Musing 8/29/17– May I Have A Word, Literary Agents?

Wow!  Two Musings in two days, that’s a record!  First I want to say that I’m not trying to offend ANYONE with this post, certainly not people in the industry.  Either way this may or may not get me into a situation but I just need to get this out of my system.

Again, if you’ve been reading my Facebook page, I’ve been writing like crazy lately and am still feeling the mojo but sometimes, I hit a small roadblock when I think of how long I’ve been waiting to hear about past works that have been sent out.  It makes me wonder why I continue to do so when I seldom if ever receive a response. 

Somewhere on this blog, I mentioned how I’ve had a number of agents never respond to queries.  Many are agents who promise to respond to everything.  And this is after waiting for a long time and then nudging and I do mean a LONG time.

Right out I have two full works out to agents.  One I was ecstatic to receive a rewrite and resend request and the other the straight full request.  Now literary agents, believe it not, we writers do know how busy you are.  Not all of us expect an answer in a month or so.  I’ll usually wait for three before nudging and depending on what the agents lists as their response time.

However with these two, I have been waiting for the rewrite and resend it’s been a year from my sending in the R&R and for the other it’s been two years and two months.  I did recently nudge again on the first and re-query on the second but to be honest, I’m not expecting to hear. 

With these long waits I can’t decide if I should put the book aside or not.  I’m assuming there must have been something good about the work, otherwise why ask to see more?  And I have every confidence in this work, and I really don’t want to file it away or start anything different until I get a response one way or the other.  It causes quite a conundrum.

My questions are first, how long are we supposed to wait when you ask for a full manuscript before we assume it’s a no?  Is it really right to leave authors hanging when you’ve practically dangled their dream in front of them?  Agents, if you’re no longer interested after a partial, full or rewrite and resubmit (especially this) is sent then PLEASE do us the courtesy of letting us know.  A simple email with an, “I changed my mind.” will suffice.

I am not talking about the queries. We know some of you get thousands per week.  I am talking about taking an author to the next level and then putting them aside indefinitely.  I often see agents posting on social media about how, “they have lives too,” and authors need to respect that.  Believe it or not, most of us know that and we do.  You shouldn’t lump all writers in with the few who don’t know how to carry themselves.  But you are also running a business and since we writers are expected to behave a certain why, why can’t this professionalism be returned?  I’ve seen other writers ask these question.  I don’t know if they’ve ever gotten a response.  Lately, I’ve just felt the need to open up about how I feel.  I don’t need to tell anyone, writers, agents, publishers, editors, how hard this business is.  We all know.  And we know how long it takes but I don’t believe anyone is so busy that it takes two to three years (not months) to conduct their business.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to enter the Manuscript Wish List program that gave writers the opportunity to have a first page critiqued by a literary agent.  The agents they had chosen have already seen my work, so I emailed the moderator/agent, asking advice on  what I should do or if I should still apply.

I won’t print the actual email responses here because I don’t have permission, however I was advised that it might be too awkward between myself and the agent and it wouldn’t help get my work to the front of the line, which is not what I was trying to do.  I just wanted the same opportunity that they were presenting to other writers.  Then the moderator/agent stated, “Believe it or not, it now takes some agents three to six months to respond.”  I responded with pretty much the same thing I’ve said here, very polite and professional of course and thanked her for her time.  I’m also curious that if this is the norm, shouldn’t agents list these time frames on their pages, so authors won’t bother them with nudges?

This does not mean I plan on giving up, although there were times, I have thought of and actually said I plan to do so.  I’ve always said take the opportunity to wallow if you need to then get back to work.  I just hope someone sees my post and it creates a better understanding of what we writers are going through in this crazy little thing called the publishing industry.

Peace~

CJ

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Musing 08/28/17– Weird is the New Brilliant?

I’m a big fan of the Nostalgia Critic! Well it’s sort of an off and on relationship. I gave him up a few times but came back. Why mention this? Because there is a question I was pondering concerning stories that are not quite well — they’re different and they seem to be the type of stories magazine publishers want.

