Sunday, February 27, 2022

A Week in Writing #393 - Quick Rejection This Time

I hope everyone is staying safe, and, of course, writing.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've no doubt read how the book I'm supposedly writing, currently called fka Skylar, is always getting short shrift in my writing. I tried to change that on Monday night but I got too tired to work on it. Has that ever happened to you? I need to do better with that, but there always seems to be something else consuming my time.

A lot of it seems to go to Powers Squared. I know I spend an inordinate amount of time on this book between reviewing artwork, posting three times a week, and then sharing them on Facebook to various groups I belong to. And there is always something I think I forget to do. Usually, it's updating the latest video on the website. We record our podcast every Friday night at 6pm, live on Paul then takes the audio from the video, which I upload to Podbean. Over the next 24 hours, it goes out to various platforms, but the best is that it also shows up automatically on our website at

Later, usually on Sunday, I post the video to YouTube and schedule it for Wednesday at 2:30 pm. Through our website, I write and schedule some social media posts that come out at the same time. Later, I post another one on Instagram and Facebook of a video Paul and I shoot after the show with a link. I then go to Facebook and share the post to various groups I belong to. This supposedly gets us more awareness, though not necessarily more views. I also then post to Linkedin and the page I have set up there for Powers Squared. Again, more awareness though not necessarily more views.

Also, every Sunday, I post a new peek-of-the-week on our website. Again, a social media post gets scheduled for Tuesday at 2:30 pm to advertise. I don't really have a good idea how many people check out this feature but we average about 80 to 90 website visits a month, which sadly is considered good according to Go Daddy. And then there are some more follow-up posts to Facebook groups, again to make people aware.

We've also been prepping the last few weeks for a Kickstarter in March. I've been writing the text for the page with Paul, with feedback from our consultant. There are still some things I'm not sure about but I'm hoping things will get clearer in the weeks ahead.

One new query this week, got rejected the next morning by the agent. Nice not to have to wait for it. "Thank you for considering me as a possible fit to represent your book. I have reviewed your query and, at this time, I do not believe that I am the right agent to represent your work. Please know that we are extremely selective, even with the materials we review. I do appreciate you thinking of us as an agency, however, and I encourage you to continue your search for an agent who is just the right fit for you. I wish you every success in your publishing endeavors." An obvious form letter, but I guess it's better than not hearing back at all.

I spent more time researching possible agents. I decided what I have in Broken People is more of a thriller so I thought I might do better aiming it at them. Lots of agents and while there is overlap, there are a lot more. I'm still going through possibles through QueryTracker, so I'll let you know the count when I'm done.

My review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife went up as Trophy Unlocked's Saturday Morning Review. Paul's review of Control Ultimate Edition for the PS5, was our Wednesday Game Day review. No new review for me. On Saturday, we watched Free Guy and since he has more experience with video games, Paul will be writing that review. Look for it next Saturday.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

A Week in Writing #392 - First Rejection of the New Year

Hope everyone is feeling well, keeping safe, and, of course, writing.

I don't know about you, but I'm not quite ready to get back out there. While rates are dropping there are still a lot of people getting sick and dying, too many for me to feel like everything is back to normal. I'm not saying if you want to go out into public you shouldn't, as long as you follow all the guidelines, but I'm not in a hurry to test fate.

Case in point, even though we do a review blog, Trophy Unlocked, which includes movies, we haven't yet gone back to the theaters, something I love to do. I'm sorry but there is no movie worth getting sick for and with my luck the guy coughing behind me would be someone who isn't vaccinated. This plays out in reviews, so we're a little behind. As an example, I just wrote a review for Ghostbusters: Aftermath, which came to theaters last November but to blu-ray more recently. Not sure when it will post but I'm sure it will be soon, so keep an eye out for it. I also completed my review for Batman: Under the Red Hood but no publication date to report.

On the subject of the blog, the Saturday Morning Review was Paul's for Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, a film I have not seen. Wednesday's Game Day review was Trevor's for Vexx, which he played on Xbox.

No query on Thursday as I was trying to work on a couple of other things, including a script for a Kickstarter video and reviewing eight pages of thumbnails for Issue 21 from our artist. That doesn't mean we won't discuss queries because on Friday morning I did hear back from the first agent I had queried this year, and if you're keeping track, using the old query letter:

"David:  I'm afraid this won't work for us. Today, publishers typically make business (rather than artistic / creative) decisions; only taking on what their sales and marketing departments say is a sure thing. And, unfortunately, I don't believe this is sure to break out of a very crowded marketplace. Others might feel differently however, so obviously don't take my response as the final word."

This is, of course, based on the query letter and the first ten pages, so I'm not crushed by the comment, though I can't say it made my day. I'm not saying who sent it or changing the punctuation, in what has to be a form letter. Not sure how my book would need to be changed, if it can, that would make it a "sure thing," which sounds like a rather ephemeral standard.

I did continue my vetting for possible agents to query, opening my net to include agents who represent General Fiction, rather than just Crime. I used QueryTracker to put together the list this time. This is a two-part process, the first part, which I've completed, is to get their names, agency, and type of query on my spreadsheet. Part two is more research, like do they not take crime or don't mention the genre in their actual website profile. And then there are the details they want in and with the query, how long do they say they'll take to get back to you, etc., all of which I'll note and record.

Currently, my list of agents numbers 491, of which 63 are highlighted Red, which means they either don't handle my genre, I don't want to query them, or they have already rejected me, like that agent on Friday morning. I have, if you're curious, 82 that are yellow, which means they aren't accepting queries, the last time I checked or are in an agency that I've pegged another agent to query. Since we're breaking it down, I have 71 that I think are possibilities to query and a whopping 275 that I have yet to vet beyond step one. A lot of hope and research is still to be done and these distinctions will change over time.

