Queerty on James Franco; Ariana Grande on Gay Bully; Blogging vs Writing Credits; Ice Bucket Hot Guys;

Queerty on James Franco

Update below on Franco and ice bucket challenge.

The other day I posted about James Franco and the topic of passive aggressive homophobia, which he seems to have mastered. I’m not commenting much here. I’m reluctantly posting about the subject this time with two links simply because I wanted to show that I’m not the only one who’s noticed this about Franco. Frankly, I’m bored with it all.

But Queerty recently commented about Franco and homophobia in this piece, which backs up my previous posts almost to the last letter. That doesn’t always happen in such an accidental way, so I guess I’m not the only one.

Franco, a heterosexual man who has previously used gay sex, plagiarized work from gay artistsstarted his own gay rumors and fueled gay rumors about his brother for the benefit of his own career, draws the line HERE.

So for those of you taking notes, James Franco pretty much just labeled his own MO as homophobic

And here’s a link to a more recent piece about Franco’s latest attempts to self-promote his new film with gay content. I didn’t know about the plagiarism allegations until now.

Because it’s only ok for James Franco to give a wink to his non-gay gayness, not anybody else, the actor is back again with some more uploads.

I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to see Franco’s newest film, Michael. Of course by even stating that I’m helping him promote it right here on my own blog. I know that, and I know the difference. And I never once said that Franco wasn’t a clever little guy either.

Do I think Franco is a homophobe? Actually, no. I just think he’s an aging starlet looking for his last hurrah.

Ariana Grande on Gay Bully

Ariana Grande is a pop singer and her brother, Frankie, is participating in Big Brother 16 this summer. Frankie is openly gay (and adorable), but he’s been keeping his sister’s fame a secret. Frankie recently disclosed his sister’s fame and his real identity to the other houseguests in the Big Brother house and someone commented about him on Ariana’s social media with a negative gay slur. As a result, Ariana went to Frankie’s defense and buried the online troll.

She said: ‘That “homo” is the fiercest, most incredible, funniest, most intelligent, kind hearted and most LOVED person on the face of the planet!

‘he also cleaned up his game and told the truth to everybody in the house WHICH by the way, nobody else on the show has done.

‘so i don’t give a flying fuck if or when he comes home!!! he is incredible and i am SO proud!!!!

‘oh and also “that homo” gets more ass than you’ll ever get in your life. k miss thing?’

How do I know all this? Admittedly, I’ve been a huge Big Brother fan since the show began a long time ago. I like the game, the concept, and the strategy of the game. I’m a poker player and in many ways the BB game is like poker. Personally, I think Frankie ruined his hand by disclosing his sister’s fame way too soon. People don’t like being duped with fake identities these days. But I could be wrong about that. He’s one of the strongest players in the house this summer…or ever.

In any event, you can read more here.

Blogging vs Writing Credits

For those authors who are new, or new to querying, I thought I’d link to this next article. I don’t always agree with this blogger on everything, but sometimes…more often than not…she nails it, and this is something I would have overlooked as a given and never mentioned at all.

But I do think it’s important to know the difference between publishing credits and blogging/platform. Even here on this blog, where I blog for free, I never consider a single word I write as a publishing/writing credit. I think of blogging as a casual hobby and as a way to talk about things I see in pop culture, publishing, or in LGBTI news. Or, a way to promote/review sometimes. I don’t always care about grammar when I write here because I work fast. It’s also a place where I can talk about my books, which unfortunately I haven’t done often enough in the last four thousand posts.

In any event, here’s what publishing/writing credits are all about:

A writing credit is work that has been curated, edited or selected in some way.  Most work published on websites isn’t curated. You submit a post, it’s posted. That’s GOOD for your platform, but it’s not a writing credit.

You can read the rest here.

