Tag Archives: Literary Agent

Author Marketing: A how to guide (sort of)

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Google author marketing and a rabbit hole will magically appear that Alice wouldn’t want to dissappear into. Nothing prepared me for the world after my novel was published and one article won’t either. Fortunately, I have read several and I am working my way out of Wonderland to meet my marketing goals.

What I have learned thus far:

– My pricing was wrong (Anything over $10 is a luxury to potential readers, yet the same potential readers will buy $100 Adele tickets. Yes, that was shade.)

– I need a publicist  (Because news organizations are bombarded by press releases, events, and various emails. An email from a long standing contact or a professional  is easier to get through to a news organization)

– I need an assistant and a street team and a stylist (For obvious reasons)

– I need a strong social media presence on every platform  (Even Periscope. Why, I still have not figured that part out)


– I need a generous benefactor so I can quit my full-time job and part time jobs  (So I can devout the next few months to falling down the rabbit hole)


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Review of Laura Mullen’s Enduring Freedom

The book: Enduring Freedom: A Little Book of Mechanical Brides
Publisher: Otis Books/Seismicity Editions

Dum dum de dum, here comes the bride … collection, forty-one to be exact within Laura Mullen’s Enduring Freedom. If little touches, slender silk ribbons, nosegays, dragee, place setting, escort cards, are what ties a wedding together with a knot, the bride herself, in assorted milk-white chocolate-colored fabric and beads, ties together the collection of poems.

The title, Enduring Freedom, hints at Mullen’s sarcasm on how weddings are treated as an event in quotations worthy of being breaking news that triumphs war and economic hardship. But also breaks down the interworking of how different women react leading up to the ta-da moment and the potentially negative boomerang effect of lists and living outside one’s means.

Stylistically, Mullen utilizes prose poems and the familiar worried bride archetype as a way to allow readers to see the bride through a less than personal camera lens. The bride is displayed like vintage Barbie’s or dime-store knock offs in glass cases, pinned down, labeled with her scientific name, like Bride of Detail, Bride of a Thousand Flaws, or Be Creative Bride, laid out flat, and spread out to see what she looks like when dry.

What is Mullen trying to accomplish with Enduring Freedom? Should there be a moratorium on all weddings until further notice? What is the purpose of a traditional wedding? To show the public how much money went into the little things and not for rent or mortgage or some other bill.

Bandschnalle Einsatzmedaille der Bundeswehr En...

Enduring Freedom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mullen inserts those ideas into the background of her carved prose poems like small buttercream cake portions and drops the bride figurine minus the groom on top, in a refreshing context that helps the poet to preach quietly without shouting, considering we are in a church.

Despite the dizzying effect of white on white, tulle, chiffon, lace, crepe, and organza, Enduring Freedom is an aesthetic assembly line of wonder that feels fresh and not frozen and thawed out from the common place.

Buy Enduring Freedom here.

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yeah x 3: i just got signed to a book publisher

Eslite Bookstore in Taichung Chung-yo Departme...

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hardwork does pay off in the end. i starting writing my first book, the taste of scars, in 2005 while working for two newspapers while living in ann arbor. newspaper writing was my life. i stopped working for the newspapers to focus on writing the book. at times, i thought why am i doing this. in 2006 after the first draft was finished i submitted a query letter to a literary agent at writer’s house in nyc. he nicely wrote this letter.

Thanks Victor, but I’m afraid this isn’t right for me. By the way, the manuscript looks too short. Most novels should be closer to 70,000 words at least.

i was devastated but kept writing (2007) and kept writing (2008) and kept writing (2009) and kept writing (2010) and kept writing (2011). 45,000 more words, 50 drafts, and 10 new added chapters later my best friend sent me an email to check out a small publishing company, AddisonCraft, in Houston. I sent them my revised (40 drafts) query letter. About a week later they requested the first two chapters and a headshot. In March, I received an email that they wanted to sign me and publish my book.

In my head I saw book tour. As an artist (word artist) I believe art doesn’t exist until it is viewed, read, or heard.

The scheduled release date in June 2011. I will put up a schedule of the book tour. The first stop – Miami.


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3 new query letters or my vision board sucks

Downtown Los Angeles as seen from my American ...

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I read “The Secret” about a year ago. In Secret, the author suggests that the secret to everything you want in life can be yours and the way to get it is to change your mind. Or change the way you see yourself.

Bend yourself, not the spoon.

If you think you’re a writer you will be a writer. You have to visualize, conceptualize, and do things necessary to get your writing published.

One step is to create a vision board. Put the things you want most in life on a board (my board is a wall). You’ll see the board everyday and it will make the universe realign and give you what you want.

The things I want:

  • I want a literary agent
  • I want to be published
  • I want to pay off my credit cards
  • I want to move to Los Angeles
  • I want to visit Brazil

It’s getting harder and harder not to get discouraged. I sent a query letter to an agent at 10:30am today. She wrote me back in 5 minutes.

Apologies not for me.