I hadn’t watched before but now since I was pondering, I thought I’d give it a shot.

In this video, the Critic postulates that there is so much weirdness going on nowadays in current media, is really brilliance in disguise? To get the full picture watch the video, then if you don’t mind finish reading my post please. I’ll wait.

All done? OK, as my peeps may know, I was currently hit with a massive dose of inspiration. Yes, yes, I know, humor me, OK? The Muse was at her best and brightest and I wrote or re-wrote ten stories and have them out into the world right now.

Now of course there have been a couple of rejections but as any writer knows that’s a given. But one particular one I received invited me to first read their magazine – which I’d already done and in fact subscribed to it so I could get the exact feel for what they would like.

I thought the story I sent would be perfect but apparently not, so I continued reading/researching to be certain. Now yesterday evening, I read a story that well – I couldn’t follow at all. Absurdly weird is what I would call it but apparently there was something that caught the editors eye and it was accepted. Now I am NOT saying the story wasn’t good but to me it simply had no logic. But then again, as I’ve mentioned in the past, my Army buddies once told me I was too logical for the military.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen stories like this. Some I have understood and enjoyed perfectly well but others…

So I thought, am I missing something? And that is when I recalled the Nostalgia Critic video, so I sat and watched. Now some of the shows he touched upon were Adventure Time and Steven Universe, both *former favorites of mine.

He goes onto say how other stories we are familiar with uses their weirdness to tell the reader/watcher about important the social issues. I’ve always gotten the message despite the weirdness or at least I did once I got a little older.
But when weird goes to far and it gets crude and disgusting then there is no message no matter what the writer/animator says, IMHO. Yes, they have a right to create whatever they want. Not everything has to have a message weird or not but at least let it have some purpose besides shock value again, IMHO.

I’ll do weird every so often but it is impossible for me to write weird without there being a purpose or message. Does that still make it weird? Well according to the Critic, it can.

So what to do? Make up something weird to hopefully sell a story?

Nope, sorry, can’t do it. I may just need to leave that market behind. I really don’t want to but hey, what are you gonna do?

So do you do weird or what do you think of it? What would you do in this situation? post away.

Peace~

CJ

*Sorry but, I got out of Steven because Peridot was annoying and as for AT, Finn who was always a reasonably smart boy suddenly pulls a totally messed-up stunt with Flame Princess. Hey, don’t judge me.

What is a Womanist?

I recently became familiar with this term. I believe it’s important to spread the word. I’m going to research and learn as much as I can. Thanks to the author for such an insightful post.

The Progress

Photograph of Meigan Medina, "Vibration," courtesy of Brandon Hicks. Photograph of Meigan Medina, “Vibration,” courtesy of Brandon Hicks.

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” – Alice Walker.

 Alice Walker, a poet and activist, who is mostly known for her award-winning book The Color Purple, coined the term Womanist in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose. Walker defined a womanist as “Womanish, the opposite of girlish…Being grown up…A Black Feminist or Feminist of Color…A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or non-sexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or non-sexually”. The complete text of the definition can be seen here.

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IMPORTANT PLEASE READ! CHANGES!

Not too long ago, on my FaceBook page, I left a cryptic message saying I had made the hardest decision of my life. Well here’s the skinny on that. On July 17th, I requested a reversion of rights from Liquid Silver Books for Illusion of Night, Memory in Shadow and Soul Fires. Illusion of Night and Memory in Shadow will revert back to me on August 31st and Soul Fires on December 31st, 2017. So, if you or someone you love – who loves male/male erotic fiction— wants to purchase them they have until those dates to do so.

I know I said I was going to complete the series and I apologize but the fact of the matter is, life has been pretty chaotic. Some of you may know I was recently separated from my 9 to 5 and will be filing suit. I’m not going to get into the particulars. The good thing is the change has kicked my Muse into overdrive and within the space of two months I’ve either written new stories or re-written old ones. So far, I’ve sent out about five and am working on a sixth. These I have sent them using my real name so I’ll be changing everything on my sites and social media to conform in the near future.