When it comes to these little things you might not think they’re important. But they are in the sense that the more you know about the publishing industry and how it works the more professional you’ll be. And even though a lot of things have changed, a lot have remained the same. Querying agents is one of them. You don’t want to screw that up, because those ridiculous trumped up stories about literary agents finding a self-pubbed author and going into “a fit of shaking excitement” in the middle of the night come few and far between. Most of the time agents take on writers through the query process, and most serious writers would prefer an agent take them on that way…instead of in a fit of shaking excitement. You want an agent for the long term, not for the next kindle bestseller.

Ice Bucket Hot Guys

I’ve seen my fair share of comments about the ice bucket challenge this summer and I’m not sure it’s all that bad. I even saw Ethel Kennedy on TV yesterday morning doing it. Someone actually dumped a bucket of ice water over the poor woman’s head and she took it in her stride. It’s all in fun, and Ethel’s always been a good sport.

In any event, the ice bucket challenge is about raising awareness and money for ALS…people living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. And Ethel hasn’t been the only one doing it. A lot of the hottest guys on the planet have been taking part.

Here’s how it works: someone challenges you to dump a bucket of ice on your head within 24 hours and upload it to social media or else make a donation to ALS. Seems a little counterproductive since the whole idea is to avoid donating, but it’s an awareness thing so fine. Then once you complete the challenge, you nominate more people to participate.

You can read more here, and see video images of guys like Justin Timberlake taking part. You’ll be there for a while.

The only thing that makes me wonder is that I haven’t actually seen anyone dump a bucket of ice. It always looks like a bucket of water. Maybe I’m being too literal.

So far, we haven’t seen James Franco do it yet…but give him time.

Update: Did I call it or what? Everything in life should be this easy 🙂

Cage James
.99 E-BOOK By Ryan Field

How to Write a Novel; Russia Bans Gay Gathering For Holocaust Victims

How to Write a Novel

I don’t usually post about non-fic books like this, but I’m doing it this time partly because there aren’t many good books out there like it and partly because it’s a self-published book authored by former literary agent, Nathan Bransford. Bransford is also a long time blogger and the author of a middle grade book series, and the unusual thing about his blog is that it has continued to be just as popular even after he decided to pursue a professional writing career and leave agenting.

Speaking as a blogger now, the reason why that’s so unusual is literary agent blogs usually receive many hits because so many unpubbed writers want to snag a literary agent. The readers want something from the blogger. This makes sense. It’s not easy to snag an agent or a book deal in trad publishing and connecting with an agent through a blog makes writers feel closer to their goals. In other words, the odds are these same literary agent blogs wouldn’t be as popular if the bloggers weren’t literary agents. And Bransford has proven that it is possible to continue to draw a large audience as a blogger without having anything to offer them other than good blog posts that range from writing tips to personal conversations about life, books, and objective criticism. As a blogger, I know how hard that is to do.

In any event, I haven’t read How to Write a Novel yet, but I’m going to buy it later tonight just so I have something to use as a point of reference when I need to prove/discuss something here on my blog. There’s one other non-fic book I loved, also written by a literary agent, Noah Lukeman, I still refer to often when I’m about to submit a novel to a publisher. And from what I’ve read through excerpts and early reviews, it looks like Bransford’s new book just might wind up becoming a staple for other writers for many years to come. But more important, Bransford’s book is priced at $4.99.

You can read excerpts at Bransford’s blog, here. And this is the Amazon page where you can purchase it. I’m sure it will be distributed at Smashwords and other places where digital books are sold as well. Although the book cover isn’t anything elaborate, if you’ve been following Bransford’s blog for any length of time you know orange is his favorite color.

Russia Bans Gay Gathering For Holocaust Victims

I still shudder when I think about the Holocaust, especially when I think about how many gays were persecuted during that time. The millions of lives lost should never have happened, and it wouldn’t have happened if the world had been paying closer attention to what the Nazis were doing, and taking aggressive action against it.

Upon the rise of Adolf Hitler, gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, were two of the numerous groups targeted by the Nazi Party and were ultimately among Holocaust victims. Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general, were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the “German norm.”

