Tag: writer

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

 

 

Getting Published #writer #author

Getting Published #writer #author

 

I write the following from what I have learned thus far on this subject.  I would appreciate input from those of you that have made this trip successfully.

Write Well 

It cannot be overemphasized enough to write well.  I have read many books written by people who were self-published. They wrote their story that they wanted to tell.  Not being able to make their fortune from their manuscript, they self-published. They spent the next several months trying to sell enough of their books to re-coop their investment.  Not everyone was meant to be a writer or published.  If they had read their work more carefully they would have discovered that it was not written well.  This leads me to my next thought.

Write for your enjoyment. 

The passion that most writers have is not to sell millions of books, just to write.  It has been said that if you want to get to know the author, read their book.  Take this one-step further.  If you want to get to know yourself, who you are…, write a book.  When you are reading your story, if you are listening, you will find yourself in your characters.  Insight as to who you actually are will come out in their actions and feelings.

If your characters do not have feelings, you need to go back and try again.  Sell the story through their actions or feelings.

Which reminds me, do not try to do this for a living, until you are famous.  Your sanity might depend upon you being in this world with a day job. We are social creatures, being around people and not in your world of your story all of the time is important.   Of this… I speak from experience…

Start out with a bang!

The first few pages sell your book, especially for an unknown. The prologue is a good place to entice the reader to want to know more, than you can build the story after the prologue. Once you become a JK Rowling, than you can let your name (or brand) sell your product.

Be well read

Most successful writers read a lot.  While I have read some “flash in the pan” books that were not well written, nor were the authors “well read,” that actually made it.  Statistics show that more often than not, books that get published, are from people who were well read.

Have a story that is unique and interesting

Your story should be unique.  If it is a rehash of a common situation, there is a good chance it will sit on the circular file cabinet of some publisher, until the janitor makes his or her rounds.

Expect rejection

You must have thick skin to be in this vocation.  Your own family may not like what you have written.  Do not expect everyone to love it as much as you do. This is your baby, your passion not theirs. As soon as you send it off to someone, start working on something else. One of the publishers that I have been talking with might take a year before they get back to you simply telling you, no thanks!

A Good Agent

First off, agents are about as hard to sell as are publishers themselves.  Many folks take up writing as a get rich scheme instead of for the pure passion of writing or telling a story.  Agents get a commission for what they do.  Never pay someone up front…If the agent is a true agent worth their salt, they will know from your synopsis if this is something that they can sell.

Do lots of research on your agent before signing.

Good agents are available. Locating them through a writers league might be a good idea as the others in the league might have an experience to share.

Finish your work before you think about getting it published

I have spoken with many who get some idea for a book and immediately approach an agent or publisher.  You have nothing to sell, until there is a manuscript of 120,000 words or so in your hands.” 

When writing your manuscript do not get hung up on the word count!  After the editing process, your 135,000 words might be around 95,000.  Somewhere between 100,000 and 120,000 seems to be optimal.

Check your work well before you send it off…

As alluded to in the last point, editing your work is paramount.  When you decide to send it off, it should be as good as you could possibly make it.  I like to read it aloud although one trick that I found is to have something like “Nuance’s Naturally Speaking” full edition; read it back to me, one paragraph at a time.  Your mind will skip over clumsy sentences or bad grammar.   The program only reads what it sees so the “you instead of the your” will pop out at you!

Try to get something published in a magazine prior to getting your book published.

This is a great idea for first time writers.  Write a short story or several, 5000 words or so and submit it to magazines.  If they publish it, they might pay around $500 for the story (one time) but you then can write on your cover sheet…published in….  That is a great way for your manuscript to get more of a look than 3 seconds, of some agent or publishers time.

“What magazine you ask?”  What do you write?  Sci-Fi… Pick a science fiction magazine and approach them with a story…

Submission guidelines are critical…

Everyone has some idea of what they expect to see when they open your manuscript.  I have found double-spaced block type, cover sheet etc… They should have guidelines to follow…follow them not just a little bit, to the letter.

Have a well-written synopsis keeping it to two pages.