And I’m not going to stop writing erotica, I’ll go back to it in the future, however right now, it’s not feasible both time and finance-wise. Many of my fellow erotic authors are having the same issues with sales. They’ll tell you that it’s frustrating and disheartening to create tens, even hundreds of thousands of words only to have little if anything to show for it.

And I’m still working to get into mainstream. I’ve gotten a few full requests to agents for Tinderbox, so I’m waiting to hear on those but I’m also sending it out to publishers. And I want to keep at this momentum. I haven’t been here at a long time.

As stated, this wasn’t an easy choice but I believe it’s time for a change. And things as you may know have been changing quite a bit for me. Ten years at the same nine to five and suddenly I’m handed my walking papers for something I didn’t even do. Maybe this and my new found want to write are some kind of sign from the cosmos.

I’ll still be around though and will keep providing updates, likely on FaceBook and Twitter as those are the best places to find me. I’ll be temporarily closing my site after this, however this blog will remain open and active.

I don’t quite know what will happen in the near future. I tend to concentrate on the now but I know what I am doing is the right thing for me. And always your patience is appreciated.

Peace~

CJ

Musings 6/17/17

I really should stop reading publishing news.

Seriously it hovers between annoying and depressing. Am I the only one who is beginning — no have always thought — that to be a successful author you must have lots of money to begin?  I discovered yet another article where someone who self-published, now has a TV deal and is making six figures.  The article, “Show me the
money!  The self-published authors being snapped up by Hollywood”
by Danuta Kean, references self-published author Mark Dawson and the aforementioned deal.  There is the following paragraph:

“Sales of his first self-published novel, 2012’s Black Mile, only trickled in – until he took
Amazon’s advice and offered it to readers for free. In one weekend, his novel
was downloaded 50,000 times. Dawson built his audience from there, spending
hundreds of pounds a day on Facebook advertising and writing on his
commute.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/15/self-published-authors-hollywood-andy-weir-the-martian-el-james

 Hundreds of pounds a day?!

If we use the exchange rate for today (0.79 pound to every $1) as of today 100 pounds equals $126.64.  Now when I see the word hundreds I think over $200.00 dollars.  I also read it’s usually about $500.  I’ll split the difference and use $300 (£237.02).  So, if he is spending that much every day, and say he did this for a month that is $8400 or £6636.56!

Wow.

 Where did he get that much?  I can only assume he has a darn good 9 to 5 with phenomenal pay, is independently wealthy or has super-rich parents.  I don’t believe I’ve ever had that much money at one time in my whole life.  Sure, I could spend that much money, but my mortgage company likes that big fat direct deposit I send them every month.

Yes, I know I did a detailed blog post about the cost of self-publishing before.  I promise not to get into it too far.  But if you’d like to see it, it’s here:

https://authorcjblackblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/writing-and-publishing-the-way-i-see-it/ 

So, here’s an opportunity that is completely out of the reach of a large majority of authors because we may not have the money to spare.  This is just my example, imagine my fellow authors who have families?  Or the ones that are on disability?  The old-fashioned way is the only way we have.  I just wish that when these opportunities are presented that there was some way we semi-starving artists could take advantage.  It’s too risky an investment.  Yes, there are places where you can offer your works for free but it doesn’t mean you’re going to have the ability to parlay that into a big movie or
TV deal by spending thousands of dollars on ads.  The articles make it seem like it’s so
easy and that self-publishing is the answer to all a writer’s woes.

But there are other writer’s out there who aren’t too wild about the thought of self-publishing either.  I figure if you can make it work, go for it.  But as least
be as honest and upfront as you can about it. At least say, “You have a very difficult decision to make.  You’ll likely be spending a lot of money and a lot of time promoting it, and not much time writing and there’s still no guarantee you’ll get where I am today.  For most working people with or without families it’s simply not
doable.”

That doesn’t mean we give up though.  I just sent Tinderbox to the digital publishing arm of one of The Big Five.  I’m terrified beyond belief but I knew it was the right decision for
me.

Peace~

CJ

 

 

 

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