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A greeting, some venting, and a question...

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.


Re: Sir Scammed

An alter-ego is separate by definition.

If you're going to do a query like this, you simply have to accept that some people will hate it. Diluting your concept won't make them hate it any less, it'll just risk losing those who might love it.

At this point you're over-analyzing (and believe me, I know from over-analyzing). Put this away for at least a week, then go back to it with a fresh eye.

- Victoria

Sir Scammedalot

Re: Sir Scammed

Victoria, I tend to agree with you. Over-analyzing is one of my many faults. I could tinker with this thing ad infinitum and there would still be a fairly large segment of people who would be confused, turned off, or both, by the query. I was (and am) VERY pleased with it in the form you suggested. But then, Maestro did make a valid point in his post about it possibly confusing some readers, so I wondered about one last small tinker to try to achieve the perhaps unattainable.

The opening sentence is really the only potential problem left that I can see. If this change to the opening sentence is not an improvement, I shall revert back to the other with pleasure and feel confident that my query has been significantly improved. Please consider:

One day, (uh, hypothetically speaking), I asked my literary alter-ego an unusual question...

I do believe this simplifies and further defines the intent of the query. But I'm afraid it also loses some of the original charm. I will make a decision by the end of the day and go with it. Thanks for all your help...Sir S.

Sir Scammedalot

Re: Sir Scammed

Or how 'bout this:

One day, (uh, hypothetically speaking), I asked my alter-ego an unusual literary question...


Re: Difficulty finding an agent

she wants you to call other authors
I take it all back. Avoid this publisher. Such a tactic is nutty.

Do they mean "other authors" such as their own list, or blind calls to established writers in the genre, published by other houses?

Either way, you should NEVER be asked to do this. This "partnership" idea is a scam. I myself was very lucky. I have an established and well-respected mystery author offer to put a cover blurb on my novel. But he did the offering and I was happy to receive it.

Here are some legitimate ways an author may be expected to help:

1-- Sit at book signing tables and smile at folks queued up to buy your book. Cordially put your signature on the flyleaf, "To Jenny!" and stuff like that. Have a couple extra Sharpies handy.
2-- Appear on TV & radio talk shows/interviews.
3-- Be available for interviews from other venues.
4-- When your book is nominated for awards, wear your tux (or dress, depending on your gender preference) and shake hands, thank everybody when you pick up your award.

That's standard, normal publicity that the author may be asked to engage in. Reclusive authors like Thomas Harris or Cormac McCarthy may refuse, of course.

But extending the "partnership" into your buying up a bunch of copies that you will sell, or phoning other authors to plead for cover blurbs? Nuts.


Re: Your query

Query, etc.... while bored...
I'm sorry, but I think this query goes nowhere.

Think of your query as a sort of a resume, and your query being a job application sent to a prospective employer.

Publishing is a business. It's not primarily an artistic enterprise.

Your query is not supposed to entertain or detail your inmost thoughts. That may be asked of you, later.

A typical query:

I am searching for publication of my novel "Robinson Crusoe". My protagonist is stranded on a desert island, and must survive by his wits. He endures many hardships and periods of despair, but struggles and perseveres.

(add one more paragraph describing the inner conflicts and psychological specifics of the book.)

A synopsis is attached. I can send the entire manuscript or sample chapters.


Sir Scammedalot

Re: Your query

Thanks, appreciate the input. I made my decision yesterday on the query so I better not open up that can o' worms again.

In your previous post, I believe you are referencing Ludlow Publishing. Yes, I was curious about such a request (querying other authors for a blurb for one's book), and very squeamish about the thought of actually being required to do it (possibly by contract). It seems as though that's part of the "partnership" they refer to in regards to marketing the book in question. My "scam meter" is a work in progress so I'll defer to you on whether they're on the up-and-up. But my first impression is that they have a lack of capital and truly need their authors to do various things the publisher should normally do in order to stay afloat. Either way it doesn't seem advisable to query them. But what do I know...Sir S.

Sir Scammedalot

A last piece of advice, this time from Sir

Having now received a great deal of critical info in regards to becoming a successful author, I shall now disappear for a time into that good night. Again, I express my heartfelt thanks to those of you who have taken an interest in this thread. I do plan to pop in as a neutral observer from time to time, and if I have other difficult literary questions which need professional guidance I shall again most-assuredly seek my advice here. But at this time I must concentrate on earning a living and peddling my wares.

Lastly, I have a humble (hopefully) bit of advice to impart. While all who contributed to this thread I have found to be intelligent and well-meaning, a few of you also seem to suffer from a fairly wide-spread human malady, that being, a tendency to over-generalize from one’s own experiences. It amazes me to see how many intelligent people speak, and once having spoke, believe they have spoken the last and only word on the subject at hand, without showing proper credence and respect to equally intelligent opposing viewpoints. My years in the social sciences lead me to believe this a somewhat natural phenomenon amongst the human species, but one which can be curtailed with awareness that it is indeed occurring (if curtailing be desired).

Too often, people do not preface their remarks with “I believe” or “in my opinion,” perhaps, simply, to save words and time. Hard to say. But if you’ll forgive me for saying so, it makes some of you come across as H.L. Mencken-type intellectual snobs (and you know who you are). Fine of course; I don’t discriminate against good advice, whether it comes from “living human deities” or the meekest among us.

No offense intended. Just something to ponder in the future. To paraphrase one of the regulars: “It isn’t always what you say, but the way you say it.”

Damn good advice. In my opinion, of course.

Sir S.


Re: A last piece of advice, this time from Sir


I think it's a given that people are giving their own opinions and advice based on their own experience whether they preface it as such or not.

I also question whether it's how you say it rather than what you say that matters. It would be nice if everyone always communicated in a kind manner - I realize that I often do not. It's neither something I am proud of or ashamed of - it's just how I communicate sometimes. Which does not mean that what I said was not said with the best intentions - it was. I am sorry that my tone got in the way of my message because IN MY OPINION, you would do much better if you did make certain adjustments to your thinking regarding finding an agent and getting published.

Sometimes the harshest voices contain the most helpful information. Sometimes the truth hurts no matter how it is represented. Sometimes you have to, to quote Nick Lowe, be cruel to be kind.

Take for example the show American Idol. Simon Cowell is often abrasive, bordering on cruel - but he is also often the only honest voice on that panel - the others opting to spare feelings rather than give an honest critical assessment of someone's talent and their prospects. They are there to be judged on their ability and painful or not they deserve to hear the truth. If the give a bad performance, they should be told it's a bad performance. The fact is that no matter how it is said, that truth is often unbearably painful to hear. And it would often serve us better if we could look past the presentation to the message itself.