Tuesday, August 25, 2015

It's not me, it's you.

Every person's perspective is subjective.

If you're looking for a job, trying to get a book published, trying to get into acting ... everything comes with rejection based on these subjective perspectives. Any manager or editor or director already has in their head what they want. The only problem is ... you have no clue what that is.

Rejection is the poster child for our economy.

It's hard not to think "no one will ever hire me," or "my books must really suck," etc. But, instead of bringing yourself down -- just pull yourself up by the bootstraps, leave the pity party you just began attending ... and realize it has nothing to do with you.


None of your rejections have anything to do with you. Now, you could have poor presentations, poor skills... But if this is your passion, you will find a way to keep getting better and better. You will make those connections you need. And yet, you will be rejected.

It's about competing with hundreds of other people for one job, one book contract, one teaching position, etc. It's about miraculously hitting the right chord on a stranger's perspective. Someone you don't know and have never met.

Instead of taking the loss so hard, just think to yourself, "It's not me. It's you." 

Monday, July 20, 2015

What you need to know before you publish

I've been in the publishing industry for a long time, and have always known that authors are more likely to get picked up by agents if the work is pristine. Limited errors. I recommend taking it a step further: buy the current edition of the Chicago Manual of Style book.

This book is a wealth of information to any writer. Not only does it give you ridiculously detailed information on how to prep your book for publication, but it also tells you what editors and publishers are looking to do with your book.

Not only could you format your book correctly, but you could focus on how to edit it correctly. The less work editors have to do, the more likely your book will be picked up.

 This doesn't mean that you perfectly formatted, edited book will get picked up immediately. Books are completely subjective. What interests you will not interest every editor.

If you are wanting to self-publish, this is the book for you. Follow alllllll these guidelines. Not only does it make your book more professional, but it can help sales. Why? You won't look "self-published." You still could -- if you have your high school nephew create your book cover in Photoshop. So, follow the manual and put some good money into an cover artist with a respectable client list.

For those wanting to self-publish, I highly recommend taking a course with Carla King. She holds a class called "Self-publishing Bootcamp." This will be well worth your money. Also, the San Francisco writers conference has the CEOs of the self-publishing industries, like Smashwords or Bookbaby, come and give lectures. They also give tips, tricks and advice.

This book talks about a lot of legal aspects such as ISBNs, rights, permissions and copyright administration. All of these are very important to know for an aspiring author. Know what you'll be getting yourself into. This is also a goldmine beginning for those wanting to support their own writing careers through self-publishing only. Regarding legalities -- always get a lawyer and research, research, research.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How I made a business contract in one hour

I recently joined the executive team for Ian Bright Photography. [This company specializes in wedding photography (classic to extreme weddings), portraiture, pets, etc.] In doing so, the owner asked me to create new forms to use in his practice: model releases, wedding contracts, and more.

While I feel I could come up with a very professional, practically lawyer-written form, I went the safe route and researched different releases and contracts. While the legal jargon is important to keep you safe, there are TONS of lessons that other people in your field have learned ... most likely the hard way ... and now include them in their contracts.

Research enables you to learn from the mistakes of others that ventured before you. Learn from them, add them to your contract if you feel it fits your needs. There is no such thing as plagiarism in contracts. If you find contracts you like, it's OK to take the elements you need to protect yourself.

There are even contracts/releases that people in your field may have had a lawyer look at. Sometimes lawyers (that work in your field) give advice on the exact wording of certain elements you must have.

In essence, what I created is a melting pot of lessons learned from past photographers, lawyers who've had to defend photographers, and the mix of Ian Bright Photography's needs.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Your place in a literary agents inbox

Literary agents receive hundreds, if not thousands, of queries per month. Right there -- you're one of ... countless.

There's way more to agenting than finding new clients. Agents have to pitch the manuscript to editors, just like you have to pitch to agents. Among other things, agents are your advocate from start to finish. From conception to paying you your royalties (publishers will send your royalty portion to the agent, who then sends you your cut). It's quite overwhelming how much work literary agents do and sad at how little credit they get.

This is also why agents can only take on a certain number of clients -- because each one comes with tons of work.

I've personally managed the inbox of San Francisco's oldest literary agencies. Here is how agents look through their inbox -- priorities:

1. Emails from people they know
2. Emails/queries from people they don't know, but are expecting something that they, the agent, requested
3. Emails/queries from people they don't know because one of their clients, or someone who knows the agent, recommended that unknown person to query said agent
4. Queries from the general public: At this point, agents only read the material sent and make snap judgments on whether they think it is salable or not.
5. Junk mail

The fact is that literary agents are extremely busy and will look through the mail from people/organizations they know and are expecting first.

There is a way to get into these more elite categories. This involves networking.

While I feel lots of success can be built through writer's conferences, I also know that not everyone has money to go to these events.

Ironically, there is one avenue that's highly popular and, I admit, works well for the publishing industry: Twitter. I'm not a fan, myself. It's OK, but I prefer other methods of communication.

Every agent has a Twitter account. Every agent posts things their looking for, likes, dislikes, issues their following, etc. There's tons of conversations between agents and writers. There's a wealth of information on there ... it's quite surprising.

So, Twitter is actually my recommendation for getting your name out to an agent. I'm not saying go make a nuisance of yourself, but I am saying to make them aware of you. Join their group discussions, ask questions about the industry, etc.

Above all: no matter where you land, always write professionally. If you are querying, always put your best foot forward and read the agent's guidelines. Follow them to the letter -- no matter if you're being recommended to them or not. Not following the guidelines will get you instantly deleted. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Maximizing mental clarity

There is a clean, healthy replacement for everything. This is a homemade peanut butter cup.       
The daily drudgery of the modern hussle and bussle, the high fat content diets and soda drinks ... all of these lead to a foggy mentality, minimal energy and mild enthusiasm for life.

If you want to wean off your dependency for legally addictive stimulants, such as coffee, and have mental clarity and vitality, then it's time to assess your diet. Everything depends on your diet: from mentality to physical health or sickness.

Eating raw foods -- no, not cookie dough -- raw fruits and vegetables will turn your world around a full 180'. Make smoothies, juice them if you hate them -- the options are limitless. Eating a raw diet or, minimally, clean diets will clear up the mental fog, boost production and, in essence, boost your success within 21 days.

There is a clean, healthy version of everything. Guaranteed.