And now when I read about what’s happening in Russia to gays it gets even more frightening. The other day I read something about Putin welcoming gays to Russia for the Olympics. But after reading this next article I can’t help but wonder how welcome gays really are in Russia and I think the call to boycott the Olympics is more important than ever. I’ve written a series of post on this, here. As you can see from those posts I’m not the only one who feels this way…aside from Johnny Weir who thinks sports is more important than lives. He makes me shudder, too.

Russia recently banned a gay gathering that was organized to pay tribute and honor to LGBT people who were persecuted and were victims of Nazi Germany. And in banning this gathering the Russian government has sent a message to the world and it’s infuriated gay activists.

But the authorities rejected the application, saying paying tribute to gay victims of Nazi Germany could potentially ‘influence’ children on homosexuality.

Nikolai Alekseev, founder of Moscow Pride, said: ‘The Moscow authorities are becoming increasingly absurd, and the ba of the rally to denounce the crimes of Hitler and Nazism is more proof of this.

‘The government is approving of Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies.’

In an even more homophobic hate oriented move, it’s been alleged the Russian government has banned all gay gatherings.

You can read more here.

If I Were Paula Deen’s Literary Agent

If I Were Paula Deen’s Literary Agent

There has been a great deal written and discussed about television personality and cookbook author, Paula Deen, in the past two weeks. And one of the things I was watching closely was what would happen with her upcoming cookbook with Random House, and how Deen’s literary agent would react.

In spite of how much I hate the N-word, and anything even remotely related to racism, I’ve tried to remain objective while posting about Paula Deen. And this post is strictly about books and publishing and I’m not offering any subjective comments now on Deen’s situation. But since this is a publishing related post and it deals with Deen’s cookbook, I did want to comment on Random House canceling her book.

Random House has canceled the publication of Paula Deen’s upcoming cookbook Paula Deen’s New Testament, as well as four other cookbooks Deen was on contract to write with imprint Ballantine, the publishing house announced in a statement Friday.

Random House was not the first to break ties with Deen, but they certainly did wait until almost the very end to see how things were going to play out. I’ve also read they allegedly may have canceled her books partly because major retail outlets have severed ties with Deen this past week, which basically means they might be worried they won’t have a place to sell the books once they are published. That’s only hearsay, and no one really knows if that’s a fact so I’m not linking to anything related to that. And it doesn’t even make sense to me because I’ve also read that Deen’s unpubbed cookbook rose to number one on Amazon last week because so many people wanted to show their support to Deen. And the fact is that people are supporting her in spite of how many companies are dropping her.

The book was scheduled for release in October, and in recent days pre-orders have raised it to No. 1 on the online bookseller’s sales ranks. Her 2011 cookbook, “Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible,” has risen to the second spot.

As an author, I know that Amazon accounts for a good deal of sales, and if someone can’t get something anywhere else they will go to Amazon…even if it’s a cookbook they can’t buy at Target or Wal-Mart. As a consumer I have done this many, many times when I’ve wanted something badly enough. As far as I know, Amazon has not refused to sell Deen’s books. At least I don’t think they have.

And if I were Paula Deen’s agent I would be looking out for the best interests of my client and doing what is right for my client. That’s what an agent does. I’m speaking strictly from a publishing POV right now. I’ve also been waiting to see what Deen’s agent would say about all this.

“I am confident that these books will be published and that we will have a new publisher,” Deen’s literary agent, Janis Donnaud, told the Associated Press.

Publishing is a business and agents work for/with authors. On a pragmatic level, no one can argue that point. Publishing is also about freedom of speech, whether you agree with what someone says or not. I find everything about what Alec Baldwin says repulsive, but I do think he has the right to say it. Evidently, there are many people who are supporting Deen, people of ALL races, who don’t think she got a fair deal. If that weren’t true the sales ranks on Amazon wouldn’t reflect these amazing numbers. And Deen’s agent can’t ignore that.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Deen’s agent didn’t advise her to self-publish the books. Other literary agents have found ways to work these things out as a partnership of sorts so there’s no conflict of interest. And it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out. A publisher has every right to cancel a book if an author is in breach of contract for whatever reason (there are little clauses for things like this). But an author…any author…also has the right to get his/her books out to their readers as well. With all the options out there now for authors and literary agents, I think this might be just one more example in the future of another self-publishing success story.

