How NOT to Get a Literary Agent (In 20 Simple Steps)

 

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If you’re a mediocre writer and want an agent to sign you….marry one. But if you’re a talented writer, all it takes is getting your book into the hands of the right literary agent and BINGO….instant representation! Just don’t do as I say and definitely don’t do as I do below….

  1. Binge watch all I Love Lucy episodes and realize your intense desire to have an agent discover your writing talent is just as fierce (if not more) than that of the famous, hairbrained redhead wanting to break into show business at Ricky’s nightclub.
  2. Decide you need your own equivalent of “The Tropicana” and register for a Writers Conference, where there are sure to be a ton of hot agents scouring to sign new, fledgling authors like yourself.
  3. Go on the internet to check out the hotel layout and notice they have lots of elevators. Forget taking the stairs for health reasons! Craft a captivating elevator pitch! Practice a witty escalator pitch too, just in case the elevators are out of order.
  4. While waiting in the airport for your plane, research “what to say in person to grab an agent’s interest.” Discover they love it when you liken the plot of your book to a mixture of two well-known exciting movies.
  5. Unexpectedly cross paths with a real live literary agent seated across the aisle on your flight. Blurt out, “King Kong Versus Godzilla!”
  6. Recall how Lucy Ricardo received lots of attention implementing creative publicity stunts. Eye the tall roof of the hotel with visions of “landing as a woman from Mars.” Consider the conference swimming pool as a place for a staged drowning so an agent can rescue you as you sputter out the opening line of your new novel, along with spitting chlorinated water.
  7. Wander upon some colorful tables set up in the lobby with established authors sitting behind large colorful stacks of their newly released books, cheerfully autographing covers for (what looks like) hungry agents.
  8. Open your backpack and impulsively place ten of your own self-published books (that’s all you’ve brought to the conference) on a nearby janitor’s supply cart so that (much like a bowl of unattended Halloween candy left on the porch for trick-or-treaters) every last copy will be gobbled up by influential individuals in the book industry.
  9. On the way up to the 12th floor to change clothes for the evening’s festivities, “accidentally” lean against the emergency button, (lurching things to a stop between floors 8 and 9) so that this group of agents are now a captive audience for your book pitch, and bonus – you won’t have to keep it under 30 seconds.
  10. Apologize when you find out they’re just other wanna-be-authors much like yourself, only angrier because you just made them late to the banquet dinner.
  11. Arrive in your room to see the red light lit up on the desk, indicating people have been trying to reach you. Wonder how many agents read the novels you left in the lower lobby, salivated, and have now beaten a path to your hotel room phone leaving messages like, “Let’s meet before dinner so you can sign my exclusivity representation agreement!”
  12. Call the front desk and retrieve a single message, “Nine of your books have been turned into the hotel Lost & Found. Please see the concierge to claim.”
  13. Daydream that the missing 10th book is under the pillow inside a prominent agent’s hotel room and he’ll be kept awake all night, turning pages.
  14. At the banquet, decide on a new tact that doesn’t involve displaying your books prominently in front of the cream-puffs on the dessert buffet. Resolve instead to place into the palm of any agent (reaching with an outstretched arm to shake your hand during introductions) a copy of your novel. What? ?  Like they’re gonna rudely just let it drop on the floor?
  15. Pick your book up off the carpet. Shout, “So nice meeting you!” to the agent’s backside as he hurries toward the stairway, because it’s recently been announced to “ride elevators at your own risk” at this particular writer’s conference.
  16. Walk into a workshop called, “Speed Pitching To An Agent” where the idea is to play musical chairs, quickly discussing your book with 15 different agents. Talk very fast! You’ve got this movie comparison thing down pat now. Tell them it’s a cross between “When Harry Met Sally” and “Planet of the Apes.” Claim you heard Nicolas Cage is dying for the lead role when your bestseller becomes an actual movie. What?? Do you think they have Nicky’s number and will call to confirm??
  17. Tell all the male agents “You wouldn’t understand my book, it’s geared toward female readers who want to become multi-orgasmic.”
  18. Sing your pitch or recite it in Pig-Latin.
  19. Contemplate launching into the VitaMeataVegaMin routine or lighting the tip of your fake nose on fire with a lit cigarette.
  20. Check-out of the hotel on Monday morning thoroughly encouraged because the janitor chased you out to the valet stand to thank you for leaving him your book with his cleaning supplies. He wants to know if you’ll mop all the lobby floors so he can find out how the book ends. Say, “Yes!”