I want a life without waiting for someone else to tell me I’m worthy. I want a life without worrying how I am going to pay my rent. Some days, as a gay black man, it seems easier to escape everything. Move away from the city. Move to Spain or Brazil and start running drugs or stripping or surfing or selling ass on a webcam.

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When does the editing process stop

Letter from Lady Helena Gleichen addressing th...

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I think getting rejected by literary agents has made me a better writer.

My first rejection came two years ago. I was waiting on my editor to send me his inked up thoughts on the last five chapters. I had the publishing bug. I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to be published no matter what my editor thought. I submitted a query letter to an agent at Writer’s House. I studied some website I googled on how to write a query letter and wrote what I thought was brilliant.

Hardcore rapper 50 Cent meets Zane and realizes he’s gay

Dear agent,

Xitonce (pronounced existence), my novel, is an urban story about a young African American male caught in a love triangle with a man who suffers from panic attacks and a politician on the down low (dl) running for public office. From their story, a gripping story unfolds from a love letter that catapults the reader through an unforgettable tale of Detroit’s Black upper class community, homophobia in Peru, faking a marriage to gain citizenship, and two detectives trying to find a sadistic killer.

Like all urban novels Xitonce includes personal reflection, sex, crime, and revenge. However it veers from other works such that five very different characters reveal through their own stories how there are no coincidences in life but a single line of events that connect people.

Xitonce is one of few down low fiction works that is literary first, where many down low books falter and written to appeal to the mainstream literary audience. The result is a roller coaster showing how emotions can lead people to the lower depths of society.

As a young writer, I am looking for an experienced agent and I am thoroughly impressed with your agency.

The novel is 48,338 and fully complete. I am sending you the first five pages of Xitonce as stated in your submission guidelines.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

The agent responded less than five yours later.

Thanks, but I’m afraid this isn’t right for me.

By the way, the manuscript looks too short. Most novels should be closer to 70,000 words at least.

I was upset at first but relieved too. It wasn’t time for my book to be released.

I started sending out a new query letter two years after I sent my query to Writer’s House. I have received about five rejection letters. With each letter, I have thought over some of the dialogue and descriptive paragraphs that didn’t flow or fit well with the rest of the story. I have revised almost 20 chapters since I thought I was finished with the book.

Last week, I sent off an updated query letter to my editor. My last query letter was a little boring. I let my editor reader it. He said it wasn’t suspenseful enough. I rewrote it and rewrote it. The final current version is more suspenseful than the other versions have been.

I wanted to get my editor’s approval before sending off the new query letter to another agent. One agent I was interested in sending a query letter too requests that new writers send her the first 50 pages of their work. I reread chapter 3 (pages 30-49) and realized that I didn’t love the chapter.

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Queer eye for the query letter

banner Shakespeare

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“Estimated time to write a query letter can take one month to one year,” says Ginny Wiehardt, the fiction writing expert at About.com.

To an unpublished writer a literary agent is like a bridge. A connection to oh the possibilities. Oh the advances.

To get a literary agent a writer has to write a query letter that will make the sky open up and celestial angels will sing and pick you out from the hundreds of other humans trying to reach Olympus and get published by God.

As a gay writer who writes lgbt themed material I shorten the number of spiritualized agents I can query by more than a half. I have received a number of rejection emails from literary agents. Maybe it’s my query letter, I thought yesterday, after a very queer agent rejected my query. I am rewriting my query letter. Query letters are not easy to write. Agents want query letters to mirror your work and be like a Target commercial but in words and follow specific guidelines. A frustrating process.

I stare at the blank page. Blue ink is scribbled in the margins. I am trying to inspire myself. Words are difficult to find. A sentence. A need a first sentence. Ever since watching The Hours I start a new work by saying I need a first sentence. Ten minutes later I do not have a first sentence. I am hoping to hear from the other literary agents I queried to not have to write another query letter. My current query letter is my sixth draft. I refresh my my gmail account. Nothing.

I need to channel my inner Shakespeare. Maybe if I think positively about it I can ask the law of attraction to make me write more like Shakespeare. I wonder what inspired Shakespeare or the great romantic writers. Were there any great writers during the beat period who were left unnoticed becuase they could not get published. Self publishing becomes more and more attractive per rejection email.

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Rejection Letter #4

Dear Author:

Based on your email query we have decided not to pursue representation. We thank you for contacting us and we wish you success in finding a publisher for your work.

Cordially 100th Literary Agent

I’m thinking about turning to a life of Internet crime. I thought after I finished writing my book that I could write to a publisher, they’d love my query, give me a $20,000 advance, and I could move to L.A. and live the Hollywood life among the other young and poor.

Hollywood Sign

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I mailed off another proposal to Redbone Press today and I emailed four other agents. I found another potential publisher who deals primarily with black and/or gay and black writers. Had I known I had to write queries, proposals, chapter summaries, and research similar books, I would have done so along with writing the book. It took me three years to complete The Taste of Scars. I’m going to research more smaller presses and university presses.


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