Saturday, November 07, 2009

Speaking crushing dreams-here's the query tally

I'm getting a little (well, ok, a LOT) impatient with writers who can't seem to tell me what their book is about. I get lists of characters, descriptions of setting and events, but nothing about choices/conflict/decisions.

I'm not sure if this is a trend, or it was just a bad couple of days but there were a LOT of them tonight.

Started at 10 pm with 68 queries:

Query letter missing too much plot: 21
Not enticing: 12
Nothing fresh or original: 8

Not right for me but someone else will snag happily: 6

Writer clearly uninformed about genre or category s/he intends to write in: 3
No platform (non-fiction queries only): 2

Just plain old bad writing: 4
I don't think I can sell books in this category: 4

Overwritten (probably should be included in bad writing): 1
Unable to suspend disbelief (also bad writing): 1

Writer is a crackpot: 2

Topics I really loathe: 2

Queries set aside to read more closely: 2

Let me crush your hopes and dreams. I live for it.

Sometime back there was a cris de coeur from an author who said agents lived to crush author's hopes and dreams.

Given I make my living from finding good writers and helping them get published, that statement sounded exactly right. So, I adopted it for my catch phrase, and often times now I'll sign off on Twitter with "off to crush authorial hopes and dreams" accompanied by a .wav of an evil laugh.

Thus it was with delight that I read this question over at Editorial Anonymous.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Congratulations! You got my attention...

If you emailed me today about a missing kid, complete with poster and heartfelt plea, congratulations. You've gotten my attention. My full and complete attention for about two minutes. Here's how that two minutes of attention will play out:

1. I copy your email address.
2. I paste it in my gmail "filter" program.
3. I click "bypass inbox, mark as read, delete"
4. I click "apply to previous email"
5. I close my gmail program.
6. I write a blog post about it.
7. I return to work

Net result: nothing you send me ever again will hit my email box.

If you add every address to your address book, you should NEVER hit "send to all."

If you are clueless enough to do this, you're probably not someone I want to work with anyway.

Email is not some new fangled tool that's hard to figure out.

And, honest to godiva, you shouldn't add agents to your address book until they've done something more than pass or rant about you on their blog.

Tally of email addresses added to the filter: 1 (I don't give a rat's ass about cute animal pictures either)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Alright you guys, this is WAR!

As I'm perambulating about the interwebs my eye catches on what looks to be a very spiffy event:

Berkeley Mystery Writing Intensive--
Nov. 21 & Sunday, Nov. 22

For starters, it features the ever-fabulous Cornelia Read, my boon companion in scotch, thigh high boots (hers not mine) and Edgar banquets (I think we'll need a dispensation from the MWA board to ever attend again).

And then I notice another presenter is Peter Riegert! Holy moly! For starters, Peter Riegert was in two of my all time favorite movies, Animal House and Local Hero. He was also in one of my favorite NYC movies- Crossing Delancey. I'm a drooling Peter Riegert fan! (tmi?)

I'm damn near tempted to sign up myself despite not being a mystery writer in the slightest.

Given it's at the Claremont Spa, I figure I can hang out with Cornelia when she's not busy teaching, and ogle Peter Riegert like a besotted fan girl.

Heck it's only $249, and JetBlue will get me there nicely.

I'm practically set to click on Register, when I read further. Dear Reader, I blanched:
Literary agents, published authors, and an Academy Award–nominated actor/writer/director will help aspiring authors complete and sell their work.

Wait a damn minute here. *I* am a literary agent! Why am *I* not on the roster? Who would they invite instead of ME?

And yes, there it is in black and white:

Barbara Poelle, a top-selling New York agent with the Irene Goodman Literary Agency will talk about trends in publishing and instruct authors on how to write project and query letters.

Well the only damn trend in publishing I'm noticing is that slithery Barbara Poelle is kicking ass and taking names. This must stop, and I mean NOW.

So, if you have an ounce of goodwill for me, you will register for this workshop and keep that slithery competitor of mine BUSY BUSY BUSY with seminars, and query letters. Keep her so busy I can manage to sell something while she's not looking.

If you can get in some ogle time for Peter Riegert, so much the better. Send pictures.

Here's how to register: Berkeley Mystery Workshop

And if you ever catch up with that Sophie Littlefield person, just tell it's too late now. It's a BAD DAY FOR SORRY, sister, and this is WAR!

Monday, November 02, 2009

If the novel is dead/dying, you haven't checked my purchases lately

Sean Ferrell's cogent argument against The Death of the Novel on his blog. was inspired by Jeff Somers' response to Philip Roth's assertion the novel will be dead in 25 years.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Another reason I love GoogleReader

One of my favorite things to find on my google reader is a new post from Alexander Chee.

Particularly when it comes with this photo


You're not following his blog Koreanish? Start.

It's NYC Marathon Sunday!

The racecourse runs pretty much right past my apartment so for the past three years I've gone down to Bedford and S. 5th to watch.

At first the street looks pretty empty.

You'll see a lot of that "red overpass": it's the Williamsburg Bridge.

The first signs of the oncoming deluge are the wheelchair "runners"

Some of these competitors do things that are simply astonishing

The signal that the gazelles are about to fly by, and I do mean FLY is the arrival of the time truck

and then here they are:

and they're gone faster than you can refocus and snap a picture! The man second from the right in the white jersey with USA emblazoned in red is this year's winner!

It's always a thrill to see these guys whirl by, but the real fun comes later...MUCH later, after the elite runners, after the seriously competitive runners (like our own Stephany Evans!) after all the people who are there for more than just fun, here come the people in the costumes and the messages:

and this was of course my favorite!

Congratulations to Danette Somers, my "person to watch for" this year! She arrived in Williamsburg still vertical and still moving forward! And she's running for TEAM FOX a cause I'm very happy to support along with her. Go Danette!

I didn't get a picture of her, she was moving too fast for the camera to focus but we managed a quick hug, and she was back on track!