I've had the pleasure of meeting several of my competitors over the last couple years. While we all have our own personalities, we do have several things in common. Near the top of that list is a dearth of time. This is true of those of us building our lists, and those who have lists that make their competitors salivate. One of the things that I'll take the opportunity to declare a universal truth of agents is that we tend to ask questions with a precision a neurosurgeon would appreciate. We know exactly what info we are looking for. We want it in a specific order if at all possible, and broken up into orderly clusters that can let us apply that information with the maximum effect later. So when we ask a question, please answer the question we do ask, not the question you wish we'd asked, or the question you think we should have asked, or ala most politicians and public relations talking heads the question you wanted us to ask.

The reasons for this are legion, the most salient are stated above. But they are (at least for me) not the only reasons we do this. For me, and I suspect most agents one of the things taken into consideration when we read enough of a submission and its cover letter is how much we want to work with the person who created the title. I've gotten no few submissions since I started the agency from people who wrote at a publishable level (or very close to it) but who were in the precise technical terms I learned as a psychology student bug-fuck-nuts and who would have sucked up more of my energy than I care to devote to any one person. Indeed, It would be unfair of me to other clients to take on these people who would take my time and energy away from existing and future clients who had entrusted their career to me.

Yesterday was fun, and all the set work was done by two so I relaxed a bit more the rest of the day. The morning panel The Agent Behind the Curtain was a bit more general than I expected, but probably what the audience needed. Joshua Bilmes did a fantastic job moderating, Eleanor Wood contributed in that cool reasoned way she does. Lucienne Diver was her usual strong business woman self. And Kristen Nelson was the only one i hadn't met before, she was sharp and well focused.

Next I had the signing turned pitch session. This was in the dealers room, thankfully far enough away from most things that I could here the people who were talking to me. The dealers room is large and I spent half an hour talking to Howard and Sandra Taylor. I ran into Jeremy from Night Shade and talked to him for a while.

So aside from Schlock Mercenary I also noticed the folks from Girl Genius, and a demo station for the various versions of Soul Caliber 4, featuring Star Wars characters like Darth Vader and Yoda.

Today the only real plans are a brunch with the conchair of Lunacon to beat him into persuade him of a few things I'd like and give him a bit more background on some of the folks who I know want to be there or are going to be there.

After that is a late lunch with [personal profile] canarynoir and then visiting folks at one or two of the parties.

For those keeping track; I talked to Steve Stirling, Jay Lake, Peter Heck, Ken Shoels, and a half dozen others i should remember but don't.

Depending on mood and energy, i may send out a few more submissions later this afternoon.
I actually managed to leave my house a bit early today. Which is good, otherwise i would have ended up dithering around and packing another ten pounds of stuff into my bags. Not stuff i needed, but merely stuff I saw and couldn't resist the challenge of trying to fit it into my bag. My drive down to the shuttle was fine. I got there early, the shuttle was clean, nearly empty and on time. I got to the airport and despite hellalot of people in front of me (okay, about 15) i was seated in Legal Seafoods at Terminal C 13 minutes after stepping uff the shuttle. This is several kinds of marvel at Logan. Normally it takes people twenty minutest to understand they do need their ID, and it is helpful to remember what city they are flying to. I adore competent travelers!.

I ate. for the first time in about 22 hours and the food was excellent even for Legal Seafoods. I saw hellalong lines at the check point. Marvel of marvels, it took less than 15 minutes to go from back of the line to shoes back on. I adore competent travelers!.I get to my terminal and there is something new. Something glorious and new. Something glorious and powerful and new. I speak of course of the power outlets installed int he new bench seats that not only don't have stains and rips, have power outlets..I nearly leaped for joy. Instead, i sat down,. plugged my laptop in, hit the power button and heard The Call.

Yes, the call telling me my flights gate had been changed. I was ok with this. Really. Then I got to that gate, where there were also clean, unripped, powered chairs and found out sorry no connection for you ! Yep, the 13 minutes someone had booked between my landing in JFK and leaving for Denver wasn't gonna work with the delay of the incoming flight. The nice, nice man offered me a direct flight. I said 'Sure, you're the best!' and nearly did a happy dance.Then he even called and got my bags moved. If he'd been a woman i would have proposed. Then he told me the bad news.My  shiny direct flight doesn't leave until about three hours after the flght i was supposed to be on. Oddly, this new flight landed only about 35 minutes after the flight i should have been on. I went meh and trudged off to the bar. Here, my challenge is to remain sober enough over the next couple hours to be allowed to board my flight.

Sadly it is way to lound to do slush or anything productive.
Yes, life has left me busy enough to nearly forget the contest.

I will announce the winner in this post. I promise. But first:

My panel schedule for WorldCon;

Worldcon )

Standard plea to Congoers;

If you see me wandering around at a time I'm supposed to be at a panel please point me in the right direction. I'm very good at losing track of time at cons.


I need three for horrible duties via LJ during Worldcon.
Please comment, and I'll ask you what I want via either the LJ message service or one of the IM platforms.

And the winner is....

