Tag: agent

The Ubiquitous #Query Letter @badlitagent

The Ubiquitous #Query Letter @badlitagent

(The following is a satirical expression of frustration with the egocentric gatekeepers of the publishing world.)

I am not picking on you @badlitagent, I like your snark.

There are many out there who claim to “know the secret” of how to write the “perfect” query letter.

 

If you just follow, their simple steps, agents, and publishers alike will seek your manuscript!

 

“Who believes that?”

 

I am a writer, I write!  When I am writing, I am lost in the story.  The characters take on lives of their own and demand that I faithfully capture their personalities and character traits, as well as their actions.  The story must be cohesive, that is where I live.

When you find yourself spending more time researching each agent, constructing a query letter, creating a synopsis per their idea of what that is, and first few pages in whatever format that desire, something is wrong.

The actual hell of it is, you are not, repeat not, trying to catch the agent’s attention.  They are too wrapped up in their position of power, to bother to read your query letter, much less respond to them.  No, they have interns that may be going to college or maybe in high school.  Hell, they might have their twelve-year-olds reading them.

 

(Looking for interns)

“If you like to read certain books that we represent, we will hire you as an intern.  You must be able to “read” several query letters, and write a report on each in one sentence or less.” 

 

When researching the agent, this is typical.

“If we don’t respond in eight weeks, consider it a pass.”

 

How fucking lousy is that!  You spend hours crafting the perfect Query letter, and the agent does not have time to respond with a  simple form reply..!?

 

“I want some fucking feedback!  Why? What about this letter, or this manuscript, turned you off on the project. What was missing?  What one thing if it had would make you excited?”

 

Some will send you the form letter “Your story is not the kind of material we represent.”  Please please please continue to bang your head against the wall though; we like to hear the banging, as it keeps us awake!
(It is what you represent, because I researched your damned site, and your bio, and who you have published thus far, so either you did not read it, or your intern cannot read!)

 

Here is what I think they mean to say. Allow me to translate this for you.

 

“If you have a proven track record of selling millions of books, we might consider looking at your manuscript.  If you were on the New York Times bestseller list, let us know that too, so we can ask the intern to read more than the title of what you send.  We only have time to spend on sure bets. If you are not a famous author, please, do not bother us! I know we say that we are looking for first time authors but we all say that, don’t we?  Whatever you have written, it is trash unless we can sell at least a million copies of it, without investing any money or time on it what so ever.  As the matter of fact; if you can sell a million copies on your own, just send us 30% and we might be persuaded to have the senior intern look at your next project.” 

 

“If you still want to send us a query letter, use one syllable words so our interns who are either stoned or still in pre-K can understand them.  Thanks for your understanding now, go fuck off! And, have a nice day!”  

 

My advice…

 

You cannot be a one trick pony.

 

You must have more than one novel in you.  Get published in as many places as you can.  Whether that be newsletters, magazines, short stories and unfortunately self-publish something.  Consider it a giveaway because there is little to no protection for intellectual property rights once you put it on the Internet.  There are programs out there that can take Kindle or other types of e-books and turn them into PDF’s so they can be “shared.”

 

Many write short stories and give them away just to get their “brand” out there.

 

Truthfully we have no idea what the intern is looking for; it could be word count, Genre, style of writing or eloquent phrases or pixie dust.   Since their website does not give us any information on where they went to school or what they like to read, it is a crap shoot!

 

The bottom line as I see it, you must “be someone” already, to get their attention.

 

Your thoughts are always interesting to me, feel free to elucidate on your experiences.

 

Maybe you have an agent that reads his or her own query letters?  Tell us about that.

 

Remember that most of this is satire, with some frustration mixed in.

 

-Best

 

© All rights Reserved 2016

 

 

To Lock or not to Lock

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This is not the first time that I have written about air travel.

On a recent trip the bags went one way, and the passenger another.  Now if you tried to do this deliberately, you could not orchestrate it but; trying to keep the bag and passenger on the same plane is proving more and more difficult.

