Clue Cake, Anonymity, and Other Unprofessional Behavior

Before we begin, a few disclaimers:

  1. I’m a friend of Anne Stuart, also known as Krissie.
  2. When Harlequin added the moral rights clause to their category contracts in 1995, I called them the Evil Empire on the internet. If I could find the place I said it, I’d link to it, but that was eleven years ago and God knows where it is now, probably orbiting Mars. The gist of it was that HQ had put into its contracts a clause that it could change anything it wanted in the books without the permission of the writers, and I said that was wrong, in several colorful ways that I have forgotten now, but in the midst of that, I definitely called HQ the Evil Empire. I remember that clearly.
  3. I read Miss Snark’s blog for the first time tonight, the entry from 11/03: Nitwit of the Day!

Unprofessional behavior. Yes, I’m talking about the Nitwit of the Day column in which Miss Snark took Anne Stuart to task for saying in public that she was unhappy with her publisher. I had never read Miss Snark before this because I have no time for anonymous writers because unless you have the courage to speak out under your name like, say, oh, Anne Stuart, you can pretty much lob any bomb you want and then slink away into the night while everybody else takes the hit, so you have no accountability and no credibility. So when I heard that Miss Snark was criticizing Krissie, I said, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, nobody even knows who this woman is, she’s just an anonymous blogger sniping at a big name from the underbrush. Why is anybody even paying attention?”

Then I read the column. From the first line, I was appalled. “A big hunk of clue cake for everyone at the book buffet” is not snark, that’s just somebody trying way too hard to be cute. I’m almost certain Television Without Pity invented snark, and they’d spit on “clue cake;” if this person is going to appropriate “snark,” the least she can do is not take its name in vain. Maybe in her other entries she writes with wit and verve, but this is the only one I waded through, and wit was notably lacking. Verve also. She did seem to be having a good time, there was a definite God-I’m-amazingly-brilliant tone throughout, but since that tone present in most of my blog entries, too, I’m going to just let that one lie there.

Then she followed up “clue cake” with:

Don’t diss your publisher in public. Not now, not ever. Not even if you think you’re right, especially when I know you’re wrong.

That was when I thought, “Who is this person and why isn’t she taking her meds?” The day my agent told me “Don’t diss your publisher in public” and then followed it up with “even if you think you’re right, especially when I know you’re wrong” would be the day I’d be announcing on the net that Jenny Crusie was looking for a new agent. Talk about unprofessional behavior; this is not the way a good agent speaks to a client or writes on the internet. (I know, ironic, isn’t it?) She’s telling authors in general and Anne Stuart in particular, “Do not say disrespectful things about your publisher on the internet because I know it’s wrong. Do what I say, because I know all.” Which is when I say to her clients, “Run, Forrest, run.” Or whatever the hell your names are, which you don’t know, either, because she’s anonymous. But if you’re an author and your agent has ever said to you, “Don’t argue with me, just do what I say because I know this is right,” run. Delusion of omnipotence is a bad sign in an agent.

One reason it’s a bad sign is that it leads to bad conclusions, and Miss Snark’s Nitwit Blog is an excellent example of this. She wrote:

Here’s why dissing your publisher is stupid. It removes every desire to go the extra mile for you. Every and any.

But Krissie felt her publisher wasn’t going the extra mile and wasn’t ever going to in the future. She was already past the point that Miss Snark was threatening her with. (And by the way, why are we so sure that Miss Snark is an agent? She’s sure threatening for the publishers here.) Miss Snark’s conclusion was that Krissie should have remained silently unhappy, that her abiding sin which made her Nitwit of the Day! was that she spoke of her unhappiness. You know, this is not an agent I’d want representing me. “You told people you were unhappy? You’ve ruined your career! Go sit in the corner! Nitwit!” Miss Snark is forgetting the major tenet upon which all publishing rests: If the book makes money, the publisher will go the extra mile, the extra kilometer, the extra continent for it even if the author is the offspring of Godzilla and The Thing. And if the book doesn’t sell, the author can be Susie Nice Girl and the publisher will dump her in a ditch and spread somebody else’s remaindered copies over her body. Making everything much more complicated, if the author doesn’t get publisher support, she won’t sell. And the only way to get publisher support is to make sure the author and the book get noticed. Which is NOT by shutting up. Miss Snark can sit in the concrete bunker of her anonymity and shake her cake-stained finger all she wants, but she’s ignoring the complexity of the situation and, if she’s any kind of agent at all, she knows it and she’s taking the cheap shot at Anne Stuart anyway. If she doesn’t know it, she’s not much of an agent.

Now let’s look at what Krissie actually said in her interview on All About Romance, and then think about what a good agent, safe in an anonymous blog, might have written.

So now I’m with Mira, who promised to love, honor and adore me. And maybe they do, but they could do more. I know every writer says that, and I hate to be greedy and ungrateful, but they’re not so much about the books. They’re about slots and numbers, not about passion for what they’re putting out there. Or so it seems to me. But then, right now I’m pretty disillusioned about the lack of support from them. I’ll get over it. Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong and I’m a middle of the road writer. No, they’re wrong. I’m a goddess. And maybe I’ve misjudged them. It seems to me that they look at my books like boxes of cereal on a shelf, and they’re in the business of selling cereal, not loving it.

Now a smart agent looking for a blog topic would read Krissie’s interview and say, “This is something that everybody in publishing knows but nobody talks about in public (except for Anne Stuart) that some houses are better at taking books to the next level, and I could do it thoroughly because I’m safe behind my anonymity. Or I could go safer and talk about what it means when a well-known author like Anne Stuart is so discouraged about fighting the good fight to get to the top after twenty odd years in publishing that she says, in public on the internet, ‘I just don’t know anymore,’ there’s a good blog in that, what publishing does to the long term author. Or I could go even safer and talk about what happens to both the author and the publisher when communication breaks down to the point that the author becomes so unhappy that she tells an interviewer about it and the consequences for both of them.” But Miss Snark went the safest and most self-centered route of all and said, “Boy, if I call Anne Stuart a nitwit, I can get myself a snappy little column out of this. Because nothing says ‘smart agent’ like making a big name author look bad while sucking up to publishers.” Which is why I’m really starting to think that Miss Snark is not an agent. No good agent I know would ever sound like this. Of course, she’s anonymous, so that makes a difference. Maybe in public, she hides this side and acts like a professional. That would help her keep clients.

The aspect that really makes me think Miss Snark is not an agent is that nowhere in that column does she say what she’d advise Krissie to do in her situation. She has a great time talking about how stupid Krissie is and what a huge mistake she made in speaking out, none of which is helpful in any positive, pro-active way to anybody, but she never says, “If I were Anne Stuart’s agent, here’s what I would have recommended she do in her situation, given her unhappiness with her publisher,” and my guess is that’s because she doesn’t have a clue what Krissie should do. Well, that, and also because there’s no FUN in that. Why be a thoughtful professional when you can be a name-calling mean girl and get the rest of the kids to laugh with you? It’s one thing to call an author to task and say, “That was the wrong thing to do,” but when the agent follows it up with insults instead of insights, I’m not impressed with that agent’s skill set.

But my favorite part is the end where the anonymous blogger makes fun of the author who signed her interview (“Anne Stuart couches her nitwittery behind ‘oh I’m always honest’”) by saying this:

And if you want to comment or email me all atwitter about this post here’s what I have to say to you: ‘I’m always honest’. It’s not true of course. I’ve learned that discretion is the better part of being a grown up.

