Friday, November 17, 2006

Snarking on the Snarkstress?

I don't know if you'll answer this, but I'd love to hear your take on Miss Snark. She scares me, and I have some questions I'd like to send her, but I'm worried she'll rip me to shreds.

Ah, I smell a challenge - dare I take on Miss Snark? Well, anyone who knows me knows that, ahem, I rarely shy away from competition (another reason, barring the fact that I can't deal with sleep deprivation in any way at all, that I'd make an excellent Amazing Race candidate), so I'll rise to your challenge.

But here's the thing: I'm not going to take her down. Miss Snark has a style that is It's not my style or at least not the style in which I choose to write my blog. (Though strangely, in real life, I'm actually very, very snarky, probably too much so.) It works for Miss Snark, and she's never hidden the fact that if you send her a question that she deems idiotic, she'll let you know that indeed, she finds it idiotic.

My take on this is that newbie writers (and even established writers) have enough anxiety and paranoia, they don't need to send me a question only to be snarked upon. There are so many seemingly basic questions that litter the minds of aspiring writers, and yes, they're basic, but that doesn't mean that they aren't valid. (I'm not trying to intimate that Miss Snark thinks they're not valid either- not at all. I've seen her answer plenty of questions that I've rolled my internal eyes at.) But I guess that as a writer, I've been in the position of not knowing what the proper etiquette is for following up to a query or sweating over my agent search or whatever, and God knows that the last thing I needed at the time was someone who made me feel like a moron. (Again, this isn't to say that Miss Snark makes people feel like morons! Really. I'm more addressing your question of why you don't want to send a question into her blog. Though I will say that I read far too many industry blogs these days that insinuate that writers are idiots. If people in the industry find us to be such imbeciles, perhaps they should consider switching industries...just a thought.)

Here's the thing: I think that Miss Snark is a fabulous resource for writers. She clearly takes a lot of time in answering questions, and she does it because at the end of the day, snarky or not, she cares about helping writers. Thus, I read her most days of the week. And honestly, I have no idea how she has the time or patience to deal with something like the crap-o-meter, but she does, and again, the folks who benefit are the readers.

That said, when I get questions from you guys, I just choose to answer them in a different tone, but that certainly doesn't mean that her answers aren't valid, wise or on-target. Often, I agree with her sentiments. Sometimes, I don't. Which brings up another point entirely: I think it's very dangerous to place too much weight on anyone's opinion or advice on how to go about navigating this industry. Hell, sometimes, I'm sure that my advice isn't universally applicable and won't work for everyone.

Miss Snark is one agent. That's it. She dishes the straight skinny on how she likes to conduct business, and she's never claimed to do anything other than that. In fact, just knowing her likes and dislikes, I can confidently say that she'd hate having me as a client, and I can pretty much return the feeling. So remember when you're reading her blog or quivering at the thought of sending her a question, that truly, she's one opinion - often a good one - in a sea of many. She'd probably be the first to tell you that.

But one thing she and I WOULD agree on is that this industry requires a very, very thick skin, and if the thought of getting called a nitwit by an anonymous agent shakes you to the core, you might not be cut out for a long-term career in publishing. Because you're likely to hear a lot more of this as non-anonymous rejections pour in, and if you don't bolster your armor now, you're as good as history.

So...have you guys sent questions into Miss Snark? And have you been deemed a nitwit? :)


Trish Ryan said...

What I appreciate about Miss Snark is that she's not always snarky...only when pointing out how frustrating it is when we writers ask things we could easily know with a bit of research. Sometimes she's amazingly patient and helpful. Reading her blog opened my eyes to how many silly, obnoxious, and stupid things writers do and (I hope) avoid them myself. I would MUCH rather have my question torn apart by Miss Snark than field 10,000 rejections and never understand why.

Amie Stuart said...

I sent her a question and she posted it with an answer =) Funny enough someone else had a similiar question to mine.

Sara Hantz said...

I haven't sent a question, but I do read her regularly. I think she's demystified a lot of what goes on in agenting/publishing.