On Friday, Paul and I recorded our Kickstarter video as part of our show On the Air with Powers Squared. In reality, we recorded bits and pieces of it, not a single take, which Paul will edit down and send to Artithmeric for them to come up with the final video. I would talk more about the Kickstarter, but I don't know much more since the last time we wrote, not that I haven't tried to follow up. You can listen to it through the link above, or watch it on for the next two weeks, or you can wait until Wednesday at 2:30pm PT and watch it on YouTube. Comments are welcomed.

On the subject of Powers Squared, Paul and I finally got around to applying for copyrights to the three issues we plan to release this year. You may remember that I started and aborted that process back in October. Well, a whole bunch of things happened and we just got back to it today. For some reason, the process went way smoothly. We've had some issues with our submissions before but we answered all their questions truthfully and accurately, so we hope everything will work out.

Sadly, no work was done on fka Skylar though I have been thinking about it, which I know doesn't really count. We're all about word count and there hasn't been any to mention in the last week.

Well, on that cheery note, I think that's about all from me. Keep writing and I'll see you back here next week.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

A Week in Writing #391 - Not Quite Crushed

Hope everyone is staying safe, has great plans for Valentine's Day, and is, of course, writing.

As I wrote last week, Paul and I had our meeting to discuss our pitch packet for Powers Squared the animated TV series. To be clear, we weren't pitching the show, but getting feedback on the pitch packet itself. While the feedback wasn't overwhelmingly positive, it was also not so bad as to pop our balloon, just deflated it a little. I won't go into specifics but we have some work to do. But it wasn't like the person shredded the deck in front of us and told us to look for fry-cook jobs.

My goal is always to make things better and we got a sense of what we need to do. I'm not sure yet we've decided on how to get there but I believe we have a common goal.

One thing we were asked was if we had a pilot script to go with it, which we are working on, though I know that still needs work.

On the subject of Powers Squared, we had our monthly team meeting this week on our On the Air with Powers Squared podcast. We got updates and new pages from both our artist and our colorist so progress continues on the book. Not really sure I can say the same thing about our Kickstarter. It isn't until late March but I really want to deliver what I have to ahead of time. So far, I'm not sure what else they may want. I sent examples of what else I have but it took over a week and with me following up to find out if they had even looked at what I sent. I'm sure things will come together but it is a little frustrating. I don't deal well with radio silence.

In other writing, my review of Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked. The Wednesday Game Day review was Paul's review of Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate. I'm currently working on a review of Batman Under the Red Hood, a movie we watched on Saturday night. Not quite a drain the DVR, but still fun.

I did make another query this past week, despite everything else. So, now I've got five out there, with one probably coming up on its shelf life, but I'm going to keep plugging away. I'm even thinking of trying to query a second book. The hope is to get someone's attention, isn't it?

Sadly, fka Skylar took a backseat to everything else that happened this past week. Sadly, there are only so many hours in a day and only so many ways I can divide my time. I won't give you a word count but the needle didn't move very far forward this week, to say the least.

Well, that about does it for me. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

A Week in Writing #390 - Not Wanting to Crush the Dream

Hope everyone is well, boosted, and, of course, writing.

We got political for I think the first time on our podcast this past week. I'm sure by now you've heard that Art Spiegelman's Maus graphic novel was removed from some classrooms in Tennessee. The excuse was pretty picky, nudity (a female mouse), and curse words (they said "damn" several times) but on the heels of the Krause list in Texas, that wants 850 books removed from library shelves, we had to say something. Rachel Wells, our artist, who had also read Maus, joined our podcast, along with Trevor, to discuss. Next week, we'll get back to the comic book, but sometimes you have to speak up. You're invited to listen to it and would welcome your thoughts.

While we're on the subject of Powers Squared, we did receive work on the final pages of Issue #20, while we're still waiting to release Issue #13. Part of our hold-up is the coming Kickstarter, which is now scheduled for March 24th. We don't want to put out too much too close together. So, we're going to wait for that to complete and then start putting out new books. More details as they become available. I would appreciate it if you at least give it a hard look.

We're supposed to have a meeting this week about our Pitch Deck. We haven't pitched it yet but we're hoping to get some feedback on it from someone in the industry familiar with these kinds of shows. I will admit I'm a little nervous about it. I really don't want to crush the dream just yet. Maybe I'm fearing the worst but I'm pretty sure there are ways we can make it better.

I'm still feeling my way through the Pilot script. I think I know what to do but there are some things to do with formatting that I can't seem to get right. It's a learning experience for me.

No new reviews for me this week, blame the Olympics. We spent Saturday night fast-forwarding through the opening ceremonies, so there wasn't time for a movie afterward. I get the feeling it might be a couple of weeks before we get back to that. The Saturday Morning Review on Trophy Unlocked was Trevor's review of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, a film we had fairly recently re-watched. The Wednesday Game Day review was Paul's of Shantae and the Seven Sirens for the PS4.

I spent a good deal of time on Thursday night on queries. After I sent out my fourth query this year, the third with the new format I wrote about a couple of posts back, I researched another 30 agents from my list and the results were not all that encouraging. Of the 30, only 4 seemed to handle Crime Fiction and were accepting queries. Four were closed to Queries at this time and one was closed permanently. A good chunk didn't show they handle crime fiction on their websites, even though they had shown up in a prior search. I still have about 172 more agents to research. As I find out more, I'll share it here.

That brings me to fka Skylar on which progress is slow. I spent my time on the book this week sort of circling the drain. By that, I went through the last bit of work and rethought some of it. The actual word count didn't really change all that much; 25,878 is the current count for what it's worth.

Well, on that lackluster stat, I'll bring this week's post to a close. Keep writing and I'll see you next week.