Tag Archives: humor

How To Find A Literary Agent For Your Manuscript (Part One)

pexels-photo-977907

If you’re anything like me, and I hope you’re not, then the thought of having to land a literary agent can provoke any number of responses. These include, but are not limited to:

Sobbing uncontrollably while cursing the gods for being born a writer.

collector-s-doll-angel-guardian-angel-sad-160720

Checking Facebook. Then Twitter. Then your email. Then your texts. Then Facebook again.

pexels-photo-212289

Considering whether magic or the law of attraction can be used to get you an agent without any bit of effort on your part.

pexels-photo-607817

Hopefully, you’ll eventually come to your senses and scrap these less-than-useful approaches. But what then?

It Starts With A Book

$9.90 and Internet access. That’s all it takes to move your literary career forward and begin querying agents…

Of course, we’re writers, so having $9.90 and Internet access isn’t a guarantee.

business-money-pink-coins

Oh yeah, one other thing, you’ll need a completed manuscript (if you’re a fiction writer) or a pitch for a workable idea (if you’re a non-fiction writer).

Not too much to ask, right?

For $9.90, you can purchase the E-book version of the Writer’s Market 2018 from Google Play. This book contains a comprehensive list of literary agencies that work with authors of all types, from middle grade fantasy authors to romance novelists and anything in-between.

And the best part, the Writer’s Market tells you exactly what types of books these agencies are looking for, eliminating any guesswork on your part.

Follow Those Submission Guidelines

Once you find an agency that works within your form and genre, all you have to do is visit their website.

Well, that’s not ALL you have to do. But it’s still pretty easy – trust me!

Different agencies, and agents within the agencies, will have different submission guidelines. Please please please follow those guidelines. Agents, like editors and publishers, will curse you and the next ten generations of your family if you don’t follow submission guidelines to a T.

How do I know that they’ll curse you and the next ten generations of your family? Well, after all, I am the co-founder and an editor at Beautiful Losers, a super cool literary magazine which you should totally check out. (Yes, this is a shameless plug!)

1_FazouVi6wshEctIA0KAQ8g@2x

Oh wait. About the cursing thing. That’s probably just me. I should get some help for that.

But seriously, follow those guidelines. You want to be seen as a professional, don’t you?

Many Agencies Have Multiple Agents

So it’s on you to find the agent that’s the best match for your manuscript.

Yes, it’s on you. No pressure…

Okay. Deep breaths. Try some more. Back with me?

The good news is that almost every agency has summaries of the literary interests of their agents. Find the agent that’s the closest match for the genre, style, and age target of your manuscript. If you’ve written a darkly comic picture book, don’t query an agent that specializes in upmarket women’s fiction.

That is, unless you like wasting people’s time. If that’s the case, you’re most likely a horrible person that would be awfully fun to hit the bars and make some poor life decisions with.

pexels-photo-256621

But you’re used to making poor life decisions already, right? After all, you chose to become a writer.

Don’t hate me! I jest because I’m from Brooklyn. The sarcasm is love. Really!

pexels-photo-634038

But Wait, There’s More

Query letters.

Author bios.

Synopses.

Market analyses.

Chapter outlines.

And more. Much more!

And I promise I’ll tell you all about how to navigate through it soon.

But first I need some sleep.

pexels-photo-272064

Yes, you horrible person who likes to waste agents’ time, you may be fun to hit the bars with, but it’s only a little after 10 pm and I’m calling it a night.

I may or may not be a horrible person, but clearly it’s safe to assume I’m not much fun to hit the bars with.

Blah Blah Blah

If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading (you may want to get your mental health checked!)

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you may have noticed this post is very different from what you’re used to seeing here. I still want to provide helpful advice for aspiring and emerging writers, but the professorial tone is gone. You see, I’ve recently discovered that I’m actually not Ben Stein’s character from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Shocking, right?

If you found this post entertaining or informative, please do me a solid and like and subscribe. If you’re really looking for a way to get on my good side, try sharing this post on social media!

pexels-photo-267355

If you have any questions about landing an agent, just leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to shoot a helpful answer your way.

If you have any funny stories about landing an agent, you can share those in the comments too. The more absurd the better! To quote the late Hunter S. Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Fighting the good fight just like you,
Alfonso

 

 

A Look Inside the Mind of a Professor of Creative Writing

Truly, professors of creative writing perform a great service. Without their noble efforts, the next generation of literary phenoms would have a difficult time making their name in the literary game. However, you might be surprised by what thoughts run through their heads.