Well, of course I recognized the maturity in “clue cake” right away (I know, I have to just let that go, but cutesy writing sticks with you like bad shellfish), and I suppose you could stretch and call an anonymous blog “discretion” if someone was doing cutting-edge industry commentary, but that’s not what this blog was; this blog was just plain wrong. Authors can criticize their publishers on the internet and still behave professionally. And survive. With those same publishers. It happens. If you’re me, it may turn out to be one of the smartest things you’ve ever done. If you’re Krissie and some anonymous blogger decides to take a ride on you and call you a nitwit, that’s annoying, but your name gets spread over the internet, and any ink is good ink, plus you’re the New York Times Bestselling Writer and she’s just an anonymous blogger, so you win. Speaking your mind as an author is not wrong. You do not have to gag yourself in order to be successful in publishing. You do not have to shut up to survive. There is no party line you have to toe in writing, damn it, that’s why we’re writers, we do not censor ourselves for the money. That’s a vicious message to send to writers. Who the hell is this woman, Karl Rove? Oh, right, we don’t know. She’s ANONYMOUS.

Okay, by now it’s clear that it’s the anonymity that sticks in my craw. People without the courage of their convictions. Or their clue cake. (Let it GO, Jenny.) People who can say anything because there are no consequences except for all the writers who are now afraid to speak what they think and all the agents out there that people are now suspecting might be Miss Snark and wondering if they’ll turn someday and snarl, “Because I know you’re wrong and I’m right so TREMBLE AT MY FEET, NITWIT!”

And eat your clue cake.

(Okay, okay, I’m OVER it.)

Anonymous blogs that make incorrect statements about the industry without insight or illumination, fueled by ego and tainted by unprofessionalism, ridiculing writers to silence them by threatening them with the end of their careers. Oh, please.

Call me when somebody signs her name.

101 thoughts on “Clue Cake, Anonymity, and Other Unprofessional Behavior

  1. Okay, now I’ve read it and am not sure exactly what to say. Part of me, well most of me, says “Bravo.” There is no excuse for trashing someone else in print for your own personal gain. It’s petty and small.

    I blog personally using my middle name because my smart mouth does not necessarily fit well with my job and that’s my choice. While I don’t hide, I do feel that personal is personal and professional is professional and I have the right to make that decision. I use my middle name instead of anonymous because I feel the need to lay claim, even own up, to my words and opinions as expressed. I’m not out to make a name for myself. I blog for me.

    I have several blogs under my full name and use them almost as frequently as the personal blog. They are informative, professional, and serve a purpose. As with the personal blog, they are under a “harm none” ageis.

    So, kudos for sticking up for your friend and, as usual, I appreciate the publishing and writing insigts presented on your blog. Thanks.

  2. Why be a thoughtful professional when you can be a name-calling mean girl and get the rest of the kids to laugh with you?

    Indeed. But what’s more disturbing is the number of lemmings who follow Miss Snark because they think she’s just so adorably clever–which suggests something not-too-flattering about their own intelligence and maturity levels. The lemmings don’t even know their leader’s identity, but they can be quite vicious in her defense. Which is ludicrous, because surely it’s impossible to tarnish the good name of an anonymous individual.

    Brenda from No rules. Just write.

  3. Damn right! I’m a former bookstore manager (and longtime
    Sister Krissie acolyte) with a lot of buddies still working for Barnes & Noble, so I still get tidbits of publishing industry news from time to time, and I have never HEARD of this Snark creature. And after skimming a few of her entries searching in vain for content worth reading, I think it’s safe to conclude that she’s a legend in her own mind. My grandma used to say that there are two ways to bolster your own self image: the brave go out and accomplish something, while the cowardly stay safe at home and criticize them. Anonymously, I guess. Go Krissie!

  4. Wow! Good article, Jenny. I’m guessing you were a little ticked.

    While I realize Miss Snark does offer some good advice to writers, I also know the anonymous twit says things just for the shock factor and the ability to lord it over us peons.

    I didn’t read anything into Krissie’s statement that was negative. It just showed her frustration. But like you said, there’s no fun in that.

    We love you, Krissie!! And we’ll still read your books long after Miss Snark has finally gone silent.

  5. Hi sweetie. You are obviously not taking meds and also, maybe, not getting enough fresh air and vegetables. However you are a sterling and loyal friend who fights the good fight alongside or even on behalf of her buddies, so you keep right on going, gravy girl.

    Forget the living in a trailer idea – if your writing inspiration ever deserts you, you will be an agent, and a blooming good one.

    Lots of love

  6. Wow! I just spent the past hour, my self-appointed lunchbreak : )reading this and then researching both the Miss Snark and the Isabel Swift sites. Isabel was quick and gracious about stamping out what could have become a forest fire.

    Anne was honest and direct. It’s a difficult business. She didn’t bad-mouth anyone in my opinion. She merely stated some facts from her own publishing experiences.

    Comments like hers help newbie writers like me. I can’t begin to tell you the misconceptions newbies have of the publishing industry. There’d be far fewer if we had more honesty.

    And now that I’m looking for an agent and an editor, am I supposed to be scared to sign my name? : 0 BTW, I’ve never read one of Anne’s books, but now I will, I liked her interview.

  7. Whew! Jenny, if anyone ever disses me in public, I sure would like a friend like you going to bat for me. Anne’s a lucky woman.

  8. Thank you for that.

    I sincerely hope that, once you and Bob Mayer have finalized your topic list for HWSW:2007, it will indeed include advice about publishing as well as writing. I had been ambivalent about that inclusion until now.

    There are too few professionals who are courageous and honest enough to share their insight and first-hand knowledge about the publishing side of the business, and into that void– never mind. You already said it better.


  9. Wow! If someone picks on me anonymously I’m calling you! For what it is worth, in my little corner of the blogosphere most people didn’t react or feel as Miss Snark did.

    I read the interview days before the Miss Snark post and it didn’t strike a jarring note or ring any bells with me. So go figure. I couldn’t figure out what was so inflammatory, Ms. Stuart wasn’t nasty or venomous in her remarks, I think she was just stating her POV. That’s why it was so great to get the news shortly thereafter that COLD AS ICE made the NYT list.

  10. I read that blog too. I’ve always wondered why Miss Snark goes by an “anonymous” type name. Other agents use their real names. At least I think they do . . .

  11. I was actually wondering what your take on this whole issue was. Thanks for reading my mind. I love how you are not afraid to speak your mind and share with us.

    I read Miss Snark, and I did think she went overboard with that post and its follow-up. Not helpful, almost personal. Her anonymity, though? Can allow for some “insider” peek into the agent’s world, not otherwise possible. If she’s for real.


  12. ok, so i read Jenny’s post, then i read Miss Snark’s, then i read the comments left on that post, then i read the whole interview with Anne Stuart.

    the question states “Talk as openly as you can about the various publishers and how you feel about your current contract.”

    as openly as you can. which is exactly what she did; she was just more open than people expect. and as one of the people said in the comments over on Miss Snark’s blog, she is not bad-mouthing her boss, she is being honest about a working partner.

    i like Jenny’s line “There is no party line you have to toe in writing, damn it, that’s why we’re writers, we do not censor ourselves for the money.”

    and the “clue cake”- i can see how’d you get stuck on it, Jenny


    i was interested to see that Jenny enabled the comment moderation button (or whatever it is). was that just to keep anons from posting? (curious just because i don’t remember her ever doing so before; i could be wrong about that though)

  13. Miss Snark “claims” that she doesn’t represent or read anything in the romance genre, so she probably knows nothing of Anne Stuart’s work or history. I hadn’t read her stuff until JC mentioned her and I ran out and grabbed a couple. She is definitely gloom-worthy!
    But Miss Snark’s opinion is just that and there are others who do not agree with her. On the SmartBitches blog (and they do read in this genre), the ladies were very much in Anne’s corner.
    But, my advice to JC? Don’t wait up for the call notifying you of Miss Snark’s real name.

  14. Brava!! I have only stumbled on Miss Snark’s blog a few times and wondered why anyone would blindly believe that this person was an agent. She’s anonymous. For all we know she’s a waitress (which is a great job with the tips) and they don’t know jack about publishing.

    I have to admit I have heard that Miss Stark was all bent out of shape over Anne Stuart’s interview but I loved that she could be so open and honest about it. (Here’s where I should mention I am an Anne Stuart fangirl)

    I don’t read anonymous posts on message boards, comment sections or on blogs. If you can’t put your name to it then I don’t care to read it.



