Posts Tagged ‘self-help’

© Andrew A. Vest

An Excerpt from the Memoirs of Sir Winston Earl Grey IV

Good day my little Lemurs! As of writing this I am trolling down the enchanting streams of exotic Cambodia! I am simply dizzy with anticipation! Today, we are discussing the harrowing danger of SMEF’ing! Brace yourselves!

So, my cheeky wee monkeys! Exactly why is a raven like a writing desk? Well, let me tell you something: it isn’t! Whatever the utterly fabulous Lewis Carroll was smoking when he came up with this little nugget of tommyrot was definitely illegal. A raven is a bird! It flies through the skies! It poohs menacingly on unexpecting victims! Whereas a desk is…well…a desk. A bit of wood propped up on legs. That’s about it.

The two have absolutely nothing in common in the slightest! Save for one simple thing: their lot in life, and believe me, it’s wretched. So wretched, in fact, is the life of the raven and the writing desk that both are permanent members of the SMEF list.

“But Winston! What is the SMEF list?”

Allow me to illuminate you. SMEF is a naughty acronym derived from the brilliant mind of philosopher and all around ninnypants Douglas Adams of the 20th century. It stands for Sudden Massive Existence Failure. Simply put, a bit of matter (you, your dog, a paperclip, lint, the Republic of China, etc.) becomes so utterly distraught with its own existence that is simply decides to stop being.

Office supplies have a horrific tendency to SMEF, due to their likelihood of being lost forever behind desks, stuffed between seat cushions, made into cute desk ornaments or slobbered on by children. I recall the tale of King Bic, ruler of Stapledom. He was accidentally dethroned by a disgruntled insurance salesman having a steamy affair amongst his quarterly progress reports. Tragically, in the throes of angry sin, the insurance salesman thrashed his arm across his desk, casting King Bic into the bottomless abyss of Waste Basket, wherein he became so distraught with the hand he was dealt that he said to himself:

“I don’t think I want to exist anymore…” And POOF! He was gone.

Consequently, the absolute most incredible SMEF was performed by the entire city of Atlantis in 9600 BC. Luckily, a hotel has taken its place.

Ravens have no purpose in life and writing desks are rudely written on by writhing workers working while writing (say that twice and try not to cuss!). Both are such sensitive beings of existence that simply looking at either in a less-than-pleasant manner will cause them to implode unto themselves without a thought otherwise.

If you find yourself in the position of either the raven or the writing desk and feel as though you might not want to exist anymore, then simply think back on your life and consider that it could be a lot worse…you could have been a paperclip.



Read Full Post »

Photo Courtesy of Rubberball Photos

Getting Published Sucks.

At least some of the time…

So now, you have written the query, waited, gotten rejected, re-written it, re-submited it, waited some more, had a cup of tea, waited again, got a “nibble” and THEN….nuthin’.

This definitely sucks. Waiting? Okay. Replies? Patience, my young padawan. Nuthin’? YOU DO NOT YET KNOW THE POWER OF THE DARKSIDE!

How do you know it’s bad? Well, hearing an asthmatic James Earl Jones monologue in your head is a bad sign.  However, if you start trying to shoot lightning out of your fingers at the agent in question then you KNOW it’s bad.

Let’s get serious for a second. You have done all this work, gotten a faint glimmer of hope, and now, after all that excitement, you have a big steaming pile of nada.  Welcome to publishing! I’m Satan, nice to meet you…

The honest to god truth is that this period of waiting for your manuscript to be reviewed is truly one of the most excruciantingly exciting and simultaneously torturous waiting periods in your publishing process. Unlike waiting for a response from a query, which, especially with e-mail submissions, warrants a response very quickly, the manuscript submission can take weeks,  many times even months, to receive a response.

Why? Simple, agents are busy. Really busy. You just can’t possibly imagine how incredibly, durastically, ridiculously busy they are. Also, what you probably don’t realize is that they are just as excited about finding a new client as your are about finding an agent. What does this mean?

Well…don’t freak out. It generally means that if an agent likes your manuscript enough to offer you representation, that agent will seek you out VERY QUICKLY. Ergo, if an agent gives you a response time of 6-8 weeks for your manuscript, the likelihood of representation decreases exponentially after you move past the half-way point of the outer time bound. E.g. 4 weeks for the above.