Google Beats Apple; Win Internship with Joel Stein; Researching Agents

When compared to other Internet giants, Google seems to be the number one choice these days. According to this article, they beat out Apple, Amazon, and even Facebook.

A new poll by Washington Post-ABC News says that Google beats out Apple and Facebook when it comes to consumer sentiment. Eighty-five percent of American adults have a “favorable” view of Google compared to 72 percent for Apple and only 60 percent for Facebook. Apple dropped significantly with users under the age of 30 over the last year.

Before last year, it looked like Google was sliding. It had plain missed social and was mea culpa-ing all over the place about it. The stock was well off its highs, as everyone anticipated Facebook going public and grabbing the spotlight, at least when it came to investor and press enthusiasm. In fact, Facebook putting off its IPO for so long had inadvertently helped Google. There were only so many large cap, high growth stocks to invest in. In the Valley Google was looking dusty as well. TechCrunch well chronicled the outrageous cash bonuses the company was having to pay to keep engineers from defecting. Never exactly a sign of momentum. Word leaked that Page was having some serious Zuckerberg-envy. All signs pointed to Google succumbing to the natural cycle of Silicon Valley life.

The part about Apple losing people under the age of 30 is interesting. I’d like to see more surveys done to find out why that is. People under the age of 30 have a great deal of influence. They had a great deal of influence not more than six years ago. They helped elect the President of the US through online campaigning and contributions in ways that have never been seen or done before. Almost everyone I knew under the age of thirty thought Apple was God from heaven above. So why the switch now?

You can read more here.

Win an Internship with Author Joel Stein

This looks like it could be interesting. I’m half-tempted to make a bid myself because I’ve always been a fan of Stein’s column in Time Magazine. In fact, it’s the only reason I still get Time in print. Unfortunately, the thrills I’ll have this Sunday will be inteviewing potential new tenants for our rental apartment.

A one-day internship with TIME journalist and humor columnist Joel Stein. Spend this Sunday, June 9, 2013, working for Joel! He will buy you a mid-priced lunch and eat it with you. (He will also buy his own lunch; you won’t have to share yours.) You can work from his house in Los Angeles with him or work via Skype from your own home. There are decent odds he will yell at you and even greater odds that you’ll witness his 4-year-old son or wife yell at him.

You can bid here, and it looks simple enough to do. Another thing I’ve always liked about him is that in spite of the fact that he’s attractive he’s also self-effacing. And, the proceeds benefit Miss a Meal, which is an organization becoming increasingly more important in the US.

I would have used a photo of Joel Stein for this post, but he’s not in wiki commons and I don’t want to get into copyright issues with anyone. But there’s a photo of him at the link I provided.

Researching Literary Agents

It’s nice to link to an article about literary agents this time. And even though this one is kind of boiler plate I think the topics mentioned are important and I’m linking to it because it’s good information.

If you ask an agent what’s the number one reason they reject a query letter, most will say the same thing: The author pitched a genre that I don’t represent. So my first order of business was to define my book. OH BOY fits into several categories: nonfiction, humor and parenting. When I set out to find an agent, I focused mainly on the nonfiction and humor angles. This narrowed my search, giving me an opportunity to examine each agent more thoroughly before shipping off my queries.

This isn’t always as simple as it sounds. I’ve had books published that crossed genres, but the books have always been classified under “Gay Fiction,” no matter what the content was. Booksellers…online and in stores…do this so customers know how to shop. With a literary agents it’s a little different, and many times if the agent likes your work the agent will help you classify the genre when it’s time to shop the book. I always found the best way to see if a work is right for an agent is to research the agent’s past clients and the books they’ve sold to publishers. And that information is probably the easiest to find online nowadays. It wasn’t always like that. Up until agents had web sites you relied on ads and listings in HUGE print books like “Writer’s Market.” I do NOT miss those days.