The bag finally was returned a week later, and after many phone calls to several different airport personnel who did not have a clue or care. It was almost as if, “hey you are bothering me, I am just here to draw a check, not actually do something!”  I was going to say I may be exaggerating a little but actually no; not at all.  This was the attitude! When asked for her name she would not give it.  Hmmmmm…  And we wonder why the airlines have to cut services, charge more for the services that they still do have, and are still going broke.  Get rid of the dead weight airline people!  Grow a pair!

Usually; when my bag has been rifled through, looking for god knows what; there is a lovely piece of paper in it telling me that it was searched.  “Like I need a piece of paper telling me that my once neatly folded clothes, now appearing as if some gorilla had worn them for a week was not clue enough.”  Still, some notification of who did this would be nice.  On a recent trip the bag was searched, the lock went missing and there was no piece of paper.  Can we no longer afford the paper or did somebody else go through the bag?

These locks are not cheap and for my money not very secure either; as we have no idea who all has the magic “TSA Key”.  I am guessing that there are more than a few baggage handlers who have them in their possession.  So where are all of the missing locks?  A quick look on eBay and I found several “lots of airline TSA approved locks all set to 0.”

I wonder if the seller either works for the TSA, or has family or friends that do, surely not, they surely would not be that stupid.

Here is another issue with this.  I realize that this puts me out there with the conspiracy folks but what if someone wanted to use your luggage to smuggle something out of the country or state, or into the country?   If the luggage (with the payload) makes it through, it then is simply intercepted at the other end. You file a missing bag claim and nothing happens as nobody gives a damn anyway.  You chalk it up to the lousy airline, buy new stuff and write a blog about how crappy the airline is.  But what if the TSA actually doing there job while trying on your clothes, finds the “payload.”  Then they get all puffed up thinking they have found the “bust of the year, their name will be in all of the papers and they will be a hero to women and children alike!  Wheaties will even want to put their picture on a box and they will get money for their likeness being used!” Well, maybe not, maybe then just a simple promotion for doing their job.  Meanwhile; you get arrested and have to explain “the payload.”  Like who would be stupid enough to put something illegal in their own bag.  Well, some idiots do and thank goodness that they do or there would be nothing for the “locked up abroad” folks to write about.   I digress.  Think about it though. Because your luggage is now “unsecure” what if?  Do you realize that in a lot of countries you are not presumed innocent, until proven otherwise?

While the TSA is doing an excellent job of feeling up old ladies and small children, and of course looking at everyone’s “rude bits,” I would be a whole lot happier if they would secure my luggage with cameras, people and of course honest TSA agents.

My advice for now, use a carry-on if you can. Consider shipping your luggage via USPS or UPS or even FED-EX as even that would be cheaper than trying to prove to someone in Bora-Bora, that the drugs or money or what have you in your bag, are not yours.

Failing that, save some money, Use a cable tie to lock your bag.  It is too much trouble for the average baggage handler to cut off, and if the TSA wants in there, they can cut off a lock, they can certainly handle a zip tie.  Put a few extra in your carry on, purse or wallet for the rest of the trip and leave nothing of value in your bag.  Realizing that some Blue Jeans can sell for over $200 a pair (you know the ones with holes in them,) you may want to wear them.  Besides, if they have enough holes, the TSA will have less to grope!

It seems a sad state of affairs when the people who are providing a service think that it is ok to steal from you.  It is equally sad that Americans and for that matter anyone that travels by air; is forced to submit to this treatment.  A major news outlet actually did something that was not politically motivated by taking part in apprehending two TSA agents who on two separate occasions absconded with two different iPads. You would think that in this day and age of cameras everywhere, that the airport folks could put some security in the areas where people’s bags are.  Now that we know what is in everyone’s underwear, how about turning the cameras on the fox’s watching the hen house?

-Best to you and those that you care about!