Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brand On The Run

When the moments arise when I become frustrated by the ineptitude of the submission process, I'm reminded of early advisement given by someone whose words hold true. I was persuaded early on to have faith in the industry, and was assured that by understanding the distinction between a writing coach and a literary parvenu, I would avoid self rejection, and maintain the confidence to construct a successful project.

The goal of my initial objective was to complete the first draft, then seek someone to guide me through the process,and assist me in improving my work. I thought an agent would appear to coddle me with encouraging accolades, and correct my project's imperfections with experienced advise. I know Benson's House is appealing; I've watched my words provoke emotions from those reading it's text. The gratification of striking that cord is like what an entertainer feels when in sync with the audience: the sensation is overwhelming, and I strive to enhance the power of that connection.

Many talented people have been willing to help me on this quest, but often I find there are incompetent braggarts circulating that dictate phony advise, and claim to be the oracles of knowledge on the traits necessary to brand a financially successful project. It is important to recognize the difference between those sharing practical experiences and those selling snake oil. The ones providing constructive criticism are genuine and have favorably contributed to my ambition of authoring- as one of my colleagues described it- the best historical fiction of '12. I am not boasting, but merely setting the bar.

And, I personally find it difficult to avoid the ones offering false promises: I'm too gullible. I'm often tempted to enter the tent of the charlatans: those offering "how to" advise for a nominal fee. I find myself like that of a boy, standing before the sideshow barker, pondering if I should pay the 50 cents to see the bearded lady. I'm intrigued and ponder if the person behind the tarp has the same facial hair length concealing the sultry form of the woman appearing in the illustration on the banner outside the tent.

Fortunately I become bothered by the barker's dares to see, first hand, whether or not the illusion is real or fake. I become convinced that the odds are in favor of his persuasion being false, and although I'm a natural born optimist, the consultant's words of having faith in the industry speak to me, and I preserve my four bits for a more sensible purchase.

I was once tempted, by the promotion of a former literary agent assistant, who promised to reveal the secret to alluring an agent into receiving a query letter. The mystery surrounding the submission process was to be revealed in the purchase of her book. Then the consultants voice spoke, again, and I questioned with remorse how it was possible for a literary agent's assistant to council creative writers how to compose a compassionate letter.

I once received a submission reply informing me the agent would not be a suitable representative, because my project was in the genre of historical fiction, and she did not do well in high school history. I never responded; I felt her remark was somewhat like confessing the inability to determine if Rachmaninoff was a gifted musician, because of a failure to do well studying piano.

Blockbuster's filing for Chapter 11 is because of a lack of genuine product, not because of a lack of viewers. Boarders Group nears bankruptcy because of a lack of genuine product, not because of a lack of readers. And, yet, projects rot in slush piles like compost in the city dump. But, the words return: "Have faith in the industry!" I do, and so far the process has structured improvements to the content of the novel.

No one prefers weak tea sipped before it has sufficient time to brew. There are no dull literary works only unpolished projects, and I'm confident the consultant's words are correct. The industry will- in synergy- provide me with the resources to shape my work with perfection. I've formulated the necessary rewrites to submit Benson's House. I've constructed a marketing plan and I'm ready to receive advise in orchestrating the stages to launch the novel's public premiere.

The boy will preserve his 50 cents until the novel's release, when he will celebrate by exchanging his coins for a swirl of cotton candy wrapped around a paper cone. The confectionery sweetness will be savored, and will be appreciated, at a future moment in time.

If I ever get out of here,
Thought of giving it all away,
To a registered charity,
All I need is a pint a day-
If I ever get out of here.
If I ever get out of here.

Paul McCartney