Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Query Hell, or the problem with getting Published

Today is an anniversary of sorts.

   Yeah, it’s not really one the average person would take note of. Just myself.

   Today marks one full year since I began the Query Process for my novel.

   “Who cares?”  you must be thinking. “Who cares that you’ve been sending out queries for a year?”

   I do.

   And now I find myself in that place that all new writers (and a few veterans) find themselves, the dreaded ‘Query Hell’.

   What is ‘Query Hell’ the non-writers out there might ask? Well, it’s the place your query goes and never receives a response. You wait the appropriate number of weeks (or months), then send out a nice reminder to the agent or agency you’ve queried, and guess what?

   No response.

   I realize that most literary agents are busy with their regular, money-making clients. I do. But if you state in the LMP or other sources that you are “actively seeking new authors”, then maybe you should actually respond to said query.

   Even another rejection is better than not knowing.

   Yes, for one full year now I’ve been busy, not only with revisions and (extreme) editing, but with the creation of selective queries to ‘hook’ experienced literary agents into sitting up and taking notice.

   And of the queries I’ve sent out, less than ¼ of them have been acknowledged, the majority of those being rejections, with one request for a full manuscript (that ended up being a rejection).

   Of those rejections, more than 75% were in the form of a ‘Standard Form Rejection Letter’ which basically states (to me, anyway) that the agent or representative has neither time nor desire to look over any new work.

   And the result of this? Many talented writers become disgusted and distrustful of the traditional method of becoming published, and seek out ‘Vanity’ or ‘Self-publishing’ alternatives, that greatly reduce the quality of the ‘literary’ works available on the shelves of the (now-defunct) bookstores.

   Then you hear agents rant about the fact that they can’t find any new talent out there. Small wonder.

   Maybe said agents should check their ‘In Box’ for submissions? Naw, too demanding. Hard to check e-mails on the laptop when you’re busy bitching about the ‘lack of new talent’ while downing your third martini in a bar on an extended lunch because you have no new clients to represent.

   If I sound a little harsh, it’s because I’ve actually taken the time to go to New York and observe some of the daily practices of a few of the ‘Guardians of the Publishing Gates’.  A few that I talked to were very understanding, and even went so far as to state that they have no control over what the agency they represent puts on its website regarding queries from new authors.

   But the vast majority, over 30 that I spoke to, said that they were not seeking new clients unless those clients had a history of being published.

   So, in order to get represented, you have to have been previously published.

   But in order to be published, you must be represented.


   With this type of attitude toward new talent, it’s small wonder that many people either give up, or take the self-publishing or vanity route, allowing their works to be hashed-out without the benefit of editing or some form of support, which is an agent’s job, after all.

   The result is a glut of senseless, hard to follow, overdone genres that permeate the bookshelves and brings down the quality of literature.

   I mean, seriously, how many more effing ‘vampire’-genre books must the public endure?

   And who is to blame?

   Agents and Literary Agencies unwilling to give new writers a look.

   If you are an agent reading this, don’t expect an apology on my part, rather, do a couple of things that benefit not only the writers out there, but yourself as well.

   The first step is to start looking at what is in your In Box. The next great money-maker might just be sitting in there.

   Next, you need to RESPOND!

   Okay, maybe the query describes something so abysmal that you would never even think of considering it. Still, your duty is to respond to the author. Even if it IS a rejection in the form letter-style many agents like to use, at least give the writer some closure so that they can move on. It might even inspire them to revise that ‘Vampire meets girl, becomes president and saves world from Global-Warming’-genre and pound out something along the lines of a literary masterpiece…

   But you’ll never know unless you check your In Box.

   Sic vis Pacem, Parabellum (or is that para undies?)

Wiley (Coyote)

Monday, January 2, 2012

I'm Tired of the New Year

Happy New Year everyone. Welcome 2012. Time to set about to fulfill all those New Year’s resolutions we made a few weeks back…

Yeah, I ain’t feelin’ it. I guess because this year’s outlook is obscured by so much other impending crap. Crap that seems to constantly rise up and smack us in the nutz every chance it gets, in order to remind us that “It’s a New Year. This is what has to happen.” Yeah, I’m tired of hearing that.

I’m certain that most of you are aware that the Presidential campaign kicks off this year. What? You thought all the ads and debates and mudslinging meant it had already started? Moron. That’s just the preliminaries. Wait until it gets REALLY ugly…and it will.

Politics…everywhere we turn. In everything we do. The ‘Big Government’ we were warned about in our youth (Gen-WTF, remember?) has come to life and is feeding off of the fears of every man, woman, and illegitimate child in this country. More government overseers to make certain we abide by the rules set down to ‘Make our lives better.’ Simply because we will no longer take responsibility for our own actions.

This year will see the end of incandescent light bulbs in several states. You know, those energy-wasting bulbs that use a tungsten filament to provide illumination? Gone. Fortunately, they are being replaced with low-power-use fluorescent lighting that uses toxic mercury vapor  to provide an irritating, headache-creating light that will use less energy (although the bulbs cost 5 times as much) and if broken, require a HAZ-MAT team from Wichita to come in and properly dispose of them.


