A Frustrated Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale Author
Fairy Tale Author

Once upon a time, there was a lovely author. She was smart, and sexy, sassy and…okay, okay, I said it was a fairy tale, remember? Anyway, she’d been writing her whole life, and finally finished her first novel. Now, this gorgeous author was alive back in the days before there was internet. Yes, I know, that was a very long time ago. You probably weren’t even born yet! But such a time did exist. Ha, ha, very funny. Yes, there was electricity. And typewriters. You’ve probably never seen one of those, have you, smarty pants?

This voluptuous writer, her dream was to have her book represented by the William Morris Agency in New York City. She sat in their waiting room when she was 15 years old, just watching the goings on. It was a magical afternoon in the city that never sleeps. She believed it was her destiny. How could she be denied?

Fast forward to the 1990s. The author’s first manuscript was complete. It was an action-adventure novel which would rival Ian Fleming and definitely kick Clive Cussler’s far-fetched ass. She was ready. She contacted William Morris. They wanted it. Months went by. The vice president had taken an interest. Three readers read it. Things were happening, indeed. Continue reading “A Frustrated Fairy Tale”

6 Lessons Learned from 138 Rejection Letters

I wrote my first novel in 1994, when self-publishing was like substance abuse: whispered about in dark corners, the afflicted looked upon with pity-filled glances. If I wanted to see this puppy in print I had two viable options: large press or small press, but both involved a thumbs-up from a gatekeeper.

I chose the large press route. For that, you needed a literary agent. Because that was The Way It Was Done Back Then. (And maybe still is, but I haven’t been in that burg for a while.) If you weren’t Clive Cussler’s nephew’s babysitter, you needed a literary agent or you went into the slush pile with the other wannabes. Blind determination netted me 138 rejections from literary agencies from New York to Los Angeles. As I move toward my third published book, and second self-published one, I’ve been thinking about the lessons learned from that dogged (if misguided) persistence. Continue reading “6 Lessons Learned from 138 Rejection Letters”

A Perfect Rejection

Author John BarlowThis post is about rejection. More specifically, it is about a rejection letter that I received from an editor at Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown (Hachette).

My noir mystery What Ever Happened to Jerry Picco? was submitted to Mulholland by my (then) agent because it seemed to fit the imprint’s profile for intelligent, inventive crime. The book involves the disappearance of a midget porn star. However, it is not an explicit book; it’s about a missing pornographer, a sort of noir-romp with a few references to Shakespeare and fairy stories. NOT sexually explicit. Bear that in mind. Here’s the letter:

Thanks so much for the chance to consider WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO JERRY PICO? I took this under very close consideration; there’s much to like here. The writing, throughout, is pitch-perfect; Flores* is clearly in command of a masterful, thorough knowledge of the genre, and it shows in both his prose and in the bizarre, fringe characters with which he populates this well-executed novel of investigation (Pico’s wounded, needy and binge-drinking bombshell of a lover is especially appealing). Continue reading “A Perfect Rejection”