  15. Gee, Jenny, if I ever get dissed I want you on my side slicing up their clue cake. I love reading your blog. You never disappoint.

  16. Very succinct.
    Never been to Miss Snark but it’ll be interesting to see what her reply will be – kind of think she’ll have one. You might even out her 😉

    ttobli – total toddle obliterates

  17. I’ve read Miss Snark’s blog before and I have to agree with your assessment of her. Often her comments are not edifying and quite often they can be downright hurtful. I agree that if you are going to put an opinion out there into cyberspace you should at least have the courage of your convictions to stand behind it with your own identity. Especially if you are claiming to have some real insight into the subject uponn which you are commenting. Otherwise you just come off as a blow-hard know-nothing…

    I hear what Krissie is sayi8ng about her publisher not pushing her books as hard as she feels they should. She is not the first author I have heard complain about this particular fact. Apparently it is fairly common and it seems to me that the author must do much more than I would deem necessary to personally push his/her books. It doesn’t make very much sense to me. I mean, hear you have a ublishing company who has gone to the trouble of negotiating a contract with an author, edited his/her book, and has now gone to eh expense of publishing the book. Why not go that extra step and advertise and promote said book? It can’t be cheap to get a book from conception to market–where is the profit if they just let it drop after it leaves the publishing house?

    I’m not published, so maybe I am simplifying the process too much, but it just makes sense to me that the publisher would support their authors. After all, they picked them!

  18. I used to read Miss Snark, but I haven’t in quite some time. She has this thing called the crap-o-meter or something like that, where she’ll take submissions and then put them on the blog to make fun of. I think I read one and wanted to cry for the author. It is hard writing, I’m trying it, and probably failing miserably, so I understand what a chance these writers took by putting there baby out there. So, when not only MS made fun of and tore to shreds the work sent her, but the readers of her blog did so as well, and with a lot of venom, I X’d out and haven’t been back, so I didn’t see this post of hers, and I really don’t think I want to.

    I can’t say if her blog has valuable information or not, since I’ve never gotten far enough on my WIP to actually consider shopping around, but I do know, that if I ever get there, I wouldn’t want her reading it. I’m just not tough enough to handle the comments.

  19. Hear Hear.

    It kind of reminds me of the first time I really talked back to/disagreed with my father. He wanted to know where I had learnt that from. I told him it was from him.

    I admire Ann’s gumption. I want to be like here when I grow up.

  20. Ook, taking on Miss Snark. This is why I love you. The implication that writers should censor ourselves to please the party line, whatever it may be, makes me wonder if she’s not working in Hollywood rather than NYC.

  21. You know, when I first read that post, I did wonder about Krissie taking Mira to task in such a public way.

    I didn’t wonder about Miss Snark’s take on it, and now I see I should have.

    If you’re an agent and you have an author who is unhappy with her publisher, the question is (or should be): How do you help her? It shouldn’t be: How can I rip her down?

    Anyway, well said. Thanks for raising my consciousness. I’ve been a little blinkered.

  22. Also, love the new fonts and blog design. Tell that webmaster of yours she’s got a great eye. But where’d the photo go? 🙁

  23. **Rising in applause**

    I’ve only been blogging for about a year and a half. I started blogging mostly about various romance and fiction novels I had read, but recently my blog is becoming more and more about how I deal with being an unpaid local politician on the School Board. It’s a somewhat consuming vocation.

    I’ve watched at least four of these kerfuffles open up in the Romance blogosphere where an anonymous know-it-all takes on other people by name, all in an attempt to show them the error of their ways. The first one annoyed me, but with each new controversy I’m becoming more angry.

    As a politician in a very samll town, I get to have my reputation slandered repeatedly. If my eight yr old son goes to school with his hair unbrushed, it comes back to reflect upon me and upon my dedication to schools, family, and the American Way. But never in a face to face manner. Nope. Always in anonymous commentary on the internet.

    It’s not the end of the world, I guess. I know how to suck it up and continue to act professionally, and my eight yr old has no clue what is swirling on above his head.

    But here’s the thing, if you hide behind anonymity while pointing out the faults of others, you paint yourself as an idiotic fool. Authors put their name (or chosen nom de plume) upon their work. Interviewers and reporters put their names upon their articles. Those who target them while hiding behind a mask are acting *unprofessionally*. Duh. Those who blog about other’s actions, while holding themselves up as some paragon of professional behavior are *hypocrites*.

    Professional discourse does not happen behind a protective wall of anonymity. Discource or advice does not happen during attack ads. Only archers commited to perfect accuracy hide behind arrow slits.

    Come on out and sit at the table. Follow some basic rules of respectful demeanor, and let’s see if there’s something to talk about. Otherwise, let the author say what she wants about her own career and her own publisher in her own interview. Sheesh.

  24. Although I’ve had a blog of some sort or another for a year now, I’ve not had the time to venture far into the blogging world. Today I took one step out of my safe little hovel and Whoa! How amazing to see fur flying, and such fine fur at that. “g”

    Don’t get over it, Jenny, say it like it is. Anonymous naysayers seeking publicity deserve to have their negativity exposed for what it is. To abuse Krissie’s right to say what she thinks is akin to waving a flag and calling someone unpatriotic for speaking their opinion.

    I think I need to stray further into this entertaining blogger world!

  25. I generally don’t comment on my own posts, but I did want to say that I didn’t set up the moderated comments switch. Blogger must have burped. I tripped over this button that said, “Approve comments” and found 36 of the suckers stacked up. I have NO idea how that got turned on but it’s off now. Apologies to all who thought I’d do that. So not like me.

    The no anonymous comments, though, that’s like me.


  26. ‘sokay, Jenny. Apparently we didn’t let that stop us anyway.

    You know, these people have no real life so they invent one.

  27. I’m gonna have to stand up and clap to this post, I think it’s healthy for the anonymous Snark Bint to get some of her own medicine back, at least you were humorous.

    I might even decide to finally read Bet Me, after this post.

  28. deborah said “It kind of reminds me of the first time I really talked back to/disagreed with my father. He wanted to know where I had learnt that from. I told him it was from him.”

    same thing with me. though he also wnated to learn where my ideas (not his at all) came from. i told him “you know that thing you taught me, thinking? hey, sometimes it works”

    it’s cool, Jenny. did seem strange to me…thought you had to do that to weed out anon comments (what i know about blogging could fit a thimble if i tried really hard). glad that wasn’t case.

  29. I just don’t understand the venom in the post and comments at Miss Snark. If you think Anne Stuart screwed the pooch, fine say so, but the vitriol comming from there, geez, you think A.S. had spit on a kitten or something. Do they all work for Mira?

    And as far as Mira and their placement of Cold As Ice goes, I was going to buy a second copy, but alas, none in the Target or the grocery. At the grocery there were NO Mira titles at all. I’ve heard it’s easier to become a bestseller when copies are readily available, but who knows. Shall I ask Miss Snark?

  30. I read the interview with Anne Stuart a couple of weeks ago and thought she sounded a little disheartened – not bitter or nasty. I know some of my favorite authors (in addition to Jenny!) like Roberta Gellis and Carla Kelly have gotten a bit “left behind” by the changes in publishing – and I wish they could/would speak out too. (Maybe they have and I haven’t been paying attention?) But, I also know that as a reader, I am a bit disappointed and disheartened by publishing today too.

    [Some folks may enjoy vampires – but jeez! – how many do we need?] Can we, the readers ask publishers to just work on recognizing good storytelling and then get the books out there? (my personal rant!)

    I, too had to order Black Ice from Barnes & Noble & simply held onto Cold As Ice while waiting for the other to come in. So if Anne is monitoring – I bought your books based on the At The Back Fence interview.

    And Jenny, you are absolutely correct – we are ALL about defending your right to say whatever you like – and we SHOULD all be about defending our comments – by putting our name on them!