It’s Feb! Hosting a Super Bowl or Oscars Awards party? Maybe combining the two?? Check out my new funny planning tips right HERE on the website Jewlarious! I’d love to hear from you over there.

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If You’re a Blogger, You Might Need These Tips (And If You Need These Tips, You Might Be a Blogger) Maybe!

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There’s a famous saying that every blog has its day! So without further ado . . .  on with The Ten Tips — And you can just take what you want (in a little doggy err bloggy bag) and leave the rest for other readers to digest.

  1. Your Job Title – When you’re at a cocktail party and you’re asked about your profession, do NOT just give a simplistic, two syllable, seven letter career name like “Blogger” or “Writer” or “Author.” How is that going to command any kind of respect? We’re Wordsmiths but we can’t even generate an impressive description for what we do all day?  Try these instead. a) A Controller in the Language Industry b) A Disseminator of Thought Processes c) An Ideation Ideologist.  See if that doesn’t cause a few people to avert their eyes, murmur, “Wow” and bow in deference. The host might even raise his glass in a toasting gesture.
  2. Suggestions — Learn to cut people off who offer you “terrific ideas” for your blog. WTF?  Why does everyone who finds out you’re a blogger think you’ve run dry and it’s their civic duty to tell you their life story so you’ll be chalk full of entertaining posts again?  And they always end by saying, “You can use that story for free!” Gee, thanks.  I don’t go up to my physician with a toy stethoscope from my son’s Doctor’s Kit and say, “Here!  Take this!  I won’t even charge you!”
  3. Conclusions — Always end your articles or blogs with some sort of “Call To Action” for the reader. Sometimes readers just need a nudge or a little direction. You can ask the reader to leave a comment, like it on Facebook, or request that he Tweet it on Twitter. I usually make my Calls To Action very personal. For example — “Please show up at the author’s home with dust rags and Windex this Saturday at 10 am.”
  4. Write-offs– For income tax purposes (you must do ample exploration of your location so it’s realistic, yes??) always set your blog post somewhere beautiful and exotic. Seriously, would you rather research events that take place in Costa Rica or Tahiti — or your bathtub?
  5. Lifelike — You want fictional people to be believable in your writing, so be sure and flesh out all your characters. You may even want to completely flush out a character, if one of them is due for a colonoscopy.
  6. There are NO NEW IDEAS.  — Got that?  If you have an idea that you think has never been done before, Google it and trust me, it’s already out there in some form. All plots loosely fall under these three categories — 1. Man Against Man. 2. Man Against Himself. 3. Man Against His Dishwasher.
  7. Plagiarism — Don’t do it. Take this vow:  “I pledge-arize not to plagiarize.” However, there are a lot of poems, famous sayings, and quotes out there that list “Author Unknown” at the bottom of them.  So even though “There Are No New Ideas” (see #6)  that doesn’t mean you cannot take credit for some old, anonymous ones. Does it?
  8. Reviews — Most bloggers are shy about asking people to review them on Linkedin or Amazon (if they’ve written a book) but you can do this in an innocent, charming way that harkens back to grade school. Simply pass your reader a folded note with a bashful smile, and they can check off the appropriate box. yes-or-no
  9. Funny! — Become a Humor Blogger so that when people don’t like what you’ve put out there you can always say, “That was just a joke.  Here’s the REAL blog.”
  10. To Be Continued — Always leave a cliffhanger (especially effective if your name is Clifford!) to ANYTHING you write.  Notice that there were only 9 real tips in this post?  But now you’ll keep checking back to see if I add a 10th item, won’t you?

Reader CALL TO ACTION!  Please leave a comment or take out my kitchen trash.  Your choice. But should you let sleeping dogs err blogs lie? Maybe!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/maybe/

Rejection As The Best Motivation?

crop380w_istock_000012132005xsmallDear Editor,

I received your recent rejection notice and unfortunately it’s just not what I’m looking for at this time. It’s certainly a well-crafted piece and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, rejecting other aspiring writers. You may try me again in the future with something more upbeat.

Sincerely,

Stephanie D. Lewis

Aha! Rejecting the rejection letters! That’s the smart thing to do. I wish I could say that IS what I do. Instead when my writing gets turned down, it motivates me to try that much harder to get published in that particular venue. I become obsessively relentless. In fact, I seem to stop submitting to all the other places that actually like my stuff, in order to pursue chasing after the one place that clearly wants nothing to do with me. Sounds perfectly healthy, right?

