catty side of things" but I got indigestion from your ramblings. I am a current hard working author and literary agents have my deepest respect. It's all pretty simple.

BTW, I know Marianne Mancusi - I also love Meg Cabot... Mari is a lovely author, and you are most decidedly not her. She is also hugely devoted to her writing, so I cannot imagine she would have time for assinine notes.

Okay - back to work!

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a HarperCollins author. And I'd like to take the time to vomit politely all over her letter.

I actually have a frenemy like this. As she toots her husbands horn, she flattens mine. Since I've been published, her husband is planning to write a bestseller. And he'll certainly be published quicker than me and to more acclaim. Oh, and MY agent is going to pounce on hubby when he calls to query. They don't believe me that a querier doesn't call. They think I'm just afraid of my agent.

Sigh. I need new friends. And therapy, but mostly new friends.

Poodle Girl

P.S. Maybe Miss Snark could offer up a cutting response a lowly author could shoot back with? All I do now is imagine stuffing her little rodent head into the fence.

Anonymous said...

Anon #2,

"...but I am in good shape, whatever the hell that means."

I guess her ass is sublime, too.

Poodle Girl

Kitty said...

Before Mr. Very Important Writer burns anymore bridges, he should seek some help.

Bernita said...

You nailed it, Anon Two!
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Haha! I was reading it and thinking why is this person going on about his deadline and being a published author, and then came the punch line and I realized it was a dis cred: pumping up your credentials before you're going to criticize your opponent. That's hilarious.

I think the blog is useful. I think it delivers solid information in an easy-to-digest format. Ut might be occasionally mean but never condescending. I wouldn't read it if all it did was pimp your clients' books.

Anonymous said...

Okay, we can take advantage of this excresence (after scratching our heads and saying to ourselves, "he thinks this achieves what?").

How would you make a guy like this the protagonist of a novel? Given that people have to like the protagonist and that the twisted protagonist (ala The Talented Mr. Ripley) can be a difficult journey.

Anonymous said...

I used to work with a heavy-set girl who smelled like cheetos (it was her feet, she would take off her shoes in her cubicle) and she used to tell stories about herself that could maybe be true, except that they were really far fetched, and could never be proven.
For example, she would say, "I used to work as Alice at Disneyland," but could never bring in pictures to prove this.

While browsing on the internet, I am often reminded of cheetoes-girl (pun intended). There's no way to prove or disprove anything that anyone says about their real life without taking real (possibly illegal) efforts to stalk them.

Most people forget this, and take everything internet strangers say to heart, as in: "Your book sucks! You're fat! I am the Minister of Finance in Swaziland and you, sir, are no accountant!"

I'd think that, by now, if Miss Snark were spewing lies, she would have been discredited. Whoever she is, she apparently knows enough to hold her own, able to write at length about agenting and publishing and is overall accurate.

What do we know from Mr/Miss Email Troll? "I have a deadline on Monday...I have time to waste sending trashy emails."
Yeah, right. My bet is this letter is revenge for a crap-o-meter.

Ellen said...

I don't know what's funnier--that letter or your readers' responses.

Kudos to all the anonymous posters. Love to start my day out laughing!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2, you just made me laugh on a very crappy day. That was hilarious - and spot on!

Anonymous said...

Frenemy is my new favorite word!

I think writers--or anyone else striving for success in the arts--have frenemies like no others.

Love it.

As to the original post, the skewers were nicely pointed and well-deserved.

Anonymous said...

"Joanna is a lovely girl, and you are most decidedly not her.


Well, you're not successful on this blog (another case of bad manners, even though she/he is entitled to express his/her opinion whenever, wherever, right?).

Anonymous said...

I imagine Ms. Chester running through her rolodex, cheeks burning in embarrassment, mumbling, "Who has a Monday deadline?"

Diana Peterfreund said...

What do we know from Mr/Miss Email Troll? "I have a deadline on Monday...I have time to waste sending trashy emails."

Oh, but anonymous #6, you forget that the BEST time to send random emails (blog/blog hop/rearrange the closets/catch up on back issues of PARADE) is when you are under deadline.

Still, amusing...

Anonymous said...

What was the point of that e-mail?

Most of it is about how wonderfully successful this author is...but since none of us are ever going to know his or her name, what's the point of bragging? The rest of it is about how many agents the author knows, and how Miss Snark isn't one of them. I don't really care who Miss Snark is.

I just don't get what this letter was for.

I'm on deadline with an imprint of Penguin - in a year! - but my triceps could use some toning. Can you help?

Kim said...

Asshat! I love it! What a great way to start off a trail - one of the reasons why I heart this blog.

Thanks for the laughs this morning :)

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

"We might chew on your clothes, but we aren't rude."--Bill E. Goat

Dear Penguin Person,

How nice for you that you have a deadline. Now if you could only do something about your somewhat dead head.