  31. p.s. I had never heard of Miss Snarky before Jenny’s comments and after reading her comments – not particularly insightful or helpful, I won’t be reading her again. What a waste of electricity!

  32. I think there are two Jennies:
    1) If you follow the He Wrote, She Wrote Blog Jenny, it’s always a light-hearted, poke fun at Bob, interesting writing tips Jenny.
    2) Then you read this blog, and it’s a pure straight-forward, no holds barred, don’t mess with my friends blog.

    I like it.

    I like Jenny’s knowledge of the industry and how an anonymous, criticising non-writer has just met her match.

    Look at this blog – it does not allow anonymous comments.

    I really like it.

  33. jpoorman said … But, I also know that as a reader, I am a bit disappointed and disheartened by publishing today too.

    [Some folks may enjoy vampires – but jeez! – how many do we need?] Can we, the readers ask publishers to just work on recognizing good storytelling and then get the books out there? (my personal rant!)

    Here here! For the record, I am not anti-vampire story. I’ve read a few good ones. But there’s a definite glut in the market right now. A few years ago it was crime-solving pets. I was just waiting for someone’s parakeet to bring down a serial killer.

    I just want a really good story. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my beloved, well thumbed, slightly dog-eared and edge-stained copy of GETTING RID OF BRADLEY: “You are going to get rid of his name, aren’t you?” Tina asked. “Lucy Savage Porter always sounded like you’d married a rabid bellboy.”


  34. Anybody remember when, some years back, Julia Roberts made a big public comment about how wrong it was that Denzel Washington had never won an Oscar? (He’s since won.) That’s sort of how I felt earlier this year when I learned that Krissie had not yet hit the New York Times list. That’s just wrong.

    A brilliant author writes brilliant books to high acclaim from reviewers and readers and still doesn’t hit the list? Somebody’s dropped the ball on getting out the word so that even more readers hear about the brilliant books and buy them.

    Authors can only do so much without publisher support.

    Telling authors to shut up and not complain, or not address the situation with their publishers is like telling any professional to not expect proper compensation and support from their employer.

    I cheered when I heard Cold As Ice hit the NYT list. The book, and Krissie, deserve the recognition.

    Thanks to Krissie for speaking her mind about her publisher in the first place, and to Jenny for this post.

  35. #

    1. I am a lifelong fan of Anne Stuart.

    2. I am also a fan of TWoP. TWop did not invent snark, but they did take it to an entirely new level. Mr. Mike is my bet for the writer who brought snark to the art we know and love today.

    3. I have blogged several times about the freak show that is Miss Snark and warned aspiring writers to stay far far away from that blog.

    4. The Dear Author Miss Snark pile on of Anne Stuart sent me into a near career ending blue funk (

    5. (Explainer & Introduction)Ferfe LaBat is my college nickname. It came from an article in Rolling Stone by Mr. Mike snarking Sally Struthers ads for charity donations. Ferfe was the poster girl for sexually deprived prostitutes at a whore house in Paris. Mr. Mike’s favorite charity. And though I blog under Ferfe, most everyone knows my given name is Cindy Cruciger.

    6. I have not seen anyone else take on Miss Snark … until now. Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. Perhaps now newbies will listen. That blog is not snark and it is not funny. Definition of Snark: .

    7. This post has completely snapped me out of the writer blue funk I tunneled into after reading the slams on Anne.

    8. I humbly apologize for snarking your blog (


    Cindy Cruciger

  36. The true irony, from my perspective? Miss Snark’s claim to adore George Clooney — a man who has repeatedly put his career in jeopardy by speaking and acting out against what he perceives as evil/corrupt/bullying behavior by his peers, the media, and his government.

    Methinks Mr. Clooney wouldn’t give Miss Snark the time of day, much less a moldy crumb of clue cake.

  37. And if the book doesn’t sell, the author can be Susie Nice Girl and the publisher will dump her in a ditch and spread somebody else’s remaindered copies over her body.

    OMG I LIVED that and only survived after clawing and fighting to get through to the other side (and a different publisher). Anne Stuart and Jenny Crusie speak up for those of us who are too new to speak against the giants. Those of us who go around with smiles pasted on our faces while we scream on the inside.

  38. Right on, Jenny!

    Anne Stuart is a romance legend who can have her pick as far as publishers go At her level, she should be the butt-kissee, not the butt-kisser. If she isn’t happy where she is, she should come on over to St. Martin’s. We know that without our authors, we have nothing, and we only publish books that we’re crazy about. Put in a good word for us!

  39. I’ve read Miss Snark only once, and that was too much for me. Not because I didn’t like what she or he, had to say on that particular day, but becuase why would I listen to someone who doesn’t want to tell me who they are? And why they think they know what they think they know. Not a lot of trust there when the person is anonymous, unwilling to say, hey, this is me, this is what I think, take it or leave it.

    Anonymity and discretion are important in some areas of life, but not necessarily here. If you are afraid to give your opionion and sign your name to it, then keep your mouth closed. That might sound harsh, but I actually refained from using the words i would have liked to. What really annoys me about something like this is that it takes courage to speak up. Anne put herself out there. That is something I respect and aspire to. Anne said what she felt and thought about her situation. We have no right to judge that. And think of all the other authors out there that are probably in the same boat as Anne. it’s not a bad thing to say to someone you are in business with, hey, I’m not completley happy here, what can we do about this? I for one applaud Anne. I applaud you too Jenny. The passion you have behind your convictions is undeniable and you put you name on what you believe. Regardless of if one agrees with you or not, you state your position and don’t hide behind anything. How can one not respect and admire that with you, and with Anne. I have a hard time respecting anything Miss Snark might have to say, even if I agree (and here I most definatley do not!), if I have no clue who she/he is?

  40. This is such a fantastic post.

    Putting Miss Snark on my list of places I never plan to go on the internet.

  41. I have mixed feelings on this. I don’t generally read Miss Snark, because, wow, those are long posts, and I just don’t have time for that. I also think posting pieces of manuscripts to which you do not have publication rights is tacky and of sketchy legality.

    I read a few romance/author blogs regularly but seldom comment; when I do, I do not use my real name. I work for one of the large NYC publishers, and I’d prefer not to lose my job for posting something off the cuff and bringing the entire Internet down on my head (which, with my luck, is what would happen).

    R/E Anne Stuart–she is not alone in her opinions of the machinations of publishing, and she is likely not unjustified. (I don’t work with her and don’t know the specifics of the situation.) But I can picture the legions of anonymous publishing wonks–such as myself–who read that comment and bristled. I put an enormous amount of effort into the books I work on. I live on a low salary in an expensive city and work insane hours because I love what I do. I love books; I love working with books; I love seeing them and knowing that I had a hand in making that.

    So, in one regard, I have to say that Miss Snark is right. If Ms. Stuart were one of my authors, that comment would leave me quite disinclined to put any extra effort into her books. I am often at work until eight or nine o’clock at night in order to do my work as thoroughly and as well as I can. I’m not going to kill myself for someone who believes that my absolute best efforts are not enough. If I had a twenty-eight-hour day, I could maybe do more, but in the current temporal reality, that is simply not possible.

    The advice of veteran writers or agents would probably be more germane than mine, but I’d suggest that Ms. Stuart address the issue through her agent (which, for all I know, she may have done), and that they be as specific as they can (i.e., “we believe that X, Y, and Z avenues of publicity would have been fruitful, and they were not explored”; or, “we think this-and-such element on this-and-such cover turned readers off”; or, “we had to cut 100 pages in order to stay under X length, and that made the story weak”). Shop around for a new publisher, if possible. (It sounds like St. Martin’s would be happy to sign her on!)

    But please don’t tell us at the end of a twelve-hour workday that we’re not doing enough. I know that I, at any rate, am doing as much as I possibly can.