On the off chance that this is typical human nature behavior and other people have similar responses, I’ve decided to take up rejection letters as a new hobby to see if it also motivates those around me to try their very best.

Recent Rejection Letters I’ve Sent

Dear Children,

Thank you for making your bunk-bed this morning. However, I regret to inform you it’s not exactly what I had in mind. The top sheet was all bunched up below the comforter, (simulating a sleeping body that creeped me out) the pillows were strewn haphazardly, and there were 8 used tissues crumpled in the center of the bottom bunk. Even the cat turned up her nose and slept in her Kitty Krib this morning.  Perhaps bed-making is not your niche and you would be better suited for playing Wii or skateboarding instead.

All my best,

Mom

Dear Bride-To-Be,

I am in receipt of the Halloween costume dress you picked out for me to wear as your maid-of-honor. I am sorry to be returning it at this juncture in time, but it’s just not a good fit for me. Literally. Also the eggplant color is horrific and if you think any woman would ever wear this again as a festive party dress, you’re sadly mistaken. I do appreciate you thinking of me in this capacity and look forward to future gowns you might submit for me to wear as I walk down the aisle to stand up for you at your wedding.

Thank you again,

Stephanie

ps. You two are all wrong for one another. Don’t be surprised if you get a rejection letter from your groom.

Dear Chef at Outback Steakhouse,

Thank you for auditioning this filet mignon on my plate. I’m sorry but it just wasn’t up to the caliber of flavor and tenderness I’m accustomed to. Feel free to try me again in about twenty minutes with more of your recent accomplishments, especially any vanilla offerings drenched in hot fudge and whipped cream that might be presented “on the house.”

Signed,

Your Customer at Table 9

Dear Dr. Goldstein,

Thank you for recently diagnosing my constant mood swings and elaborate white lies as Borderline Personality Disorder. While the acronym BPD is certainly impressive sounding, the whole label just doesn’t ring true for me. I could just be tired, irritable, and disenchanted with constantly getting asked to be a maid-of-honor. Ever think of that, Doc? I would like to invite you to submit a second opinion of my delicate condition in a few more weeks. However if you suggest I’m pregnant, you’ll never work in this town again.

Thank you for the recent appointment!

Stephanie D. Lewis

Dear Faithful Blog Follower,

It is with utmost appreciation that I thank you for taking the time to read “Once Upon Your Prime” and click the “Like” box. You certainly do so with aplomb and bravado. However lately your comments seem a bit jaded as if this is the 13th or 14th clever posting you’ve read in a row from me.  Though that may be the case, the redundant use of the word “genius” becomes rather tiresome. Ho Hum. At this point in time, due to the high volume of comments I’m currently receiving on “Once Upon Your Prime” (a whopping 3-5 per month!) I will be closing this particular section, so do not attempt to leave even an original comment as it will be promptly exiled.

Thank you for your understanding,

Little Miss Menopause

So far, the reverse psychology method of my rejection letters seems to have elicited some interesting results. a) A military style bed so tightly made, I could bounce a quarter off of it. b) A stylish black bridesmaid dress that I will proudly wear to my next funeral. c) Roasted chicken so garlicky I wouldn’t dare kiss someone even with ten breath mints. (But healthier than steak and the chef only spit on the parsley!)  (D) A physician’s diagnosis of “Just being your everyday, garden-variety bitch.” E) Followers who were so offended at my quirky humor, they promptly unsubscribed to my blog.

Oh dear . . . please come back my dear reader.  It was just an experiment in human nature.Mad-Rejection-Letter.jpg (1)

Things You Do Daily Count As Real Writing!

This is substantial writing!

This is substantial writing!

You may not realize it, but you’re a professional writer every single day. Here are ways to elevate the work you already do to get noticed and possibly garner yourself a book or movie offer!

GROCERY LISTS:  First of all, always give them a title. Try “More Than Just Food!’  or “My Hungry Family: Must They Eat Every Single Day?”

Here’s my sample grocery list with a creative spin from yesterday.

  • Bagel Thins  (The greatest thing since sliced bread!)
  • Loreal Preference Hair Color (ha! I’m not covering up gray. I’m actually intentionally dying my hair gray!) Click HERE. 
  • Chips Ahoy cookies (Can I fool the PTA into thinking they’re home baked?)
  • Kitty Litter (Our cat died 8 years ago. Huh? Whoa…mystery….intrigue! )
  • Milk (Forget “Got Milk?” How about “Got Milkshake?”)
  • Ice-cream (Ahh, now we’re talking!)