You can read more here.

Literary Agent Evan Gregory; Free Excerpt: Daddy Knows Best; New Release

The reason I’m posting about a new literary agent, Even Gregory, is because he wrote a post in March that actually talks about e-publishing, e-publishers, and royalties. To say I’m stunned is an understatement. Most literary agent blogs never even acknowledge the fact that e-publishers exist. Not all. Lori Perkins has been talking about e-publishing for years now, and so have a few others. But I rarely see e-publishers mentioned anywhere else in spite of the fact that e-publishers pioneered digital publishing as we know it today, they paved the digital path for agents and authors and big publishers and never get an ounce of credit, and, more important, they’ve been entertaining avid readers for a decade now. I read my first digital books from e-publishers on my PC in 2002.

In any event, Evan Gregory wrote a brilliant post about royalties, e-publishers, and advances. He gets into the pros and cons, and he gives excellent examples.

The royalty-only model is, as mentioned by John, not a new model, but its rise in the digital book world is not surprising, nor should its adoption by the larger publishers for the purposes of creating their own low-overhead imprints be necessarily surprising either. The model was born out of desperation by upstart e-publishers who didn’t have the initial capital to pay out advances. Even before the rise in popularity of self-publishing, they needed an arrow in their quiver to convince authors to write for them, rather than focus their efforts elsewhere. That arrow was a higher than average royalty, and in some circumstances flexibility on the rights retained by the author. 

You can read more here. I’ve worked for publishers who have used the royalty only model, and I’ve been paid advances. (I’ve also been paid flat fees.) I’ve been fine with all. If you get an advance, you have to earn out before you get any royalties. If you get only royalties you get paid for how many books you sell anyway. Either way you’re going to make money if people read the book, so for me one thing just cancels out the other. In fact, one of the biggest worries I’ve always had was making sure I earned out with each book when I was paid an advance. I have always done this, too. But I know authors who haven’t and that really sucks.

Evan Gregory’s blog is called, Flaubert’s Pyramid, and he seems to be all over the place in social media. He’s affiliated with the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency and you can read more about him there. I would imagine he’s at BEA right now and he’ll be posting more about his experiences there in the coming weeks. I’m not sure about how he deals with queries or how he takes on clients, but I’m sure that information is out there somewhere. I’ve always found agentquery most helpful.

It’s nice to see someone fresh and new in the arena. It’s also nice to see a literary agent actually giving new authors all the advice they need, not just the advice that works for the agent. This, I believe, is the agent of the future.

New Release: Daddy Knows Best

My German editor with Bruno Gmunder Publishing e-mailed me yesterday about a new release date for the upcoming anthology I’m part of titled, Daddy Knows Best. The actual release date is July 10, 2013, and I’ll be posting more about that in the future. But I wanted to post a free excerpt today for anyone who might be interested in reading something different over the weekend.

The title of my story is Ring My Bells, and it’s never been published anywhere before…even though a hard copy version had been sitting in my files for fifteen years. This is the raw unedited version, and I did have to censor a few things because this blog is rated PG. But nothing more than a line or two, and the set-up to the storyline begins here.

About a year ago the telephone wasn’t working. No dial tone at all; just a soft beep sound when I pressed the talk button, and the small screen lighting up pale green for a couple of seconds. There had been severe thunderstorms the night before, but the electricity hadn’t gone out and there didn’t seem to be any wires down on the property.  Maybe it just had to be re-set, I thought. Unplug the cord and plug it back in a half hour later. I remembered that had happened once before, after I’d left the phone off the hook for a while.

            But after leaving it unplugged for a half hour it still wasn’t working when I re-set it. So with the telephone in my hand, I went down to the basement to see if everything was connected correctly. Attached to wooden beams, I found red, blue, white and black wires all screwed tightly to where they should be screwed. Everything seemed fine. And then I noticed a phone line going to the burglar alarm system, with phone jack at the base of a one square foot, locked metal box. I hesitantly unplugged the phone cord from the alarm box (I hate to touch things I don’t understand), pushed the talk button on the phone and I immediately had a dial tone. The problem, evidently, was with the alarm system; not the telephone.