  42. Terrfic blog. Remember the day there was some kind of techno glitch in Amazon Canada and for 24 hours we could see behind the magician’s curtain that certain authors were anonymously reviewing themselves etc? Well, sometimes I fantasize about a one-day lifting of the curtain on publishing during which authors talk about what really goes on. I respect that the vast majority of people in publishing work very hard, but some publishers definitely serve their authors better than others and are even more successful while doing so. It would be interesting to see a CEO for a company have a conference meeting not with editorial and sales but with authors. Who knows? Maybe afterward everyone would start making more money.

    As for Ms. Snark, who has the time? I know it’s fashionable for agents to have blogs these days – and the agent that reps me has one but it’s written by many hands – but if I discovered my agent was Ms. Snark, I think I’d be looking for other representation fast; I want an agent who spends the majority of work hours on agency-related work, not on maintaining a vanity blog that is a full-time job itself.

  43. I’ve never read Ms Snarks blog, for the same reason Ms. Crusie doesn’t…because of the mask. And, no offense, but I don’t generally read this blog either….but I heard the hubbub and having been to (and enjoyed) a couple of workshops given by Ms Crusie, I couldn’t resist checking out her comment.
    My long windedness aside, I just wanted to say YOU ROCK!

  44. JC,

    MYOB. It is never a good idea to publicly nail someone else’s ass to the wall defending a friend. Not unless it’s your intention to walk to the scaffold together. If so, martyrdom is admirable, but in most cases fatal.

    Yes, as I recall Miss Snark did invite Miss Stuart for a hanging, but I’m sure Ms Stuart is more than capable of defending herself. And if Miss Snark invites you for a hanging Miss Jennifer, then I’m sure you’re just as capable of defending yourself.

    Let’s stop all the drama queen stuff and get to the heart of the matter.

    Publishers are at the top of totem pole. Authors at bottom. There is a certain standard of decent human behavior expected from the author at this level. It’s called gratitude.

    With all due respect for your work as a published author, you may have climbed the totem pole a bit, but you will always be second to publisher. That means you must subscribed to the same standard of decent human behavior. Again, that’s called gratitude.

    As long as Publisher is head honcho, he doesn’t have to be grateful. Of course, gratitude is always a great quality for anyone to acquire including the publisher, but let’s face it, they don’t gotta. That puts me, you and the Anne Stuart’s of the world in the mustta position.

    I’d hate for both of you fine writers to learn that the hard way, and I’d really hate for you both to go down together. But it’s possible if neither one of you cultivates the fine art of gratitude as well as learning the fine art of grace, even in the face of getting dissed.

    For the commenters, aka ex-snarklings, who just dissed Miss Snark…It’s not a good idea to burn a bridge this publicly, ‘cos if I recognize you, so will others.

    Really, the best thing anybody can do that feels slighted is to keep mouth shut, and remember to be grateful for what you’ve been given.

  45. I’m a reader, not a writer, and I feel this distinction helps if I make naive comments and/or assumptions during post comments. Furthermore, most blogs I read pertain to the business of children’s literature (editors, agents, reviewers) because that’s my job/interest. Maybe it’s a different animal, but my perception of publishing in general is their bottom line is to make money. Right?

    Publishers make money selling authors work and authors sell their babies for the same reason (they have to make a living after all). While to publishers one author may be interchangeable with another, readers know better. We know what we like and our buying trends and interest will reflect this concept. What’s my point?

    Personally, I am a bit disturbed at the mention of authors having to feel continuous gratitude to publishers. It’s reminds me of something my grandmother would say along the lines of people complaining if they got hung with a new rope. I really bristle at the idea of an author having to sit and shut up because they are being published.

    Yes authors want to be published, they aren’t crazy after all, and they do indeed feel grateful. However, shouldn’t publishers feel some gratitude to the author for continuing to produce quality work for them to sell?

  46. WitLiz or whatever your name is…Where is this bridge TO that you are talking about? Are you implying that dissing Miss Snark is burning some sort of a bridge to bitchlandia? Cos if so, I got a match honey. I can’t see that a connection to some anonymous, might-be-agent is a good thing so let me get the marshmallows and let ‘er burn.

    The crazies have resorted to threats.

  47. I must live in an alternate reality (thank God) because I can’t imagine a better reason for publicly nailing someone else’s ass to the wall than in defense of a friend, unless of course one is defending a principle — or both, as in this case. Whether said friend needs help wielding the hammer is immaterial. We should all be so lucky as to have friends like Jenny Crusie.

    As for gratitude, the lion’s share of that — whether felt by writers, editors or agents — should be reserved for the readers who shell out hard earned wages for our product and come back for more. Writing, like any other business, is (or should be) the collaborative effort of professionals who share the common goal of creating a product that will satisfy the customer. Yes, for a mutual profit. Graceless admonitions about who is more important to that process or who should feel more gratitude for being allowed to play their part therein is counter-productive and unprofessional. Of course, so is responding to such admonitions as if they merit the time and effort. Mea culpa.


  48. Grateful? Uh, no.

    This is a business relationship. If someone is offered a contract, it’s not a favor. The publisher made an offer because they liked the book. That stands true, whether it’s the first book or the hundredth. You make it sound like authors are Quasimoto and publishers are Esmerelda: “Water! She gave me water!”

    Granted, a first time author probably doesn’t want to go around crying that they didn’t get the support that Nora Roberts would have, but that’s not gratitude. It’s caution. Because Newbie Q Author isn’t La Nora, and at that level, the author should keep his or her mouth shut and promote his / her ass off. But when they reach Anne Stuart’s level (and have St. Martin’s ready to take her, should she step off), why isn’t she allowed to say she’s not happy where she is? She has other choices, other recourse.

  49. ::attention getting whistle::
    Yo. WitLiz Today !

    Bring it.

    ::muttering to self::
    Frek’n Hate threats from anonymous fangrrl freaks who’ve watched ONE too many episodes of The Sopranos. Wanna ruin my career because I can’t stand Miss crap*o*meter Snark. Kiss my grits. I can screw up my OWN career without any help from fek’n fangrrl squids making BS threats. As for Crusie no publisher in their right mind would drop that much $$$ in the bank over a blog post defending Anne.

  50. Witliz wrote:
    For the commenters, aka ex-snarklings, who just dissed Miss Snark…It’s not a good idea to burn a bridge this publicly, ‘cos if I recognize you, so will others.

    So I take it that Miss Snark is God then?

    I’m not being funny, but how come somebody so effing important gets the time to talk as much shit as she does on her blog?

    Just sayin’.

  51. Witliz obviously has no idea who JC or Krissie are, as she’s not of that published world, so ignore her. A second-level threat offered by an anonymous wannabe minion has neither merit nor weight. If Miss Snark recognizes me or others here (none of us exactly hide online) and based solely on our posts here/elsewhere vows never to represent any of us, that’s just peachy. It probably wouldn’t have worked out for anybody involved. If she’s half the professional so many seem to think she is (Janet Reid or someone else), she’d hardly base professional decisions about the salability of a manuscript on this variety of blog comments. Sheesh.

  52. 1. Anne Stuart wasn’t being ungrateful in her comments.

    2. Publishing isn’t about etiquette; it’s about making money. Dan Brown’s publisher wouldn’t drop him even if he were a major biotch.

    3. What’s interesting to me is that even though Anne Stuart’s publisher wasn’t putting any more effort into marketing her books, she made the New York Times Bestsellers list FOR THE FIRST TIME. After a long, solid career of putting out book after quality book, why now? I wonder if it’s because she marketed it herself–I noticed she appeared on different websites, reaching readers that had not heard of her. This is off topic, but how to harness the power of the Internet to promote a book is fascinating, and I think authors are just beginning to tap into its potential for self-promotion.

  53. apparently witliz thinks publishers only contract with NYT best selling authors out of the kindness of their hearts. And gee, here I thought they were a business.

    Publishers at the top and authors at the bottom?

    An writer without a publisher is still a writer. A publisher without a writer is an empty warehouse.

