Author Advice Snark

As a published author/acquisitions editor I get some seriously sketchy questions from people about what I do. Now part of me, the benevolent, humble part, loves helping people. But that part evaporates into a puddle of irritation and snarkiness after being asked the same questions a million times. So here, for your information, is my totally honest FAQ guide and some supernatural gifs because screw you I do what I want.

 

Q. How do I get published?

A. Well, have you written, revised, and polished your book? If not, why are you even talking to me? This is an extreme case of putting the cart before the horse. If so, have you written a dynamic, interesting query letter? That’s the next step. DO NOT QUERY AN UNFINISHED, UNPOLISHED MANUSCRIPT. Period.

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Q. How do I write a query letter?

A. What am I your personal magic 8 ball? Being an adult is 99% googling shit to figure out how to do said shit. Google it, I promise you will get hundreds of pages of advice and even examples. I’ll be over here eating a damn sammich.

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Q. I have this great idea for a book, how about I tell it to you, then you can write it and we can split the money?

A. Are you fucking serious? Thanks but no thanks. I have a billion ideas of my own and to be frank, I don’t have time for your insanity.

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Q. Do I need an agent?

A. No. But you want one if you can get one. Let’s face it, agents can get you in places you can’t get yourself. They are your team, your cheerleaders. Great to have if you can get one, but also not the be all and end all. My advice, try for an agent. Then, try without one. #YOLO

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Q. How do I find an agent?

A. Querytracker.net. You’re freaking welcome.

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Q. Should I traditionally publish or self publish?

A. *prepares Power Point presentation*

*shuffles index cards*

*steps up to podium*

I’m glad you freaking asked. The answer is yes to both. If you were lucky enough to land that agent, then you are well on your way to traditionally publishing. If not, don’t fear. There are many traditional publishers who accept unagented submissions. Try them. Still no luck? Well lucky you, we live in an era where you can type up your erotic leprechaun war drama mystery and with no money, experience, or wisdom, publish that bitch on Amazon all by yourself. Of course, if you do, be aware that no one will ever take you seriously as an author EVER. Self publishing is easy. Self publishing WELL is very difficult. All the editing, formatting, cover design, and marketing that a publisher will do is now on your tiny little shoulders. And fair or not, you, as a self published author, will be judged and criticized harder than a writer with a traditional publisher. That’s just the cold hard truth. So if you are going to self publish, make sure you are taking the time to do it well. Don’t cut corners. You will be glad you took the time to do it right, I promise.

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Q. How do you find time to write? I can’t finish anything.

A. Writers write. We sneak hours when we should be eating, sleeping, or caring for our homes and fill it with a caffeinated haze of pounding on the keyboard. It drives us crazy. If it doesn’t drive you enough for you to make it a priority, then you aren’t a writer. Get off the damn bus.

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Q. How much do I really need to build an author brand before I publish?

A. Not at all. When I am looking at a potential author the first thing I do is google them (see: adulting) and if the first thing that crops up is your spring break photos or that skeevy sex tape from college, well, let’s just remember that first impressions are everything. You don’t need a full on author brand right out of the gate, but for shits sake, have a website that looks halfway professional and a decent social media on whatever your chosen platform is. Don’t have six million accounts that you never use or a blog that you never update. Those hurt more than they help. Basically, be a living human in the digital age who wants to be taken seriously as an author.

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Q. Can you help me edit my manuscript?

A. No. Literally, I don’t have time. For a handful of close friends I might make an exception during my brief downtime, but unless we’ve slept in the same room at some point, don’t even ask. And asking strangers just makes you look like a noob anyway. There are crit groups for that shit. Join one.

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Q. I’m scared no one will like it. How do you get over your fear of showing people your work?

A. It’s called being a grown up. For shits sake, do you cry when you have to show your boss a spreadsheet at work? Authors need to have two things, talent and a thick skin. If you don’t have both, you are piranha bait.

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So that’s my list. Do you get these kinds of questions or do you have questions for me to answer? I’d be happy to add them to the list. 😉


Comments

Author Advice Snark — 5 Comments

  1. You don’t even want to know some of the questions I get asked. LOL! This is awesome and incredibly entertaining. Loves it! 🙂

  2. Are you so secure on your author’s throne that you can be so dismissive of aspiring authors? Granted these FAQs can be irritating, but be the bigger person and answer kindly or not at all. Snarky isn’t pretty or clever, just arrogant

    • Your response to this article I think explains exactly why the snark is needed. . I have three major reasons I say this:

      1. I read this as a humorous, cautionary tale to aspiring authors If this kind of article bothers you, your skin is NOT thick enough to be an author.

      2. This article encourages inspiring authors to do their homework and be professional. I repeat: If this kind of article bothers you, your skin is NOT thick enough to be an author.

      3. This is the BIG one. You are so worried about the tender feelings of the aspiring author, but what about the author that is being consistently bugged? How can you be so dismissive of the value of their time. Not only are you (or rather, the inspiring author) taking time away from their writing and family, but you are also expecting information that some professionals charge for to be given to you for free. I find that extremely arrogant and dismissive.

  3. Here’s a piece of an interview I found interesting. It’s from the author of the Raven Boys:

    Maggie Stiefvater: I think that women authors in particular are asked to be nice online. Always nice, always nurturing, never aggressive. It seems like this should spare them the slings and arrows of online misfortune. But in reality, it just takes away our weapons. I looked around at authors like Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi and I thought — they get to say what they want. When something’s bullsh-t, they’re allowed to call bullsh-t. That. That’s what I’m going to do. If you hate me, you can hate me because I called it as I saw it, not because of some imagined slight. I’m going to stand up for what I believe in. And the hate that comes as a result of that does not keep me from sleeping at night.

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