MESSAGES YOU LEAVE AROUND THE HOUSE:  Never discount any of these notes.

  • “If you take a brownie from this platter, I WILL know. Even if you rearrange them.  And don’t justify dark chocolate is now healthy for you so it can be for breakfast. These are for our new neighbors to welcome them!”
  • “Please make sure door is closed so cat doesn’t get out. (And YES! Our cat has been dead for 8 years. But nobody seems to care that I just don’t want flies in the house.)”
  • “Please Take Out This Kitchen Garbage Because Contrary To What You Learned In Art Class, This Is Not Surrealism.”

RECIPES:  Especially Rock Cornish Game Hen, Buffalo Chix Wings or Grilled Chix Tenders ingredients.  Hey, we’re talking Classic “Chick Lit!” here.

LOVE NOTES:  Either to your significant other or to your kids.  Copyright them!  Try “You had me at Hell!” and “Love means never having to say, “I’m sorry but I hate calamari!”

MISC. SCRIBBLES:

  • “Sorry I hit your back bumper.  Can you call me so we can settle this for cash?  My husband will kill me if our premiums go up”
  • “Please excuse Zachary from P.E. today.  I washed his white gym shorts with our red bath towels. Yes, again.”
  • “Have a great day. Good luck on math test and please bring home the tupperware which holds the carrots you won’t eat.”

FORMS: They all count! Permission Slips, Insurance Claims, Sweepstakes Entries, Library Card Applications, Referral letters, etc.

  • “Please pick me!  I never win anything. I need this 3 day trip to Nevada because “Viva Las Vegas!” is my favorite Elvis song. If my voicemail is full when you call this number, please call back.  My kids ramble.”
  • “I give permission to my son/daughter to go on the zoo field trip on May 4th and to punch that Brandon Katz in the nose if he calls her ‘tuna breath’ one more time.”
  • “To Whom It May Concern: This is a testimonial for Dr. Craig Spanky, OB/GYN. Do not hesitate to put your feet in his stirrups as he always warms his speculum.”

See?  You haven’t been giving yourself the credit you deserve.  You’re working overtime in the writing field.  Now go take a well-deserved break!

For anyone who can handle my more serious side – – please visit me on the magazine XO JANE right HERE and leave a supportive comment if you like. It means a lot to me!

TOTALLY COUNTS!

THIS TOTALLY COUNTS!

15 Ways Getting Published & “Fifty Shades of Grey” are Similar!

photo (10)If you want to get published, it takes lots of passion and discipline to send your submission to fifty places. The stress may make you gray. Ironically, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is also all about passion, stress, discipline and submission. But you’ll be surprised to find there’s even more overlap! (Not including Christian Grey bending Ana over-his-lap)

 

  1. Christian Grey knows about ropes and is into Bondage. An editor knows the ropes and is into Beverage. (Red wine or coffee!)
  2. An editor has to scrutinize a submission. Christian Grey has “screwin’ eyes” for a submissive.
  3. Christian Grey’s hands are full of kink. A publisher’s hands are full of ink.
  4. Christian Grey will not tolerate Ana rolling her eyes during their contact. Editors will not tolerate you not dotting all your i’s in your contract.
  5. Christian Grey has masochistic tendencies. An editor has manuscriptic tendencies.
  6. Publishers want to own someone’s copyright. Christian Grey wants to own someone outright.
  7. Editors like to bold text the exciting snippets. Christian Grey likes bold sex and exciting whip-its.
  8. Your editor likes literary fiction, but will turn on you for using the passive voice. Cristian Grey likes friction, literally. And will get turned-on by a passive voice.
  9. Submitting means you want to be published. SUBmitting means you want to be punished.
  10. Most editors won’t like you writing off-the-cuff. Cristian Gray won’t like you, except writhing in handcuffs.
  11. In Fifty Shades of Gray, a safe word will end the pleading. In publishing, it’s safe to say the words “The End” end the reading.
  12. Editors want you to draft many versions. Mr. Grey wants you to drift into many perversions.
  13. Editors will ask how long you’ve been blogging? Mr. Grey will ask how long you want a flogging?
  14. Mr. Grey demands Ana sign a contract to consent to being erotic. An editor demands contact info with your content if she’s being neurotic!
  15. It makes Mr. Grey hard if Ana’s bound, with a nice gag.  Publishers will make a hardbound with a price tag.