  54. And how much do I love Rose Hilliard for publicly embracing Krissie and thereby proving that not all publishers subscribe to the Miss Snark Theory that all authors should be Humble and Grateful or risk becoming unpublishable.

    Yeay, Ms. Hilliard!

  55. Not that I didn’t love Jenny for the blog post in the first place, but then she already knew that…

  56. Thank you for a great post, and some insights that are likely not obvious to people on the outside. I had read Miss Snark’s post and several of the people agreeing with her, but I had not even really looked at what had been said to start this round of snarkiness. Seeing it from the view of someone who is open about who they are and their full involvement with publishing has been helpful.

    I found another of her posts troubling, though, and I wonder if you would comment. She said that there is no problem with people posting their stories online.

    I have heard differently in a couple other quarters, but people are quoting Miss Snark to me at every turn now, and I find it kind of troubling that she would suggest people put their work up on line and not worry about it. I know of several reasons to worry, not the least of which is that someone can steal it and claim it as their own… and court cases proving otherwise are costly. Publishers don’t really like to have books sitting in warehouses while lawyers (whether they are paying them or not) make money sorting it out.

    I have told many people to look to the professional writers out there and note how often they put their stories up on line. Like not at all, unless it is a gift to their loyal readers.

    What about first publication rights, or is this an old-fashioned and out of date term these days? I had always heard that publishers pay writers (especially novelists) for the right to be the first person to present the book to the public. A blog is public, as is an open website, last I heard. And I was taught that it doesn’t matter how many readers you have — if a work is published, it is published.

    I know there are a few people who have managed to land a contract anyway — but I also know of one case where a someone had sold to an sf magazine and lost the sale because the story was up on Elfwood. (Evil site, at least for writers.)

    So, am I being hopelessly old-fashioned in a world of Internet and blogs? Or is there a reason why people should still protect their work if they intend to submit it to publishers?

    Thank you for your time (and anyone else who cares to help me out on this one).

  57. I wouldn’t put a complete story online that I ever intended to sell. Period. I do offer excerpts. First chapter, etc. But as far as the whole thing, I don’t recommend it, unless it’s a Freebie to give people a taste of your writing. If someone wants to include your Freebies in an anthology later because you’re famous and awesome, that’s fabulous, but I’d never post a complete work on the Internet and then hope to sell it later.

    An author named Sue Wilson who wrote a phenomenal novel about the Sheriff of Nottingham called Greenwood. She had it up, in entirety, on some site that was supposed to get her publicity for the unpubbed mss. Someone stole it, in entirety and published it through IUniverse under their own name. She went through a lot of hassle over that and it tainted what was otherwise a glorious book. Shelby Reed, an Ellora’s Cave author, lists it, rightfully so, as one of the best books she ever read (and I concur). So theft does happen; I wouldn’t risk it.

  58. I. Totally. Agree. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I know people that follow this woman–whomever she is–religiously. And I agree wholeheartedly with the whole anonymous thing. If you’re agent, why be anonymous? Why not tell us who you are? Other agents blog as well and have no problem identifying themselves. The only thing I can think of as to why she’s wailing on this person is that she works for the publisher Krissie’s talking about.

  59. Thank you. I am a published author dropped after three books from a major publisher due to poor sales, and have had to restart my career from scratch. Back then, my agent admitted that the publisher was treating me badly but advised me to “toe the line” and shut up. I don’t want to, but in my position – with a new agent, and hoping to get a publisher soon – I found the imp of cowardice sitting on my shoulder. Your words, and Anne’s example, have helped shoo him away. I’m telling my story on livejournal – and I’m going to tell the truth.

  60. Thanks for speaking out against this new “cult” of “snark”, Jenny.

    As a small fry author who has received a couple of “snarks” about her books already, I must admit I’m mystified. Whatever happened to signing your name to whatever you write? Why is this “hit and run”, sort of kindergarten maturity style of journaling online so popular? Could it be we’ve raised a generation of emotionally deficient individuals who hide behind anonymity because they’re afraid of growing up and taking responsibility for their words and actions? Who knows?


  61. go Rose Hilliard.

    ann elise: thank you for working hard to bring us books. and for reminding us not all publishers are like this.

    zeldaz: i find it fascinating too. i love how author websites are popping up; how they use blogs, journals, etc to get their name out there. plus, this way i get to read excerpts and get updated quicker.

    which goes into zette: annie dean already answered this, but i just wanted to say that i know people who have had poetry stolen from them when put online, so i don’t suggest you put whole pieces at all (though what happens if you copyright? trying to remember what CBs said about copyright laws- hard to prove you stole an idea so be careful about what you put up).

    just wondering if anybody could name good publishing blogs that they feel they learn from and enjoy.

  62. This stuff is unbelievable. Miss Snark is definitely not an agent. She has WAY too much time on her hands. Who the hell’s supposed to be on her client roster? Stephen King? Even then she should be too busy handling his business to blog all day everyday.

    The way these idiots are ripping into Anne is much the way people like Ed Champion are ripping into Millenia Black for speaking out and for suing her publisher. It’s outrageous. And when Monica Jackson jumped in (one of the few to openly speak up in defense of MB) they started attacking her too. These people really need more fearless souls to put them in their place.

    Poor Anne and Millenia.

    Becca Tricolli

  63. Thank you, Annie Dean, for that graphic example of why this is a bad idea. I’ll be sure to pass that one on to people at my site.

    orangehands —

    Copyright always stays with the author unless he specifically signs it away. That’s why, on the inside of most books, you’ll find the copyright in the author’s name. So putting material up on line does nothing to the copyright itself — but you would still have to prove that you were the first one to write it.

    Ideas are not copyrighted, and neither are titles and names (though some can be trademarked — Star Wars(tm) Luke Skywalker(tm), etc.), so even if you didn’t lose your story to someone, you could probably lose the idea of it or the names.

    My husband suggested that a lot of the Miss Snark attitude and following comes from the same sort of people who enjoy shows like American Idol. (Was that the name? I never watched it.) The idea of being able to be rude and ridicule people is now part of entertainment — and some people do enjoy it. I just think there should be a line between this type of entertainment and business. But maybe that’s just me in some ways.

  64. Anyone who has their heart set on placing your material online should at least consider using a Creative Commons copyright for some protection. It’s meant more for blogging and the like, but may make people stop and think.

    I agree with the consensus, just say no. 😉

    I think the Idol guy is Simon something.

  65. I popped over from Smart Bitches and I must say I am really impressed. First of all to Jenny for sticking up for her friend, I love Sister Krissy! Second – to FerfeLaBat for saying just about everything, including the stuff she said to Witless. Third – hopefully someday, Lord willing, I may have a book published and Witless please remember my name so that if my manuscript ever crosses your desk – feel free to throw it out – I wouldn’t want someone as clueless as you to even touch it, I would rather it remain unpublished. Swear to Heaven! My name is Vicki Sheets and you obviously have me shaking in my size 8 doc martens….

  66. Hi and I think you’re correct. I also doubt Miss Snark’s an agent; I wrote about this whole thing when it first happened.

    In my opinion, many of that blogger’s posts are just plain mean, especially towards writers. Why so many hang out at such a hostile-to-writers place is beyond me, but then I’ve always thought way too many writers are unhealthily masochistic.

  67. Bravo Jenny.

    I love Anne Stuart’s books and I love the idea of ‘free speech’ (what a concept 😉

    Congratulations on Anne making the NY bestsellers list!!!

  68. Dear Goddess of Snark 🙂 Sorry, had to toss that in there. I agree 100% that Miss Snark is really just like those mean girls in high school who simply enjoyed tormenting others to make themselves feel good. And she does have quite the following, again, just like the “Mean Girls” of the world. Gosh, they even made a movie about that wild animal.