            It only took one phone call to the alarm company for them to tell me they knew the problem well and they’d send someone out to fix it that day. A surge protector, so they said, had burned out during the severe thunderstorms. Not a big deal was how they’d put it, and as long as I didn’t plug the phone back into the alarm it would work perfectly normal. The same thing had happened to several other homes in my area, so they’d said.

            This all happened very early in the morning, before I’d had time for my ritual workout routine. Though I work at home for the most part, I’m usually up at five thirty or six every day so I can cram an hour workout into the day with weights and cardio. I’m usually dressed, showered and shaved by eight and seated in front of the computer no later than eight-thirty. I’d assumed the alarm guy wouldn’t show up until sometime that afternoon; they usually make you wait all day. So I ran a half hour on the treadmill and then did another half hour with free weights. This routine was strenuous, and often dull; but the workouts kept my waist at size thirty, my chest popping at forty-two inches and my ass hard and firm. The small of my back, which is deeply curved (more so when I arch my back on purpose), is what guys always said they liked most about my body. At twenty-five years old, I like to think that what I do now as exercise will benefit me in the future when things begin change.  

            But that’s also the ironic part about me. I’m usually more attracted to men with silver in their hair, a few lines on their faces, and mature looks. I’ve been known to go weak in the knees for men who have slight middle age paunches. I think men reach their sexiest point around age forty and it keeps getting better as they approach their late fifties. Why I once jumped in between a couple of men in their sixties just to see what it would be like for both of them to tackle me.

            I’m not sure why, but if there is a good looking guy in his twenties or thirties in the room, and a good looking guy in his forties or fifties in the same room, I go out of my way to make eye contact with the older instead of the younger. And it’s always been that way, ever since I was three years old and I used to sit on Uncle Joe’s lap. He would bounce me up and down, thinking nothing of it. And I would get a thrill deep in my body I couldn’t explain at the time. When I kissed him hello or good-bye, I made sure I rubbed my cheek against his rough beard on purpose.

            In any event, somewhere between seven-thirty and eight that morning, as I was stepping out of the shower, the doorbell rang. Knowing it had to be the alarm guy, and wanting to have the problem fixed, I haphazardly dried myself off, pulled on a pair of jeans and ran to answer the door in my bare feet. As I recall, they were faded, loose fitting jeans, which hung slightly below my waistline. I didn’t think twice about not wearing a shirt or having wet hair. It wasn’t a fashion show and I didn’t really give a damn how I looked. At least not until I opened the door and noticed the expression of shock on the repair man’s face, as I stood there half nude, hair still dripping wet, without a care in the world. 

            “I’m here to replace the surge protector,” he said.  But he couldn’t look me in the eye. He did look at my face for a moment, and then his brown eyes quickly examined my exposed torso, before they dropped to the floor. He looked to be about forty-five (maybe a year or two younger), he stood about five feet nine inches tall, and he was bulky and stocky, with a slight paunch. But by no means fat or what I would consider out of shape. And though his head was shaved clean, he had a perfectly trimmed goatee that framed full lips, with just the right amount of silver specks mixed with dark brown. And to top all this off, he wore white V-neck tee-shirt and dark jeans that fastened below his waist in a loose casual way. I glanced at his thick, tan leather tool belt that appeared heavy and awkward and took a quick breath. And when I glanced at a small, gunmetal tool case in his right hand I had to focus on not sighing aloud.

            “Sorry,” I said, with the most innocent voice I could find, wishing I’d at least combed my hair. “I thought you’d be here later in the day. I just got out of the shower and I thought you were someone else.”  The guy seemed decent. He just smiled. I had trouble looking into his eyes for fear he would read my mind and see how I felt about him. 

            He told me he’d been in the neighborhood when I’d called the office, and that he never was quite sure of the exact time he’d arrive for a service call.  He said, “It’s pretty much hit or miss, buddy, depending on how much work has to be done.”