If Miss Snark's behavior (thank The Lord! I remembered not to write Behaviour!) on this blog shows anything, it shows that she is devoted to writers. She extends herself beyond the sphere of her clients.

Did your mommy ever tell you, you're rude? She should have. Since she failed as a parent, I'm assuming her duties now. You're rude my dear. A gentleman or lady is never rude. Stop it now, or I'll beat your butt.

Best wishes and felicitations,

Princess of Pixies,
Queen of Goats,
Countess Vienne,
Princess of France,
and Lady Protector of the Dragons of Tantor

Anonymous said...

"Did your mommy ever tell you, you're rude? She should have. Since she failed as a parent, I'm assuming her duties now. You're rude my dear. A gentleman or lady is never rude. Stop it now, or I'll beat your butt."

Oh, Sha'el, I think I just peed my pants a little reading that one!

Anonymous said...

Another Penguin/Berkley author here, just finished one deadline, just starting another tight one. Let's see, as an author, I blog, have forums, manage to keep up with my deadlines, and try to have a life too. And I've been hit with enough backhanded compliments to recognize them for what they are, too: catty, petty insults.

My agent doesn't have a website or blog, but she works her butt off, as do most legitimate agents. And so does Miss Snark. Miss Snark's given out a LOT of advice, much of what I'd hear directly from my agent, which tells me she's legit and knows the business inside-out (and FWIW, my agent doesn't accept email queries either).

IOW: she is performing an incredibly selfless service to the writing community and should be commended rather than slapped in the face with a backhanded insult.

So might I suggest you concentrate on your deadline? The net is overflowing with rude people as it is. Do we really need yet another one hanging out in cyberspace?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Carrie,

I'm so sorry for your bladder discomfort, but I'm glad you enjoyed the laugh.

Corn Dog said...

Dear Author,

I too am publishing only in my mind and the deadline was yesterday. Makes me crazy but I find I don’t need an agent that way. At least I’m in good shape, so I think.

Just wanted to say – I found your letter in the WTF category. Nice job.

BTW, “lovely girl” is derogatory, AssMole, unless you are her Grandpa.

Okay - back to work!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a chick thing...

GutterBall said...

As Ozzy Osbourne says, "You don't accidentally become an asshole. It takes a bit of effort."

So, Mr. HarperCollins, my hat's off to you for truly being a master at your trade. And by trade, I mean "being an asshole". You've clearly put in a lot of effort.

Oh, and Anonymous 2? That was beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark,
Please tell us that even when we post as "anonymous" that you can tell who we really are. Even if you can't please say you can, just so he/she can experience THAT feeling.

Anonymous said...

Also check out the divine Miss Rachel Vater- whom I love more than chocolate, and that is saying something.

Corn Dog said...

Anonymous said...
"I think this is a chick thing..."

What are you saying, Anon? Rude is relegated to men?

River Falls said...

Did I miss something? Why bring up Joanna Pulcini? Just to name drop? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Um, Sha'el... I think you meant to threaten butt beating to the Harper Collins nitwit. We Penguin people are awfully nice and have benefitted from exceptional parenting .


Anon #2

Anonymous said...

Holy Moly!

Anonymous said...

What a great word -- "frenemy." Ain't English a great language. Obviously I'm unpublished because I have time for this stuff ;-)

Anonymous said...

I can think of another use for his left hand, and he's probably doing it right now.

Next to his fabulous agent and devoted fans, it's probably his best friend.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Anon #2,

Yes, you're right.

Spy Scribbler said...

What I find interesting about this author's email is that it assumes that in order to be an effective agent, she/he must spend every waking minute being an agent.

Plenty of people with successful careers manage to find the time to blog. They manage successful departments and run successful companies while spending time with their friends, family, and--wonder of wonders--even dabbling in hobbies. They eat, they sleep, and they sometimes work out. They go on vacations, too.

Why would it be any different with an agent?

Miss Snark even blogs about the business, which comes under the "work" chapter in my book.

Btw, I love that word, "frenemy," too! I just started Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things, and discovered the word, "upsettling." Some words are just orgasmic.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, interesting...

Rudeness comes in many guises,
Though itself it seldom recognizes...

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't be so quick to dismiss this as simple backhanded bitchery. This person is being helpfully concerned.

Successful Author is clearly worried that Miss Snark might be undergoing a crisis of identity. Knowing the darkness that would descend upon the world were Miss Snark reduced to languishing on the couch, stilettos in a tangle on the floor, wondering whether she is Marie Curie or Dan Rather, Successful Author has nobly taken on the task of reducing the infinite options by giving Miss Snark a definite verdict -- she is not Joanna Pulcini.

Perhaps Successful Author would extend this service to all of us who are not Joanna Pulcini, so that we all might rest more easily.

lizzie26 said...