    I have to confess to being biased. I was a victim of the shark–erm, I mean snark, oops, my keyboard slipped–feeding frenzy when I made, admittedly, a mistake in judgment. I was brand spanking new to Miss Snark’s blog (had only read it for a month or two before her “Crapometer” this fall) and kept wondering if I’d lost my sense of humor. In fact, I actually asked a couple of friends, “Have I lost my sense of humor? Generally? Because this doesn’t sound funny to me, just scathing and back-stabbing.” I was also writing really dark stuff (new material) and trying to edit something else that was supposedly all light and funny. When I made my faux pas–MAJOR feeding frenzy ensued–I was ripped up and down on not one, not two, but THREE blogs AND received well over 100 death threats. Yeah, death threats from total strangers. Vile language, hostility and venom to unbalanced levels, and guess what? Every last one of them had a Referrer URL that traced right back to Miss Snark’s blog. Hmmm…amazing thing the internet.

    I was hurt and defensive, naturally, when I got attacked from all sides by the “Snarklings” but I must say, my #1 complaint was the utter lack of professionalism. I made a mistake. Fine, tell me so. Tell me in clean ready-for-PG13-audiences professional language. Maybe even, as others have noted, offer POSITIVE advice. Wow, what an idea for an agent to offer positive, constructive criticism to a struggling wannabe author who’s made a mistake. I bet someone who’s an agent could actually make a viable blog out of that idea! 😀

    I’ve been on the internet since 1985, and I’m female. Back then, there were about 20 other females online. You can imagine why I took on the genderless moniker “-sry” but I have never ever hidden behind “anonymous” and have always answered, if asked, with my real name (Sarah R. Yoffa – google me to read more on the Miss Snark debacle that resulted from my mistake in ignorance this September).

    I definitely understand the need, sometimes, for some people, to use an anonymous moniker or a genderless one. The net is really not a “safe” space for saying just any old thing; however, I cannot see using it to hide behind in order to say…just any old thing. I have about 8 or 10 mailboxes. Most of them have either my domain ( or the “sry” in there somewhere. I never actually “hide” but do like the different “personas” for different forums. To use an anonymous moniker to protect one’s professional “day job” from one’s online activities is actually necessary in some fields. I don’t think publishing is one of those fields.

    In publishing, your name is EVERYTHING. Whether you’re an author, an agent, an editor or a whole publishing house, your name and the numbers associated with it are ALL that anyone knows. If you make one little change to the name, the numbers go away and you are starting from scratch. Has been done many, many times. So if you’re trying to establish your reputation as a knowledge and competent member of the publishing community, blogging behind a moniker doesn’t really make sense. Miss Snark, however, claims it is necessary or she’d be flooded with wannabe author emails and never get anything done. She (if she is a “she” :-)) claims it is for self-preservation. Interesting. Most blogs allow the option to NOT share your email address or even your profile information. Why, I do believe both Blogger and WordPress (both FREE bloggers) even allow you to refuse to accept comments if such strikes you.

    Ms. Crusie, if I could bow at your feet, just to make Miss Snark jealous 😉 I would–right after I did so at Anne Stuart’s. Your post defending Anne Stuart totally validated me in what I experienced this September at the hands of Miss Snark. My situation was a totally different subject at the core and yet, the response was 100% the same: scathing, back-stabbing Mean Girls in a feeding frenzy. Thank gawwwd my threat of legal action (FBI might have entered into my email to Miss Snark…or it might have slipped) stopped my being harrassed, but until I read this blog entry today, I still wondered if I’d over-reacted or misinterpreted Miss Snark and her bastion of Snarklings. I didn’t. Thank you for telling I just didn’t. And I don’t think I’ve lost my sense of humor at all. I still find YOU to be funny 😉 So there.

    Sarah R. Yoffa
    Joe Buckley’s Got My Back (Help! Help!)

  69. The most disheartening thing about Miss Snark’s blog (besides her bashing the great Anne Stuart) are the snarklings bashing their fellow aspiring writers. It becomes a feeding frenzy. It seems as if some people believe that by posting how wise (and snarkily snotty) they are, they will get recognition and requests to see partials and fulls and offers of representation because they are in the know.

    It doesn’t work that way. Scintillating writing, ladies and gentleman, scintillating writing.

  70. I am not going to take the popular side here. I will say that I think all three parties have something very valid to say (when one cuts through all the cynical remarks). I do not think any side is 100% wrong or any party is 100% right. I think one must take it all in perspective. Additionally, I posted about this in my blog Cobwebs Of The Mind in the thread entitled: Think Long And Hard Before…It May Be Your Only Chance trying to discuss the pros and cons in a non-confrontational atmosphere of this argument.
    All that being said if anyone is interested, there is a thread over at Absolute Write which is discussing this very problem: Should You Ever Speak Out Against Your Publisher?

  71. I originally was going to keep my mouth shut because this is so silly for people to be going back and forth on that I would just like to see it die a quiet death.

    Then I read Sarah Yoffa’s post.

    I remember the mistake she’s talking about, the one that she didn’t actually mention in her comment here. And I remember commenting on it. Most of the people who did were absolutely aghast at it and I think their comments reflected that. In fact, a few insisted it HAD to be a joke.

    This little mistake was that Ms Yoffa posted on her blog a way to have an editor at Tor notice her manuscript and want to request it. She posted the first chapter or so on her blog, invited people to read it, and then suggested that these readers post a comment on this Tor editor’s blog telling her why she should want to read this manuscript.

    Spam Tor.

    And she wonders why the snarklings did a collective WTF???

    And the post came down within hours. An apology was offered, but instead of saying ‘I screwed up’, it was everyone else who took it the wrong way. A left-handed apology, if you will.

    Yes, sometimes the commenters are not all warm and fuzzy. They can be cruel. And not all of us agree with everything and everyone who comments, or even with the posts themselves. But if you’re going to slam, as Ms Yoffa did, also admit to WHY it was that all of us rotten, Mean Girl snarklings were commenting on. And most of us were saying, it will be one of the worst things you could do. Maybe we should’ve kept quiet and let Ms Yoffa shoot herself in the foot and piss off an editor (this editor did mention the entire incident on her blog and her tone suggested she was not happy with the idea. From what I understand, the editor in question left a rather pointed comment on Miss Yoffa’s blog.) In that case, as one of those who said ‘what the hell is she thinking’, I apologize. Sarah, I’m sure it would have gotten you results. Just probably not the one you wanted.

    As for the crapometer, if you submit without knowing exactly what you’re submitting to, you reap what you sow. Maybe you should look into then avenues to which you submit your ‘precious baby’ instead of simply hitting send?

    Anne Stuart is well within her rights to say (or post) what she wishes. I think it’s great that she has a friend like Jenny Cruisie to defend her. But I also think it’s great that people can dissent and disagree, but I hate all of the name calling going on. It’s silly and pointless. I will sign my name to this and what will be, will be, I guess. I just don’t like half-truths being tossed out as whole truths.

  72. I think it’s great that she has a friend like Jenny Cruisie to defend her. But I also think it’s great that people can dissent and disagree, but I hate all of the name calling going on. It’s silly and pointless.

    Agreed. We should quit calling names. Miss Snark can begin by retracting and apologizing for “nitwit,” which I believe was the first salvo, was it not?

    Yeah. I won’t be holding my breath. Blue is SO not my color.

  73. Why should anyone apologize for their opinion? I don’t see anyone demanding Anne Stuart apologize for her opinion, or anyone here apologize for theirs. And if one’s blog is one’s forum, why should Miss Snark have to apologize for the opinion she posted on her blog? Yeesh… It’s time people grow up and stop this whole I won’t do unless she does first nonsense. That’s just as silly and equally pointless.

  74. I am humbled when anyone stands up publicly at risk to themselves, in this case a career. Bravo.

    However, I’m having a difficult time trying to read the disrespect in Ms. Stuart’s statements. She indicated she disagrees with her publisher on some business issues. Had she raked the publisher over the coals, or indicated the publisher had “shoddy” business practices, I could see it. If anyone is deluded in thinking that Publishing is the only industry in which the bottom line (profits) is king, think again. Seems to me Ms. Stuart simply stated the obvious and indicated that as a writer, it is of concern. Perhaps I’m simply a nitwit. It doesn’t concern me in the least; I am in pretty fine company.

