publishing blogs

Found a Great Blog: "Frost Lord" by TD McFrost


Those who follow me know how I get when I find a new blog I like. It happened late last night while I was web surfing with my tablet. The minute I read one post, and then checked out the blog links, I knew I’d wind up linking to this guy just by checking out the smart tasteful blogs he reads. (You can tell a lot about a person by the blogs he/she reads ­čÖé

I also like to cover a lot of territory here on this blog. I shy away from things too political and try to keep my posts objective. One of the areas I like to cover is all things publishing related. His blog is, indeed, publishing related. And scoping out fresh, young talented authors like this guy is probably one of the most important publishing related topics I can think of.

T.D. McFrost’s blog, Frost Lord, is not only well written, it’s done with a nice sense of humor. The “voice” is excellent. You can get there from here and check it out yourselves to see what I mean. I’m linking on my sidebar right now. I don’t see that many blogs that make me want to read more all that often, and when I do I zoom in on them as fast as I can.

Here’s his profile, “Secret Identity,” taken verbatim from the blog, so you can see what I’m talking about regarding his sense of humor.

Hi, my name is Tyson Devon McFrost but you may call me Frost Lord. ^_^

I’m 22 years old, I live under the sink and I’m a superhero. Now I know some of you are wondering “Hey, what’s this superhero doing blogging when he should be saving the world?” Well, the thing is: I’m lazy. And it’s not my mom’s fault (’cause the lord knows she sure tried), it’s just that there’s so much “human” stuff to do.

I mean, my goodness, where do I begin?

I love surfing huge, gnarly waves; I love taking my bike up on mountain trails; I love archery (I’m quite good); I love fried chicken, gravy and mashed potatoes; I love girls with a sense of humor, glasses, intelligence and six toes; I love animals, especially dogs, lions, tigers snakes, kinkajous, ferrets and mice; I love my mom, my sisters and my abs; but above all else I lurveeeee VIDEO GAMES!

I’m a nerd, really–a supernerd!–and that’s just how I like it.

There are a lot of things about me that will surprise you. One of the more thrilling details is the fact that I knew Rihanna. Yes, I’m talking about the superstar singer with red hair. We were friends once, but I was foolish enough to mess that up when I pushed her into a river and caused her to bruise her elbows. She taddled, my mom whopped me and we never spoke again.

Ah yes, fond memories they were…

Why Is the Subject of Sex Always Ignored on Most Publishing Blogs?

I’m not talking about the kind of sex in the books I write. Although I purposely keep this blog G-rated, I write erotic romances that would never cross into the mainstream. And, I make no apologies to anyone for what I write. Frankly, I think people like reading about sex in novels, and as long as it’s done with discretion (and sometimes a sense of humor)there’s nothing wrong with adults who read sexy novels.

Sex is part of life. A huge part of life. It’s how we all got here and it’s something most of us think about a lot during the course of a day. As a matter of fact I once read that the two things people lie about the most are sex and money.

And yet in all the years I’ve been reading publishing blogs I’ve rarely ever seen sex mentioned in blog posts that are written by literary agents and editors. And when it is mentioned it is either laughed at, with that snide funny-ha-ha nervous school girl laugh, or it’s dismissed as insignificant. Hell, I posted the other day about a book reviewer who sneered and actually crossed her legs reading one sex scene…a sex scene that’s in a bestselling romance book out right now.

I’ve seen literary agents post about queries and the query system with the kind of passion most normal people in the world save for sex. I’ve seen publishing blog posts where sexy book covers are trashed, on purpose, as if there’s something wrong with good looking people showing off their bodies. I even read a blog post once where the blogger, a literary agent who reps authors without impressive sales rankings, not only made a point of saying he wasn’t interested in erotic novels but that he despised them.

You have wonder about this thought process in a general sense. Millions of good, wonderful people out there are buying and reading erotic romances and novels across the board and yet you’ll only see a rare few in the mainstream, gatekeeping sector of publishing industry discussing it openly. And when they do, many times they are laughing at it. It reminds me of the politicians we read about who are condeming sex all the time and then we find them sneaking around in public bathrooms or hiring hookers. These publishing bloggers, literary agents included, have to be getting it somewhere…at least I would hope they are.