That is not to say it won’t still happen, agents are people too and they are just as strange as you and me. It is perfectly conceivable for an agent who loves your short 40,000 word novella to take 3 months to offer you represenation. They may be busy, they may read like molasses in winter, they may just like to sit on manuscripts and read them all at once in a singular week of masochism. Who knows! The point is you still have a chance, it’s just not a good one.

Nuthin’ sucks! But keep your head up! Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance…

Leave me a comment! Just say anything, let me know you read!

Read Full Post »

© Courtesy of Fotosearch

Getting Published Sucks.

Or I should say TRYING to get published sucks.

At least most of the time….

However, every once in a while there is a break in the perpetual never ending hole of suckiness that is trying to get published. That break comes in the form of wonderful, short-lived, wholly  misleading sparks of hope known as nibbles. Nibbles are exactly what they sound like, nibbles. Little bits of interest in your work from an agent or a publisher. You send in a query ( if you haven’t yet done that or are  just curious about what sort of unimaginable fun that part of the process is, please see episode 1: The Query Menace, you may just never want to write anything else ever again…) then you wait (a joy we also discussed in episode 1).

Waiting in and of itself is pure torture, but sometimes, in a supernova of orgasmic electronic communication, you get a reply back from an agent that is NOT a rejection. Your heart stops, your eyes widen,  your stomach jumps into your throat and you do an internal jump for estatic joy mixed with a strange urge to suddenly vomit on everything. Now this nibble will look one of two ways:

1. Please forward me “X” sample chapters (and/or synopis), the first 10, 30, 50 pages of your manuscript.

2. Please  send the manuscript.

Both are AWESOME. The second is better, exponentially so, but the first is still a huge step forward, it just isn’t the entire book. Plus, the first involves more of the best thing in the entire process! WAITING! YAY!

Now that you have a nibble, after the excitement dies out, let me give you some advice in the words of Douglas Adams:


This is a good thing. Do NOT:

-Decide to edit your entire manuscript in 10 minutes.

-Figure this is an excellent opportunity to rewrite the whole novel in a day.

-Spontaneously combust. (It just makes a mess…)

This is important: Aside from spotting a glaring error that needs to be corrected, do NOT do anything to what you have written. Make like Paul McCartney and let it be. If it sucks when you go to embed it, it will only suck worse if you try to change it. Why? You are excited, pumped, freaking out and nervous, a veritable TNT concoction for complete disaster. Don’t do it.

What else not to do:

1. Attach a manuscript without being asked 2. Attach ANYTHING without being asked 3. Forget to embed the sample 4. Forget to send the e-mail (no I am not joking) 5. Forget to thank the agent 6. Decide this is the perfect opporutnity to draft your life story as a thank you (the agent will not feel thanked)

And finally, most importantly…ENJOY! Your nibble is awesome! Once you get one, you are addicted for life. The rush is almost as good as a theme park ride. (almost.) Just don’t let your brain go to pot in that rush of awesome.

Question of the Day: Have you ever gotten a nibble for anything in life? What was it and how awesome was it? (being bitten by mosquitos, sharks, small children DO count!) Let me know below!

*Gush about me: I myself got a nibble today for my novel! A full manuscript request! I am Andrew, and I am SWEET AT LIFE.

Read Full Post »

Or, Why Query Writing Sucks!Getting published sucks.

Okay, so what I mean to say is trying to get published sucks. Getting published in and of itself is awesome beyond the boundaries of all awesomeness, or at least I imagine it is, for all I know getting published could turn out to be a dreadful experience, but I will take my chances and err on the side of awesomeness. Yes…it will be awesome.

However, getting to that level of almost unattainable awesomeness is like carrying a possessed ring to the top of a fiery volcano while fighting through Orcs and trying not to die alone the way. It’s like finding out you’re wizard, that you have to save an entire world, it taking seven years to do so and when it’s finally time, you have to die to do it.  It’s like being given an enchanted compass, traveling the world to find your friend only to hand him over to be killed, then journeying through the multi-verse just to defeat a terrible god-like entity only to discover that he is nothing more than an old dude in a box.

These literary allusions doing anything for you? No? Well then suffice to say it sucks.