Questionable Advice Literary Agents Gave to New Adult Author Colleen Hoover

In a post I wrote yesterday about New Adult fiction, I linked to an article where they mentioned self-published New Adult author, Colleen Hoover, where literary agents gave her questionable advice even after her book had come out and hit the NYT bestseller list.

I found it interesting that Colleen Hoover was told by literary agents that she had to change the novel from the first person to the third person…for my own personal reasons.

“I did try to query agents and I got a lot of rejection letters and about how I should change it to third person and take out the poetry,” Hoover said. “The book had already come out and I was getting rejection letters after it hit the New York Times.”

That’s right. The New York Times. Hoover bypassed publishers and literary agents and made it onto the acclaimed bestseller list five months after it was a Christmas present to her mother. Hoover cleverly gave away free copies of “Slammed” to key influencers and word of mouth ricocheted around the Internet.

I can back this up from my own personal experiences. Although I don’t have any published novels out in the first person, I did once try to query agents with a novel written in the first person and I received the same exact advice from them. That novel is in my files and hasn’t seen light in years. In fact, one of the reasons why I don’t have any published novels out in the first person to date is because of that advice. I eventually plan to change this.

The short stories I have out written in the first person have always been bestsellers in their genre. In most cases they’ve sold more copies than stories I’ve written in the third person. And I’ve received more reader feedback from them. To be honest, I prefer writing in the third person because it’s a comfort zone for me, and I think I get more freedom with my characters. But I do plan to write a novel in the first person very soon just to see how it works for me. When I tell you that I truly feared writing anything in the first person for years because of this advice I’d received from agents I’m not exaggerating. Unfortunately, writers take this seriously.

To take this to another level, I’ve seen and read other recent books written in the first person that have surprised everyone and become huge bestsellers. And one of the reasons I was so surprised these books became bestsellers is because of that old advice I’d received from Literary Agents about not writing in the first person. I literally read excerpts thinking, “Wow. How could this be? He wrote this in the first person.”

I don’t have a huge point with this post other than this: take all advice you get from anyone and then listen to your heart. Colleen Hoover did that and she proved that all the advice she received was questionable advice.

Although I’m pro-agent, and I believe authors need good agents, I’m not a fan of many of the things associated with the query system as we’ve always known it. And agents handing out this kind of advice to new writers is one of them. This may have worked ten years ago when we depended on the specific tastes of literary agents for our published books, but it’s becoming more evident each day (with proof) this same advice isn’t working anymore.

And this isn’t the only example of where you’re going to get bad advice as an author. I’m not singling out agents in this post by any means. I have a future post about something that happened to me with an editor that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. It deals with how one single editor can rip the emotion from the most intense scene in a book. And how I let the editor do it because I wanted to avoid confrontation. I still regret this. The reason I’ve waited to post about this is because I wanted to be far removed enough from the topic to keep my own emotions separate.

Do what you think is best for you, and for your readers. They are the only ones that matter.

Some Positive Agent News; Internet Tax; Largest Human Penis

Since there have been so many negative things going around the Interwebs lately about literary agents, I figured that since I really am, and always have been, pro-agent I’d look for some positive things to post for a change. We need agents, good agents who are moving forward with the times, now more than ever before. And while I don’t actually have an agent in a literal sense, I do know a few, I am close to them, and I value their advice on the rare occasions that I shamelessly hock them for advice.

Here’s an excellent post from the Dystel & Goderich Agent Blog about how they look at self-publishing, and how they work with their clients who are indie publishers. I have read about what they’ve been doing in the past, I’ve been following their blog since it started, and this recent post made me feel as if they are thinking realistically about the changes in publishing.

We’ve learned a tremendous amount from these authors about how to successfully self-publish and these lessons have direct and significant application to traditional publishing. The smarter houses have committed to a partnership with us and our clients, showing tremendous vision and flexibility in the way they have modified their systems to accommodate the special needs of people who can sell oodles of books on their own, thank you very much.

Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Grand Central, and PenguinUSA have all been aggressive in offering huge deals that are enticing to our authors not just because of the money involved but because of their afore-mentioned flexibility in terms of publishing schedules, contractual terms (including options and non-compete clauses), marketing and promotion, and their genuine desire to help grow these writers’ careers. And, here’s where the partnership aspect is important.

This next link has nothing to do with self-publishing, but I’ve been working with Lori Perkins in an author/editor relationship for a long time now and I’ve come to respect her as a publishing professional. In fact, she’s the one who helped choose a lot of the titles by my published romances with RR. I’ve always considered her the consummate editor. And, she’s a very nice person, too. But she’s also a literary agent who has been around for a very long time. Though I’ve never worked with her as a client, I have been following her agent blog for probably about seven years now. And I recently read where she landed a nice deal for someone in the adult entertainment industry.

As many of you know, I’ve been working with Jenna Jameson for about a decade. Getting HOW TO MAKE LOVE LIKE A PORN STAR on the NY Times best-seller list in 2004 was one of the high points of my agent career, an I am hoping we are going to do it again with Jenna’s first novel, SUGAR, an erotic romance she is co-authoring with romance maven Hope Tarr.

Again, this next link is unrelated to self-publishing, but I often go to this agent’s web site to find books I might like to read. As far as agent web sites go, this agency has nailed it with regard to showcasing their clients published books. I found one of my favorite YA authors there, Michael Northrope, and I’m constantly going back, odd as that sounds, to find more books I might want to read. I wish all agent web sites were designed like this. It would make book shopping/vetting so much easier.

You can get there from here. The agency is Harvey Klinger, Inc. and the homepage focuses on book covers.

If you look around, and you pay attention, you’ll find many literary agencies that offer far more positive things than negative. They are working with authors to help move forward in changing times, and I would imagine there are going to be a few screw ups along the way. And I thought it was worth mentioning a few of the positive things agents are doing now, to off-set the negative things we’ve been seeing all month. The fact remains that a good literary agent is one of the most important people to an author’s career.

Internet Tax

The US senate, bless their dear little souls, have passed a bill to tax Internet sales. As if things aren’t hard enough on the US consumer with gas prices, school loans, and interest rates, they want to drain a little more from us. Pardon my sarcasm, but I have little faith in any politicians these days.

Opponents say the bill amounts to a multibillion-dollar tax hike on American consumers. The National Taxpayers Union set up a petition to Congress in March that said the tax was “really just a way to unleash state tax collectors on the Internet,” and 15 conservative groups also sent a letter to members of Congress saying an Internet tax law is is “bad news for conservative principles and the cause of limited government.”

I’ve been in the market for an iPad mini for a while now. So I placed my order this week to avoid paying tax in the future. It looks as if this is going to happen, and frankly I’m not at all surprised.

Largest Human Penis

This isn’t something that’s going to change the world, but when I saw it on twitter this week I made a note to post a link about it. Frankly, I don’t know if it’s possible to measure the longest penis in the world because I would imagine the guy with the biggest one isn’t going to stand up and scream about it. For all we know, it could be the man we least expect. When I was single I was stunned on more than one occasion. And once, when I was on the beach in P’town, I saw a guy walking nude through the dunes that left me speechless, and that doesn’t happen often. But never the less, this is the largest one on record.

Jonah Falcon is known the world over for having the worlds largest human penis, measuring in at 13.5 inches in length. He isn’t a porn star,and doesn’t aspire to be one. In-fact Jonahs dream is to become an actor in major motion pictures, not low budget porno films. Interesting fact about Jonah, he was “discovered” after being approached by security in the airport. They feared he was carrying a bomb in his pants.

That made the evening news, literally, but Jonah didn’t become world famous until he was featured on the HBO Special: Private Dicks: Men Exposed. He was asked about the experience, and is quoted as saying;

“I went to their office in bike shorts with my c–k wrapped around the side of my leg,”

You can read more here, where they also mention the world’s smallest penis.