Some of the foods we used to enjoy are gone as well, again, due to government “Watching over us.” Those tasty fries you used to get still contain some degree of potato, but the taste has been removed “For your own good” by political lackeys with nothing better to do than control our lives. No more salt, no more lard to fry them in. Oh no! Now all fries must be cooked in a chemical substitute that reduces the fat content (while upping the amount of cancer-causing, untested, non-natural petroleum by-products swimming through our systems).

All because we refuse to take responsibility for our actions.

Smoking…ah geez, lighten up (or rather, light up). Yes, I admit it…I’m a smoker. But soon, I will no longer be able to smoke in my car as I drive along the highly-congested Interstate at a bristling 5 mph. And if that ain’t bad enough, before long I won’t even be able to light up in my yard, due to fire regulations, or even in my own house on the chance that non-smokers might come (uninvited) into my home and run the risk of being exposed to ‘second-hand’ smoke.

Unemployment? Don’t go there. Too depressing. UNLESS you happen to be a heavy contributor to the president’s campaign coffers, in which case your company will be awarded several contracts using taxpayer dollars, after all, they don’t need it, …then go bankrupt, leaving nothing more than an ‘Oops, sorry…he he,” for the media to pounce on. And the taxpayer? Screw you, pal. You have NO say in where your tax money goes, even if it does pay for trips to Antiqua.

Diversity…enough already. We already give some type of tribute to every single group or individual out there with their own private agenda that feels they have to be recognized due to their differences, rather than as a person making contributions for the good of us ALL. Isn’t it time we drop the frakin’ “Me, me, me” bullcaca and MAYBE pull together and act as ONE? MAYBE our nation could stand UNITED once more?

I’m tired of criminals having more rights than the people they prey on. I’m tired of corruption in both Law Enforcement and in the Judicial system. No, I don’t believe we all need to have fully-automatic weapons, but we EACH have the right to defend ourselves and our property from those who feel that they are entitled to take it by any means.

Entitlements. Everywhere you look, there’s another group with their hand out saying “You are supposed to give to me. I’m entitled to a share of what you make.” Frak You! And the BIGGEST offenders? The GOVERNMENT.

I’m tired of a bunch of inept clowns telling me how to both discipline and raise my kids. I’m sorry, I raised mine to have MANNERS and ETHICS, two things seriously lacking in the upbringing of today’s hopeless generation. I’m tired of seeing 12 year-old thugs walking the street, doing as they will to anyone, without any fear of retaliation, protected by the law because they’re not ‘Adults’.

I’m tired of political cronies trying their damnedest to frighten their ‘constituency’ by threatening government shut-down, or higher taxes, because they can’t agree to pass a bill WITHOUT attaching some unrelated bit of legislation on as an ‘agent provocateur’. We (stupidly, it turns out) elected these out-of-touch morons to speak for US, but the language they use can’t be understood by anyone, not even themselves.

I’m tired of seeing our military placed into excessive danger and no longer able to do the job they’re sent to do because of politically-inspired ‘Rules of Engagement’. A soldier’s job is to kill the enemy. It’s that simple. Forget all that ‘Hearts and Minds’ bullcaca. War is offensive. Brutal. And maybe if we start grabbing them by the short and curlies, those ‘Hearts and Minds’ of theirs might just follow along.

I’m tired of college graduates bellyaching about the fact they can’t find a high-level position in a company, with a starting salary at 75K, despite the fact their ‘Major’ was Underwater Basket-Weaving. And yet, people look over the Technical schools and Vocational Education institutions and turn their noses up and scoff “They couldn’t afford a REAL education.” SCREW YOU! (And did those students pay for that education all on their own, or did mommy and daddy regularly go without so that their kid could have it better than they did?) Not everyone NEEDS college. Some people are content to do the best they can, day after day, making a good living WITHOUT the ‘benefit’ of ‘Higher Education’.

Yup, the New Year is here, and it’s already looking pretty dismal. In fact, the Mayans (remember them from one of my previous blogs?) predicted that the year 2012 was the end. Maybe they saw the future of Big government and Entitlement in the heart of the sacrifice they had just butchered and said “Hey! Stop that calendar thing you’re doing at 2012. The world’s going to hell. It won’t matter.”

So, if this truly IS the final year, let’s do something about it. Turn off the computer, go outside, and look around. Maybe say ‘hi’ to a neighbor, or put out some food for that dog or cat that wanders the neighborhood. Do SOMETHING other than sitting around waiting for it to happen and bitching about it.

Get involved with your community. Take note of the things that need to be done and DO THEM. Don’t depend on your local or state government. Become self-sufficient. Put government back where it belongs; as a SERVANT, not a HINDRANCE.

Sic vis Pacem, Parabellum (or is that pair of panties?),

Wiley (Coyote)