"Frenenemy." I like that. I had one once. Actually, though, when she crossed the line with her left-handed compliment, she no longer was the "fre" in "frenenemy."

Anonymous said...

If Miss Snark is not Joanna Pulcini, then I want to know who is.

Bunneh said...

My goodness (though, to paraphrase Mae West, I think goodness had nothing to do with that email), someone got up on the bitchy side of the bed that morning.

Really, the hypocrisy and the double-standards that these nitwits (and, clearly, you can be published and still be a nitwit) fling around just makes me shake my head. Why should Miss Snark's "real" identity matter at all? So people can try to sneer at her credentials? So they can complain that she spends too much time blogging (like this charming specimen does)?

And in an arena where anonymity isn't the exception, it's the rule, it's beyond ridiculous to complain when someone ELSE creates a persona to protect their identity.

Feh. Numbskulls.

Anonymous said...

This should be a reminder not to mess with Miss Snark, as she so aptly pointed out: "one of my great pleasures in this blog is helping people discover new things." Such as how to cut themselves with their own knife.

It's hard to believe how self-revealing this person is. (If curiousity gets the better of me, I'll scan Linda Chester's Web site for a former journalist. LC doesn't have that many clients.)

And, a journalist who doesn't know his/her facts? 'Ms.' is the first mistake. And, "thank you, Lord Jesus"? There are PEOPLE who have helped you succeed, such as your agent, who you're NOT helping by this e-mail.

bcbg said...

Let's see... I am a man, I am a woman, I am obese (ouch), I have a fat ass (?), I am ungrateful, I am ill mannered, I don't help others, I eat cheetos, maybe I am not even a writer -- maybe I live in Podunkville... Okay -- wow, glad to have gotten some responses.

First of all, my note was a personal note to MS, and if she was so upset, why did she email me saying, "thanks for writing" and then alert me to her blog?

Entertainment, folks. Entertainment.

And for the record, she did not ask, nor would I have allowed her to post my letter online. Is that how it works here? Well, now I know better...

Be that as it may, believe me, I know how fortunate I am.

Here is what I wanted to convey:

1. I, too, am a writer.
2. Love the blog -- very helpful!
3. There have been rumors that JP is MS and I just wanted to say that no, don't think so.

Sorry if my posting upset people, and, in fact seems to have upset MS. That was not -- at all -- my intention, believe me.

But that is the problem with emails, and blogs.

Miss Snark said...

"Your answer is up on the blog, thanks for writing" is the exact same thing everyone gets who has an email posted on the blog.

EVERY email is post fodder. If you don't want it posted, don't send it.

There are no less than five posts that say that exact thing, one as recently as a few days ago.

Elektra said...

bcbq---it seems rather odd that you would try to debunk theories in a Private note to Miss Snark. Did you perhaps think she was confused about her own identity?

Anonymous said...

Penguin Author #2 here. I, too, am a writer!

You didn't upset me one bit. You gave me a good laugh.

I still don't get the point of the e-mail, though. To tell Miss Snark that she isn't Joanna Pulcini? Surely Miss Snark already knows whether she's Joanna Pulcini or not?

Anonymous said...

Fer cryin' out loud, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you MUST know that your email has a 99.9% chance of showing up on this blog.
(My rate so far is 0.00%, but perhaps it is because I am boring, which doesn't bother me a bit.)

Hey, at least you're not boring!

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was a "back hand" compliment. Is it a regional thing?

Jude Calvert-Toulmin said...

bcbg: Come off it luv. You sent La Snark a private email with the express purpose of being bitchy. Women can smell other women being bitchy a MILE off. The only reason women are bitchy to other women is because they feel insecure and threatened, so in the end, your missive says more about you than about its recipient. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Life is too short for nonsense like this.

Anonymous said...

Boy people like bcbg burn my butt. Silly rabbit, how can you even think that you are not being nasty when you say things like: "Joanna is a lovely girl, and you are most decidedly not her." If Joanna is lovely, and MS is not Joanna, then MS is -- (fill it in yourself, genius.) Or, using the same logic: "She is also hugely devoted to her clients, so I cannot imagine she would have the time for a blog."

You couldn't possibly be a successful writer and yet be completely oblivious to the effect your precise choice of words would be interpreted, could you? What an infuriating personality trait: say nasty things with a smile on your face, then deny any nastiness meant. Bleh.

Stacy said...

Here in Jamaica, 'frenemy' and variations thereof are commonly used by local musicians who give us advice in song to avoid such people and their blandishments.

They give good advice, and you can dance to it, too.

Anonymous said...

There was an author in Snarkania
Who suffers from bouts of insania
One boast to the Snark
Which was just for the lark
Has ended in heaps of disdania.


verification word was fauhi pronounced phooey. Is this spooky or is this spooky.