Well first i really need to thank everyone who participated because these were just hilarious to read. The LOLCATZ one was fun, the sheer inanity of quite a few, and the good fun of them all. The winner is going to the one that combined uselessness of actual text, psychopathy, criminality, and pure iron plated resistance to good sense the best, all without showing an overall deficit of writing skill. The author of the gem below should contact me via email soon so I can get their prize shipped. My comments are between the "[" and "]".
Contest )

I think I'll have to do this contest again sometime not so soon.

onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jul. 19th, 2008 12:31 am)
I'm continually bemused by the amount of people who friend me and actually stick around. I see comments from people who I don't know, and who haven't commented before or in a long time and it kicks the curiosity up another notch.

So why are you here? Almost everyone has been here a month or more, and I'm kinda curious as to how you got here and what you find among my blitherings interesting enough to keep you waylaying electrons to bring you my mutterings.

Really, its true. One of the things many, many writers don't grok about the business is that no agent, editor, or publisher that is not going to have you as the primary source of cash for a book is looking for a reason to publish your book. One more time. I am not,  neither are Night Shade, Baen, Tor, Ace, Harper Collins, Pyr or any other publisher worth a damn does not want a reason to get your book published. Every single agent, editor, and bean counter is looking for a reason not to publish your book. One of the things everyone is looking for is someone who will not be a nightmare to work with. By this I mean that everyone wants to work with the clue enabled. Yes this is an unfairly high standard since most of us don't hold elected officials to this same standard. None of us mind if you are a little or even a lot ah, blessed by unique thought patterns and mental constructs. We just don't want to see them anywhere except in your book. So please for the love of booze and good books, keep your crazy at home and don't send it out with our manuscript. Doing your cover letter in the fictional language of your world is not helpful, even if you provide a dictionary for easy translation. A query letter that is all done up with email stationary that moves and sparkle with with lavender font over a lilac background is a bit unappealing as well. And yes, obvious as it seems as a way to give your prospective agent or editor a leg up on getting to know your world if your query letter is done in character it will probably earn a brisk dismissal.

Talk of sex, stereotypes, and worse truth below.

Feel free to explain this one to me. I'm dying to hear it.

* Anyone who knows the original quote and quoted person please let me know.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Apr. 27th, 2008 08:42 pm)
Well, for another year of excellent con is over. Tear down is done, and the Dead Dog has been doused with booze and food. I had two panels this morning, the second half of Allen Wold's writing workshop which was fun, but i think we'd scared off a couple of the participants. After that was the "How to Critique and be Critiqued" panel. I got to moderate (silly con com) and the poor panelists who had me inflicted on them were Valerie Griswold-Ford, Charles
Gannon, and the amazing Catherine Asaro. This panel to me was very interesting, and we could have gone on for another hour or two easily, between war stories of crit's gone bad, and what to look for in critiques we only just left before the next panel started throwing rocks at as.

I had a wonderful time at Ravencon, per usual, and want to thank all of the con com, the guests, and the attendees.

Thank you.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Apr. 24th, 2008 10:20 pm)
I'm pretty sure I mentioned once or twice that I'd be at Ravencon this weekend. I know it says so on my website. Now I just wish real life hadn't gotten in the way of getting ready for the con until tonight.

A well...

I'll be looking at some of the slush this weekend as well. Anyone who submitted to the correct inbox for Winter Workout who has not received a final response yet should drop me a message via the contact form on my website.
Super secret subtle hint below:

For those who have received their reply, the shorter and more positive it was the more i liked it. If i said something about there being a better place to start the book, I may have really liked it if that was the largest comment on it.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Feb. 6th, 2008 10:31 pm)
Wow! What a response, it looks like there's about a twenty five percent increase over last year. And quality wise, i think the percent that made it past chapter one is almost absurdly high. Right now, I'm probably going to do the one that's open and then call it a day. Yes I know I'm a slacker, only about twenty six so far since midnight. Unfortunately, I'm starting to get incoherent even for me. At this point I'm too tired to give more than one or two more a fair read.

One the subject of submissions that have made it past one chapter, I would prefer if you each gave me forty five days from the day you receive notice to either offer my services or give a rejection from something past the first chapter.

And while i make no money for saying it: Svedka vodka is nice.

I should get to at least the first chapter of everyone I haven't at least done the first chapter for tomorrow or Friday the latest. After everyone's first chapter has been read I will start those that have been held back in earnest. Please note that this applies to the submissions sent to the WW@onyxhawke.com email address and not to the ones sent to the regular box, those i should be reading again in two weeks or so.
Well, my slushing muscles are in good shape, I'm working at something comfortably over one sub per hour. So far there's been nothing wretched, and nothing that made me struggle to finish the chapter. When I get a chance tomorrow or so I'll probably go over any common issues with the submissions.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Feb. 5th, 2008 08:19 pm)
We are now under four hours from when I start reading. The turnout is looking like it will be even better than last year. Better still it looks like a better mix of genres as well. I'm well stocked with submissions, coke, vodka, mixers, and and junk food. There's chicken in the fridge, and chili in the crockpot.

