Monthly Archives: July 2016

I Thunked it Would be Easy, but is Anything Really Easy? If You Were to Ask Me, I’d Say No, but is Anything Really Easy? Probably Not, but is Anything Really…

ss-apr10-38Recently, I’ve been stuck on the subject of rejections during the course of writing. I would be remiss if I were to leave out my entire life story while traveling down that wonderful road of rejection.

During my early days immersed in the glamorous spectacle that is writing, I determined my course from reading other glamorous publications that assisted early glamorous writers.

This publication instructed new writers to attempt having their work placed in magazines and other such articles. This would in essence emulate crawling before walking; showing agents or publishing houses that you were, in fact, a published author lending more credence when they perused your best-selling manuscript.

I began in earnest writing short stories in the science fiction and horror genres. I sent these stories to the larger science fiction magazines, confident I would find a home between the covers.

Alas, no one took the bait. I was forced to drop a notch and send my stories to a magazine a few rungs down the ladder. This continued for some time. I eventually ended up trying to publish my babies in on-line magazines that would boast circulations of dang near a hundred readers.

Well, to say the least, I was scraping the bottom of the literary world. I couldn’t really blame it on the barrel, so the only one I could lay it on would be me. Even though I had developed a rather thick hide, I dare not delve into the world of flash fiction or even one word fiction lest I never find my way out again.

I did the only thing a person who wishes to become a writer can do. I took to honing my writing skills and now have three published books to my credit.

If you get nothing more out of this blog post, let it be this: Author friends don’t let other author friends write stupid.

This has been brought to you by a grant from the Lynn Steigleder Foundation, preventing people from writing sub-standard manuscripts since this blog post began…I hope.

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I Told You When You Wrote It You Would Have to Change It, but Do You Ever Listen to Me? Noooo. It’s a Good Thing You Have This new Fangled Writing Machine

1909_McCool_typewriter_no._2_25_ad_detailDo you appreciate the things you have that make life easier? We all get upset if we happen to suffer a flat tire, even though it’s really a small thing. Instead we should be thankful that we have a car to put it on.

How about that pesky paper cut on your thumb that’s beginning to become infected and keeping you from doing many simple tasks

Do you appreciate the things you have that make life easier? We all get upset if we happen to suffer a flat tire, even though it’s really a small thing. Instead we should be thankful that we have a car to put it on.

How about that pesky paper cut on your thumb, that’s beginning to become infected and keeping you from doing many simple tasks? We complain even though all we need to do is squeeze an antibacterial ointment from a tube and wrap it with a band aid. Not so many years ago this tiny wound could have been fatal.

The same goes for writing. We become infuriated as mistakes pile up during rewrites and edits, when all we have to do is delete and add in the correct text or punctuation.

A hundred years ago imagine working on an archaic typewriter and having to change just one word on a single page. Kinda makes ya want to throw a sideways head nod and thanks toward that computer we complain so much about.

Imagine having to write your manuscript by hand using an implement known as the pencil. It was a slightly different process when you begin to rewrite these oldies but goodies. The first erasers used were bread.

That kinda brings it home, don’t ya think? So the next time you (and I’m including myself) grumble about having to change a gummed up manuscript, think about having to erase those mistakes with your lunch.

 

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It’s Going…Going…Going…That Ball is Outta Here!

1PnGye1I’ve written short stories, long stories, novelettes and novels. After a lot of soul searching I thought I may try my hand at self-help pamphlets.

This would be a way I could give back and help folks in these awkward situations that you or I may have had to deal with.

I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I may actually be able to pull someone dangling over the brink of despair, at the end of their rope or some other such dastardly demise. Let me give you an example of the information contained in these aforementioned brochures.

I will start by telling on myself. As a young man living in a rural area riding a bike was an everyday occurrence. Besides being fun it was a great way to access my friends who also rode bikes and lived in the neighborhood.

Occasionally, I would stop short (usually by way of a deep rut in a dirt road or a solid object i.e. house or tree) and slide forward in my seat. This in turn would cause my naughty bits to strike a round piece of steel. Now if you happen to be of the male persuasion you are probably cringing as you read.

Here’s the point of the pamphlet: why would any sane individual design a man’s bike with a nutcracker as a stabilizer bar and a woman’s bike with a pain saving dip? This dip in the frame of a ladies bike would no doubt have produced more children from unmutilated men.

The original reason for the dip in a woman’s bike was probably to allow the rider to wear a dress or some such silliness when they rode.

It may be too late, but I think we should start a movement to eliminate the ballbuster from the man’s bike. This will also remove the stigma placed upon those males who like to wear a dress when they ride…well…maybe not so much.

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If You Place my Rejections End to End You’d Go……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….and Back Again

rejection-letterI don’t mean to harp on any one part of the publishing experience, but this one bears repeating.  Literary agents are one of the most valuable tools an author can have. Aren’t you curious as to how I know this? Well I’ll tell ya. I don’t! It boils down to what I’ve read. No doubt a literary agent is a boon to those authors who have managed to acquire one.

Then again, I believe it would be more likely to be sucked up by a tornado, struck by lightening and bitten by a shark all while summiting Mount Everest than obtain an agent. This is something I can speak on with authority.

I have contacted hundreds of agents with queries, requests for various parts of my manuscripts and the promise of my first born. I’ve received form rejections, told that the story was exceptional; however, they couldn’t fall in love with it and a plethora of other reasons. I did receive one response from a very sweet agent who enjoyed the query and chapters I sent. The more I read the more I knew this was it. What I had been slaving for had finally come to pass. Acceptance, I tell you, acceptance from the ones who had deemed me unacceptable. I had finally cracked the nut, escaped my cell of rejection and reached the pinnacle of pinnacles.

Alas, came the word “but.” I was dashed upon the rocks below, once again to dwell beneath the radar of agented representation.

I’m not trying to slam agents. I realize how hard it must be to pick an author to represent when each author you select represents your income. To make their selection process more difficult, literary agents receive hundreds of manuscripts a week, which equates to many thousand a year.

I still receive rejections from queries I sent over a year ago. I don’t want to self-publish; there are too many aspects of releasing a professional novel that I don’t feel proficient enough to tackle alone. Instead, I focus on small presses.

To wrap this blog post up, if you’re searching for an agent, make sure you have thick skin, dig in and get ready for an extended exchange…it nearly slipped my mind, but while you’re sending queries and  awaiting responses,   don’t forget to enjoy your grandchildren when they arrive, they grow up so quickly.

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