Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snarking about Snark for Snark's Sake

Okay, I am raising my hand and testifying that, yes, I am susceptible to snark. I've enjoyed it, laughed at it, rolled my eyes over it, even dished it out.

But here's the thing. Sometimes snark is bullying.

I think of Regina George and her now-famous Burn Book. Left on its own, in her tiny little brain, okay I guess, no harm done. But put it out there for the world to see and blammo. Bully.

Why the hell is she snarking about snark? I hear you asking this, I do.

Well, yet another twitter account got started this week trying to be pithy and clever - supposedly from an industry professional - but in reality it's mean and nasty snark meant to belittle aspiring writers.

Okay - sure, you can do your research and find out quickly that you should never ever call your book the next great thing or compare yourself to J.K. Rowling - but people, writers only know where they are when they're there.

Who here hasn't sent something out too soon, too raw, too rough?

And that's why it pisses me off when I see secret agent and editor accounts that are set up for nothing more than to PUBLICLY blow off steam and snark about writers.

Grow up.

If I, as a teacher, were to set up an account like this to bitch about my students, and I were discovered, I'd be fired faster than you can say, "Beyotch."

And there's my two cents on the subject. As if. LOL. OMG. FWIW.

13 comments:

  1. THANK YOU! I have the same problem with these sites/twitter feeds. If I send my query to you, it is a piece of professional correspondence (whether you consider it up to your professional standards or not) and I expect it to be treated that way. Not quoted for laughs on the internet. Brava.

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  2. It had to be said. Professionals shouldn't have to vent publicly over something that is part of their job. When did snarkiness get confused with being witty or smart?

    Twitter allows a stage, inviting performers. How best to stand out? Appeal to the lowest common denominator.

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    1. It's so easy to say things like, "well I wasn't talking about you" or "lighten up" but the thing is, some people aren't thick skinned.

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  3. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what private rejection letters are for. Though I do think if you dug to the bottom of the snark pile in their hearts you'd find most think they are somehow helping writers by pointing out what not to do, but there are better ways of doing it than belittling someone who just didn't know any better and maybe never will. Just send them a "this isn't for me" rejection letter and be done with it.

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    1. I agree that probably the initiator of these accounts truly thinks they are being funny, and maybe I just have a stick up my rear, but I get tired of people bashing newbie writers and acting so much mightier than thou.

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  4. Yeah, it can be so rough when the "professionals" are snarky like that. Writers have this huge dream of getting published, and at the beginning of the process, we're still starry-eyed and unaware of what's right and wrong. There's no need for that.

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  5. Well said! Unfortunately, as I have to keep reminding myself, I can only control my actions and my professionalism. I will say, though, sometimes snark can be helpful (when it's not directed at you): I take note of the feeds you reference, and every now and again I file away a "don't do that" gem for my writing journey. *Shrug*. Still, I agree: I don't like to see anyone in the writing industry behaving this way.

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    1. And some things are great, like Sara Megibow's 10 queries in 10 tweets where her feedback is specific and snark free. Or Query Shark, where you send in your query willingly to have it ripped apart. And she keeps with you till you've got it or you give up - those sites are incredible resources. And yes, you CAN learn from snark - but do industry professionals need to go anonymous to do it? That's what bothers me the most. If you're going to be a bitch or bastard, let us know who you are so we can make an educated decision on if we want to work with you or not.

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  6. I will be forever grateful to the agent and editor who read my first ever first page at a conference, found something lovely to say about its voice and then kindly pointed out why it would never sell.

    Had they shredded it so early on, I might have quit. (You could shred away now, but I'm in a far different place). Whether I ever sell anything or not, writing and the people I've met have enriched my life. How sad if that opportunity is destroyed for a few laughs or a quick ego inflation.

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    1. I think the part of it being done for possible ego inflation is what bothers me. I try to explain to my "wittier" students that not everyone takes jokes the same way and you can't assume people aren't going to be bothered by snark.

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  7. I recently stumbled onto an agent on Twitter who commented and posted tidbits of queries. I had recently queried said agent. I surfed through his last two months in hopes of NOT finding anything about mine! I didn't. But had I found something about my query, I would've been mortified. Humiliated. Tweeting helpful things about what not to do in a query is one thing, but bashing specifics, where writers recognize it as their own, is going too far.

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Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'