So, since i'm feeling obscenely generous, an amazing thing given that I'm still sober...for anyone who has submitted, who couldn't decide what to send. Go ahead, send a second if you have it, but it may not be in the same world and must also follow all guidelines.
Some of you might remember that I had decided to do this, and then had to put it off back in December. Well, the new date is set, and that date is February 6th.

How it works:
Everyone who sends me a science fiction, fantasy, or urban fantasy novel between 10pm ET on February 4th, and 8am ET on February 6th will get at least one full chapter (up to fifty pages) read and critiqued by me. Many, will get theirs back the same day. To do this I will be reading for twenty four straight hours. My goal is to pass the mark i made last year which was 19 first chapters and critiques. To do this, if I am still reading after one chapter or fifty pages I will send the writer an email that says "Still Reading after one." or something similar.

Last time i picked up two clients out of this, and have one more resubmission in my inbox waiting to be read.

Writers should note that I use the same four part critique form for everyone. The sections are: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Rest.

Everyone should add my domain to their spam filters immediately. When you submit you will get an auto-response telling you it has been received. Anyone who does not follow the submission guidelines on my website will be rejected without being read. www.Onyxhawke.com

If i get the same size response or larger as last year, I will not get to everyone on that Wednesday. I will still read everything. Everyone who has submitted things to the regular submission inbox will be read between now and 2/6. My replies may start very soon after midnight as I read and type pretty quickly.

Most importantly: go spread the word, the more submissions i get, the happier I'll be.

Edit: the email address for submissions for the Winter Workout is: ww@Onyxhawke.com
Edit2: To all questions that equate to 'do you really mean X?" the answer is yes.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jan. 20th, 2008 06:25 pm)
Fun day today. I had my two panels, the first of which was with GoH Laura Gilman and others. We discussed character creation. Mostly the panel all agreed on the need to make the characters consistent, and true to them selves and avoid painting yourself into a corner. We covered Mary Sue's, cardboard characters, and research and the need to make the each character an individual distinct. This led into a few minutes on the need to make the characters distinct and not entirely nuts. That meaning that if you arrive at a place in your book and realize your main characters are House and Monk you've probably done something wrong.

The second panel was on the Appeal of Evil Barry Longyear and two others who's names elude the protoplasm and goo in which my hair is rooted managed to entertain and inform the crowd while i tossed out bad jokes. This was a fun panel with a bit more audience interaction than most, i think we started taking questions and comments after only about twenty minutes.

Then there was the all important lunch. The hotel had another one of its buffets. The selection was sorta subprime, but the quality was good. Mr Shirt and i discussed half a hundred thousand things over the course of an hour or two around three or so.

After one of my panels someone asked me about what they should do to write more. The short, short answer was use the A.I.C, method. The short answer was write more, and the long answer (for me) was; if you don't write it no one else will so sit down and write it.

For Laura:

Pats Win!! Pats Win!! Pats Win!! :-P
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Jan. 17th, 2008 10:13 pm)
I think i forgot to mention that i was going to Arisia in Boston (well technically Cambridge), this weekend. I'll be on panels Sunday, I may even be able to find the emails telling me which ones...

And the Slush has been slashed to no more than about three days work. I suspect at this point I won't reset the date for the Winter Workout until early February.

Anyone who wants to talk to be at Arisia, let me know ASAP, i already have my lunch Saturday taken, and a floating meeting with a good friend or two.The contact form on my website dumps to my Blackberry. The phone number is also my Blackberry, feel free to call.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Oct. 30th, 2007 04:09 pm)
Anyone who wants or needs to make an appointment to see, pitch a book, pick my brain or get me liquored up can contact me either via the contact form on my website, or calling me. Appointments are not needed, they just give you priority. Feel free to walk up and say "Hi, i'd like to talk to you about (insert topic here).", the odds of me saying no are rather low, unless we're related then the answer is hell no. 
Among the half a trillion things that bemuse me about writing, is the "chapter quote". To me, it seems like entirely more work than is needed. To me, a non writer, the extra work spent putting them together could be better spent working on the text. Also there is the fact that for consistencies sake, once you have them, you'll probably be expected to continue them. Given the penchant publishers, and to some extent the public have for never ending series this could be ten to twelve books. If you have a slim twenty chapters per book, multiplied by twelve books, that is a whole lot of time.

Then too, there is the problem of doing it right. I have almost the same grievances with chapter quotes as i do with prologues. Either A) they are not done right, either spoiling the entire book and or chapter, or B) they are totally opaque and just distract the reader and make them think the are missing something that just isn't there.

This hopeless ramble was spurred by nothing in particular...
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Sep. 12th, 2007 02:53 pm)
I've got my room booked for RavenCon!

April 25-27, Richmond, Va

Be there or be forgotten.
onyxhawke: (Default)
( Aug. 6th, 2007 06:03 pm)
Two parts:


While i know several of you from elsewhere on the Web, I'm not familiar with all of you. If you'd like please introduce yourself and tell me why you read my LJ. Real names not required.


Anyone got a question for me? Some questions might not be answered, others might not be answered in a way you'd want...


onyxhawke: (Default)


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