Of course, the first step any new author must take is  the most damnable, awful, annoying, terrible, masochistic, torturous, nauseating step in the entire process.  Those with heart problems be warned! This revelation has been known to induce trembling and internal hemorrhaging simply at the mention of it!

It is the devil known as QUERYING. (**dramatic music, thunder and lightning, hail, all manner of plague, weeping and gnashing of teeth ensue**)

Querying is a sadistic practice in which a new, hopeful author creates a letter detailing themselves as an author, the general plot of their work and any other fancy-pants credentials that say to the agent “See! This says I can write a book!”.

Now, their are two types of queries, A GOOD query, and a BAD query.

Good Query: Dear (Agent), Hello, my name is (bluh-bluh-bluh) and I am seeking representation for my novel, Whatever, a 78,000 word expose on the trials and tribulations facing a young beaver as he journeys to the city…

BAD query: Dear Sir and/or Madam (or “to whom it may concern”, or the absolute worst, “dear agent”), I am totally pumped for what I’m ’bout to show ya! Its the bitchin’est novel since that one russian dude wrote than one book about that one thing! Prepare to blown away…

This may seem like I am being facetious, but I have read queries that are WAY, WAAAY worse than that last one. Look up “bad literary queries”, you will get positive treasure troves of examples of ACTUAL, real queries that are SOOO much worse! Why do I point this out? Because it is easy to see why these queries not only get rejected, but downright don’t even get read. However, my queries look nothing like this. They are prime examples of excellent letter writing skills with perfect grammar, excellent, concise exposition and perfect formatting.

How do I know this? Am I just full of myself? No, I know this because my queries get accepted all the time!


Hold up, what’s the problem then?

One word: waiting. This is beyond just simple patience or perseverance. We’re talking Jedi-like waiting. Weeks, sometimes MONTHS, of gainless, answerless, empty waiting. Like Yoda on Dagoba waiting for Luke in a swamp, waiting.

This waiting also has only one of two possible outcomes. In fact, the entire agent/publishing process only has two possible outcomes:

1. Get Published 2. Keep Waiting

I am the latter of the two. I have submitted over 75 queries in the last two years and have been rejected over 65 times. Yes, you read that right, there are some agencies that do not even bother rejecting you (which is a whole ‘nother rant entirely). The real kicker is that 25 of those rejections were to the first query, the rest, after I sent either sample chapters or the manuscript itself. Meaning that I waited not once, but twice to get rejected! The fun never stops!

Add to this the time to actually write and formulate the query itself, a process which if done correctly and personalized to the agent (which is a definite MUST DO if you EVER want your work to see the outside of a wastebasket. Believe me, my manuscript has seen the wastebasket, it and the wastebasket are friends, they vacation together, hell, they are thinking about filing a joint tax return…) can take hours or even days. If an agent then wants a synopsis you can go ahead and just kiss your life for the next few days adios. Seriously, synopsises are Satan. Try writing one if you don’t believe me, go ahead, I’ll wait….wasn’t that just horrible? I shudder at the thought…

However, at the end of the day, queries are part of the game, a game you have to learn to enjoy to keep from losing your mind before you start trying to make time machines out of Deloreans…I’m just saying…. My patience has been tested over and over again with this process, and the more it tests me, the more I am invigorated by the chase. Yes, queries suck…but so do spiders, yet without them the world would be taken over by mosquitos and horse flies.  (That analogy sounded really awesome in my head…)

So strap on your query kickin’ boots and get ready to take names! You can’t avoid them, so let’s show ’em what we authors are made of…

They can reject our BOOKS! But they can NEVER REJECT OUR FREEEEDDDOOOOM!!!!!!

*Now, I should take a moment to note that if you get a request to see any work at all, it is definitely something to get excited about. In fact, most people never seen that point in the process at all, so I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have achieved the level of success in rejection that I have achieved. It still sucks that I have not been published. That is simply incontrovertible, but it most definitely sucks less! Yay for positive thinking! Snaps for you!

Question of the day: How many times have you been rejected?? Whether in trying to get published, find love, get a job, etc.? Leave a comment in the comment section below!!

Rejection is part of life, let’s share it with one another!

Read Full Post »