This is a problem for writers.  You need to tell the complete story, with the ending in 500 words or so…2 pages…  Look for guidelines online… Oh yes, it must be written well…

Purchase The Writer’s Market published by Writer’s Digest

Query Letter

Send a query letter even if they say they are currently not accepting. The worst thing that will happen is you wasted a stamp.  (One page)  Many publishers may say that they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts but truth be told, they all want best sellers.  A query letter cost you .50 cents and it might perk their interests.

Sending your manuscript to agents and or publishers should not be with a lot of fanfare.  Simply box it “if it fits its ships” or padded envelope and let the post office do it for you.  No FED EX nothing like that…Media Mail in fact… Anything else gives the appearance of desperation.  “They should be lucky that you have chosen them to publish…”  Ok, maybe not but, you get the gist.

Now go back to writing and tell a story….

-Best

Below are a few links that I have found while digging.

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/

http://agentquery.com/publishing_mp.aspx

https://querytracker.net/whatisqt.php

http://www.writersmarket.com/

https://duotrope.com/

As a favor to me, many of you read and like my posts, which I thank you from the very bottom of my heart.  Follow me; share what you see.  Thanks!

Asteroids and Meteors Oh My!

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As a writer of science fiction, I was rather amused by the media trying to get “science savvy” calling on “experts” to explain the events of the last day or so.

The one theme that was consistent with all of the explanations was that the meteorite in Russia was not connected to DA14.

One writer pulled out her “slide rule” and gave us a lesson in probabilities and statistics leaving us empirical evidence that the Russian meteorite was simply a coincidence.

A small light show in the middle of the night, I would have bought as one can go out and watch the stars and on most any given night see a “falling star” or two.

When we have an event like the one in Russia at the same time that we have a huge rock flying by earth at a mere 17,000 miles away; I find that hard to stomach that it is a “coincidence.”  I was willing however to let it go as this is their field of expertise.

Last night the 15th of February we had another event similar in nature happen over San Francisco.   The reporter with a minor in math will most probably need to revisit her table of mantissa, as statistically speaking; the odds of these events having nothing to do with DA14, just went astronomical (pardon the pun).

We need to look at how these rocks are formed in the first place.  Exactly like this planet that we call home, they were first formed from “dust.”  Static electricity is most likely the cause of the first clumping of dust until the clumps became large enough to have some sort of gravity, even micro gravity.

In the scheme of things, speaking in an astronomical time frame, we have rocks, than we have larger rocks.  Those rocks now have substantial gravity and they pull in even more “stuff” until they are the size of planets.

Not all rocks make planets but because of gravity anything in orbit around another spatial body is in fact falling.  The planet we are on is falling; as well as the other planets in our solar system.  Because of the speed and the angle of our “fall” we are instead in orbit around the sun as the moon is in orbit around us.

Rocks in space are falling as well.  Many in fact are in an orbit between mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt known as “the main belt.”  Within this region of space reside many such rocks and even some dwarf planets.  There is another belt called the Kuiper belt which Pluto resides in.

These rocks and planets all have gravity and every now and then some event happens to cause one to fall or be knocked out of its orbit.  As there is nothing to offer resistance to such a rock it does not take long to pick up quit a bit of velocity on its way toward the sun.

My theory is that these rocks with their own gravity carry other smaller rocks with them that may very well have been in some sort of orbit around them.  I think that is what we experienced this February.  I believe that DA14 had some “friends” that it carried with it on its way towards the sun, and that is what came in to our atmosphere over Russia and San Francisco.  There may have been more that hit us that we don’t know about.  ¾ of our globe is uninhabited as it is covered with water. There is no stellar detection grid “yet” so we really have no idea if there were more or not.  When statistics do not make sense, you need to look for another answer.

There is an upside to this.  If my theory is right, this gives credibility to the “tractor” scenario of adjusting the orbit of other spatial bodies.  If those other rocks were indeed in orbit around or gravitationally attached to DA14, a moving larger rock, then we can and should proceed to figure out how to build such a tractor, and test it; as it is simply a matter of time when another life ending event such as the rock that killed the dinosaurs will happen again.

-Best to you and those that you care about.