    As for the anonymous Ms. Snark blog, I have a difficult time understanding why any fledgling writer would never question “her”. Anyone can start a blog and claim to be an authority in anything, if they present their expertise anonymously. Anyone reading and following this blog should do so with a packet of salt, rather than “clue cake”.

    To the readers who remain so loyal as to issue death threats via electronic means (as indicated in a previous comment), that is a crime. The Police and other authorities would and should follow-up.


  75. This has been a fascinating set of posts, by the way. I agree with Deb on her ‘packet of salt’ remark. I have contact with many new writers on the Internet, and I’ve found it disturbing that so many of them are willing to quote Miss Snark as gospel without ever really knowing anything about her or if what she posts applies to them. It’s troubling, sometimes. In fact, I suspect that most of her followers are in the ‘too new to know better’ group. I might be wrong, really — but I don’t see a lot of professional names there, and I certainly don’t see a lot of professional behavior. I run a site for writers that does attract a few published authors, and I don’t think any of them would ever consider being that rude to people who just came looking for help and answers. But then, again, that is also the difference in approach. We have rules about rudeness.

    That’s not to say all of them are new to writing, or that all of them are rude or clueless in their own ways — but there is a strong current, I think, that encourages it.

    I’ve also been thinking more and more about the new Cult of Rudeness that seems to be popular these days. I don’t get it myself, and I’ll probably blog on that later today, just to get it out of my system.

  76. Why should anyone apologize for their opinion? I don’t see anyone demanding Anne Stuart apologize for her opinion, or anyone here apologize for theirs. And if one’s blog is one’s forum, why should Miss Snark have to apologize for the opinion she posted on her blog? Yeesh… It’s time people grow up and stop this whole I won’t do unless she does first nonsense. That’s just as silly and equally pointless.

    Kim – One’s blog is indeed one’s forum. Snark has every right to post her opinion there, even if it includes being “silly” and “pointless” enough to toss around labels like “nitwit.” (You ARE the one who brought up name-calling, aren’t you?) But if she’s going to stoop to that level, she should be prepared for some negative reaction. And so should her Snarklings.

    You want truths as opposed to half-truths? Truth: You reap what you sow.

  77. Selah – Um… silly and pointless were regarding the arguments, not any one individual. And far as I know, I didn’t label ANYONE as a nitwit. Actually, I haven’t called anyone anything – which is more than I can say for other posters.

    So, let me get this right – it’s ok to call her and anyone who reads her blog names because they couldn’t possibly be worthy of anything but contempt. Sheer brilliance there. That makes about as much sense as this entire ridiculous argument.

    Truth – If you want to call names, go right ahead. I will not stoop to that level. With any luck this entire SILLY and POINTLESS argument will die a natural death. I, for one, have had enough.


  78. Nice way to let this die a natural death by blogging about it Kim. You also managed to get in a dig at the posters here, but at least you weren’t anonymous about it and that is more than we can say about Miss Snark-which was kind of the point of Jenny’s blog.

  79. My only confusion here is really this… why is it an opinion to call someone a nitwit, but calling names to say others are (like) mean girls? Or did I miss some key point? (Which, really, wouldn’t shock me at all.)

    I have learned a great deal from this thread and the original post. It’s plain that people have very differing views on what’s happened and why, and what’s good behavior and what’s bad on both sides. It’s been interesting to read.

  80. Zette said, “I found another of her posts troubling, though, and I wonder if you would comment. She said that there is no problem with people posting their stories online.”

    I’ve read many articles that say just the opposite, that publishing online is frowned on by publishing companies.

    That said, there is at least one publisher that has no problem with publishing online, provided you follow their rules. Baen Books. ( Baen is Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’m a huge Lois McMaster Bujold fan. She recommended Jenny. Now I’m also a Jennifer Crusie Fan. I bought ’em all, some of them twice.

    Anyway, they have a bulletin board – Baen’s Bar ( and there are several “conferences” there, such as Slush Pile, Universe Slush, and 1632 Slush where you can post a story you’d like published in whole or in part.

    Many stories posted in the 1632 Slush have been picked up for publication and published in Anthologies dedicated to the “1632 Universe.” I can’t vouch for the other slush piles. Many of the stories are unrepentant romance despite the overall SF&F coating.

    Baen also encourages authors to place the first story in a series in the Baen Free Library, where the eBook may be downloaded free of charge AND free of encryption (“DRM”). The publisher has found that the free exposure of the author and his or her stories results in More Sales of “dead tree” books. (

    You can find Eric Flint’s “1632” there, and read it for free. Yes, it’s science fiction. It’s also three wonderful romances.

  81. Gary —

    Yeah, I always thought that looked like an interesting way to go, but it is actually a submission method, not just random postings of novels and stories on line. (grin) I don’t know. Maybe I’m just helplessly behind the times, but I keep thinking that posting things you hope to sell later is just not the best idea in the world.

    I do intend, however, to have a blog for stories I have either already sold or think would just be fun to share — but I’m doing it with the full understanding that these are stories that will not be going out in submissions later.

    Maybe I’m crazy. (Well, yes….)

  82. The no anonymous comments, though, that’s like me.

    Color me incredibly amused by this, considering that more than fifty percent of the people leaving comments are obviously using an alias and who knows if the ones with real-sounding names are using their own names?

    What exactly is the significant difference between anonymous comments and pseudonymous comments, and why is one morally superior to the other?

  83. I agree with the Ann O Nymous. I’m not really understanding the dig at anonymous blogging. Do people really think that because a person lists a name that sounds real and posts a picture on their blog that it is really them? Many authors write under pseudonyms that people don’t learn about until years after their death. Is an author evil for not wanting to write under their own name? Does that make their writing any less valid? If not, why? What is the difference between a book writer who uses a pseudonym and a blogger who does?

    The fact is that there are many valid reasons for anonymous blogging including the very thing you are standing up for. Being able to complain about one’s situation without repercussions such as losing one’s job because one’s employer saw one’s blog about them.

    Stephen King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman for awhile. Does that make his books and career any less valid? Not only that, I believe that when he first started out as a writer, the publishing company he signed up with treated him very badly. I don’t remember if he publicly complained about them or not but I do know that he went out found himself another publishing company who treated him better.

    MaryJaene Desario

  84. I think the rap on anonymity has to do with the intersection of anonymity and meanness.

    Secret admirers are often nice additions to a life.

    Secret assassins–not so nice.

    If you’re going to rough someone up, at least have the–ah–nerve to put your name on your brickbats.

    Marcie Lamb

  85. I have no problem with anonymous blogging. I have a problems with anonymous attacks.

    On Nov. 3, Miss Snark called Anne Stuart the Nitwit of the Day. On Nov 9, she posted a blog about Anne Stuart that said “Cause once is never ever enough times to be the nitwit of the day.” On Nov. 11 she posted a blog about Anne Stuart called “Nitwitery Follow up.” At that point, I asked Anne Stuart if she had run over Miss Snark’s dog. When she said, “No,” I posted my blog. Miss Snark stopped harassing Anne Stuart, very possibly for reasons having nothing to do with my blog. What she did was harassment, which she thought she could get away with because she’s anonymous.

    A pseudonym is not anonymous. Most of us go to conferences using our pseudonyms, give speeches using our pseudonyms, do book signings using our pseudonyms. The vast majority of the people who know me, meet me, talk to me, meet me as Jennifer Crusie. I am accountable for the words I write and I stand behind them. (For those who want my real name, it’s on the copyright page of most of my early books: Jennifer Smith. Yeah, THAT sounds like a false name.)

    “Being able to complain about one’s situation without repercussions such as losing one’s job because one’s employer saw one’s blog about them” is also being able to slander one’s boss and destroy his reputation without consequences. People who don’t have the balls to face the people they’re attacking, shouldn’t attack.

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