There are plenty of blog posts written about YA novels, MG novels, and children’s books. So many I could gag sometimes. I see them all the time, and frankly they put me to sleep. I think they put most people to sleep, but no one ever comes right out and says this openly.

I’ve read sexy scenes written in mainstream literary novels. Jonathan Franzen wrote quite a few in his latest book, and so did John Irving. They both did it well and their books sold well. And yet I’ll go to an agent or editor web site or blog and I’ll see the same old cheesy blogs posts being recycled about those hideous query letters and how important it is to spell the agent’s name right.

Personally, I think if these bloggers in publishing concentrated on human sexuality with regard to fiction a little more, in a tasteful, discreet way (at the very least,) we’d all be a lot better off for it. And I think the bloggers would, too. You’d see a lot less complaints about query letters and a lot more blog posts about how much fun life can be sometimes. You’d also see a lot less cheese being handed out to people interested in getting valid information about the publishing industry. There’s a reason why Jackie Collins sold millions of books and Betty Jean Primrose of the ACME Literary Agency only sold a couple of hundred.

And although I often think there are some in the publishing world who would like to see sex completely disappear from the universe, I doubt this is going to happen any time soon.

Are You Getting Conflicting Advice From Publishing Blogs?

I’d like to point out a few examples of conflicting advice new writers often see on publishing blogs. And I’m including my own blog in this as well. I just post what I know, not what everyone knows.

It’s not that anyone is giving out bad advice on a blog. At least I hope not. Most think they are giving out great advice.

But there are, especially in publishing, always going to be conflicting opinions. And no matter how much you read, there’s always going to be someone with a different opinion who thinks they are 100% completely correct…and they never back down (smile).

This past week I wrote a post about John Irving, with an excerpt from his novel, LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER, about “write what you know.” In the novel, the main character, Danny Angel, is a writer and the main character is not fond of Hemingway or the theory of “write what you know.” Here’s the excerpt again in case you don’t feel like clicking the link.

This kind of question drove Danny Angel crazy, but he expected too much from journalists; most of them lacked the imagination to believe that anything credible in a novel had been “wholly imagined.” And those former journalists who later turned to writing fiction subscribed to that tiresome Hemingway dictum of writing about what you know. What bullshit was this? Novels should be about people you know? How many boring but deadeningly realistic novels can be attributed to this lame and utterly uninspired advice?

And in this blog post, written by literary agent, Rachelle Gardner, I read about the six things writers can learn from Hemingway.

Of course Ms. Gardner is right. There are many things writers can learn from Hemingway. Just as there are many things that can be argued about Hemingway’s style and technique. There’s no clear cut, definite right or wrong here.

Then I read another publishing blog this morning where an ex-literary agent is giving advice about how having the wrong literary agent can be worse than having no agent at all. And the post ends with a line that suggests writers only get one chance with one manuscript.

I do agree that an agent client relationship should be built on trust and respect. And there are some questionable agents out there. The ex-agent isn’t totally wrong by posting about this.

But WTF?

You don’t get just one chance. As authors the most wonderful thing about publishing is that you can have many chances, many times. I know this from my own personal experience and I know this from a good friend who has been a literary agent for over thirty years now. Unfortunately, my friend doesn’t blog. I wish he would. But it’s not his thing…because he doesn’t have to promote himself anymore.

The moral of today’s post is this: please take all the advice handed out on publishing blogs as lightly as you can. No one knows everything, no matter how great they sound. And, from what I’ve seen so far, the bloggers who seem to think they do know it all, know the least.

Blogging is a form of social media, and most bloggers use blogging as a means to promote themselves in one way or another (trust me, none do it out of the goodness of their hearts). I do promote here all the time, admittedly, with announcements about my books and reviews for my books. It’s what I’m supposed to do as an author.

But I also try to balance my posts with information that isn’t related to my books or my publishers. And I never, never, claim to know it all when it comes to publishing. And that’s because as an author I care about other authors. And when I see them getting bad advice, it galls me.

There are no set rules in publishing.

People are going to disagree all the time.

Most of all…you never get only one chance as a writer…NEVER. Unless, of course, you read a silly blog post, written by a self-promotion monger, who leads you to believe you only get one chance at having your book published. And I’d hate to see this happen to anyone. Because what you believe in your heart is usually the way things will turn out in the end.