Without further ado, here’s a list of eight thoughts your creative writing professor would never share publicly:

1. You know, come to think of it, I really do think a monkey on a typewriter could write something better.

2. Yeah, a totally illiterate nation seems like a good idea right about now.

3. That’s an interesting sex scene. Obvious virgin.

4. Another story about high school melodrama. I wish they taught them better. Vertical not horizontal.

5. Oh. A disaffected young man in my classroom. I wonder who he will rip off? Bukowski? Hunter S. Thompson? Chuck Palahniuk? Tao Lin? Maybe he’ll be really cerebral and rip off Kerouac!

6. So, it’s a given that the bro with the backwards baseball cap will write in the style of Tucker Max, right?

7. I may not be Raymond Carver, but hey, it could be worse, I could be as bad as my students.

8. I hate my life. Why didn’t I get an MBA?

Stereotypical Writers

I think it’s about time for another fun, satirical post.

Any writer privileged enough to know a few (or more) other writers is bound to have run into one (or more, if you’re particularly unlucky) of these stereotypical writers.

You know these types. They include:

The Drunken Asshole – Misanthropic and near always drunk, they idolize Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson, and blatantly rip them off in all their writing.

The Goddamn English Major – While able to compose excellent, technically perfect works of literature, their writing is always about the most mundane topics…like the core of an apple. They’re snooty to boot. They will not shut up about the classics, and about how modern fiction has no “weight.”

The Procrastinator – They could actually be a good writer, but they always make some sort of drama in their life. When you ask them what they’ve written lately, they go on for about an hour making justifications for why they’re not writing.

Mr. or Ms. Successful Writer – I’m published. Did you see my latest piece in X journal that you’ve never heard of? Did you know that X press that you’ve never heard of put out my latest book? These types are mildly successful, but judging by their major ego you would assume they’re as successful as Michael Chabon. Avoid these types at literary events at all costs.

The Angry Editor – Quite unsuccessful in their own literary pursuits, they become an editor not to help other writers, but to break them down. They use their position as a means of exacting revenge on the gods of the page.

The Wolf of Wall Street – They usually have little literary talent, but plenty of connections, and always come with a sordid past…and present. Their writing is only mildly entertaining, but because the world is not fair, they get huge advances. You’re not likely to run into them unless you’re popping bottles at the club or know how to cut lines with an AmEx card.

The Hipster – Their writing is nothing but a string of references that the poor, unwashed masses are too stupid to get. You’ll find these types frowning in coffee shops, frowning at indie shows, and swearing that they will be the next Tao Lin when they go home for the holidays.

 

Did I miss any walking stereotypes? Please feel free to comment below. If you found this post funny, please share this post on your social media feeds.

The Top Ten Excuses You Can Use to Justify Not Writing

Hey everyone! Summer vacation is over. The Literary Game is back!

I’ll be getting back to posting serious, content-rich posts geared towards help aspiring writers edit their work, publish their work, and stay sane…tomorrow.

Today, I’m going to have a bit of fun.

We all sometimes slack on our writing. If any other writers try to guilt trip you about it, here’s a list of top ten excuses you can use to justify not writing:

10. I can’t write because my eyes are blurry from staring at rejection letters all night long…and crying.

9. I can’t write because I need an MFA first, because, like, all writers have to have one, right? 

8. I can’t write because I sprained my finger…from typing.

7. I can’t write because there’s a Doctor Who marathon today, my D&D group meets tomorrow, and that old copy of Metroid is coming in the mail in two days.

6. I can’t write because I have to live first. I’ll write in a few years after I’ve amassed enough experience. Ladies, I’m single, I work at Starbucks, and my mother says I’m a snappy dresser. 

5. I can’t write because I like totally love you. Do you know I’m on molly right now? And I love you.

4. My C.O. said I can’t write until after I get off probation.

3. I can’t write until I’m drunk. All writers are drunks, right? I read that in a Bukowski novel, I think. I’m only nineteen, so it’ll just be two years until I can legally become an alcoholic…and a writer.

2. I can’t write until I get famous. What’s the point when the advances are so small? The plan is to go viral first by rapping NWA songs in my tighty whities and uploading them to YouTube. I swear I’ll start writing after Dr. Dre gives me daps. 

1. I can’t write until I get good, which can’t happen until I get my work edited by this dude who runs a blog on WordPress.