Monday, August 24, 2009
You learned in the earlier blog how to find the right author’s agent for that manuscript you want to submit. How do you contact that person?
My earlier blog—posted a couple of blogs ago—told you how to find the right agent and publisher. It also explained why finding an agent is important. Go to that blog and re-read it. After you’ve learned how to locate the agent’s name and that of the publisher, you need to contact them. Go online and google the agent’s name. Google the agent’s website, and it will contain all your information. If you don’t find it, google the agent’s name and profession. Maybe their name isn’t mentioned in the name of the agency. Many of the big multi-media agencies don’t mention the name of the agent.
A non-Internet venue? Go to your library and look the agent up in the Literary Marketplace (LMP). If you can’t locate their agency, look for their name in the index. Or look in the library’s copy of The Writer’s Market. They will have an agent section and an index. Look for other publishing reference books as well.
Many agents are in New York, so you could go online and look them up in the New York online phone directory. Or you could telephone New York City information.
These agents are business people. They do not conceal their addresses and phone numbers. You should find their addresses and phone numbers at the very least, perhaps even their email addresses. If you call the agent’s switchboard, they may well give you his or her email address as well.
If you absolutely could not find the agent’s name, I mentioned in the previous blog how to learn the name of the author’s editor. You could write the editor of the successful author you most closely resemble at his or her publishing company and ask for the agent’s name. You could then look them up.
Next we’ll discuss how to meet the successful author you most resemble and how to recruit that author in your quest for your perfect agent.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
John Major Jenkins, the author of COSMOGENESIS 2012, is the first authority to propound the “Galactic Alignment” thesis. He argues that such an alignment will occur on 12/21/09, that the alignment only happens every 26,000 years and that it occurs within a 36-year 1980-2016 alignment “zone.” One of his sources is the astronomer, Jean Meeus. Jenkins has written:
It is an astronomical FACT the position of the December solstice sun will be aligning with the galactic equator in the years around 2012. Specifically, following calculaitons by astronomer Jean Meeus (Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, 1997:216), and considering that the sun itself is one-half of a degree wide, we can speak of an alignment "zone", 1980-2016 AD.
Secondarily, the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Milky Way's equator happens to occur in that part of the Milky Way that houses the "nuclear bulge" of our galaxy's center. Our Milky Way is saucer shaped, and to naked-eye watchers the Milky Way appears wider between Sagittarius and Scorpio. That "nuclear bulge" is, visually, where the galactic center is located. It is where the December solstice sun is aligning. Thus follows the factually true statement about the sun, on the solstice, aligning with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is more precise, however, to speak of the alignment in terms of the galactic equator, as that affords a precise mid-line of the band of the Milky Way with which the solstice-galaxy alignment can be measured--as Jean Meeus did. Thus, the alignment "zone": 1980-2016 AD.
Jenkins expands further on his alignment thesis:
The Galactic Alignment is the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator. This alignment occurs as a result of the precession of the precession of the equinoxes.
Precession is caused by the earth wobbling very slowly on its axis and shifts the position of the equinoxes and solstices one degree every 71.5 years. Because the sun is one-half of a degree wide, it will take the December solstice sun 36 years to precess through the Galactic equator.
The precise alignment of the solstice point (the precise center-point of the body of the sun earth) with the Galactic equator was calculated to occur in 1998 (Jean Meeus, Mathematical Astronomy Morsels, 1997).
Thus, the Galactic Alignment “zone” is 1998+/- 18 years= 1980-2016. This is the “era—2012.”
This Galactic Alignment occurs only once every 26,000 years, and was what the ancient Maya were pointing to with the 2012 end-date of their Long Count calendar.
I’ve seen attempted refutations of Jenkins position on the Internet but was never able to verify the evidence or confirm the writer’s credentials. Since I’m an editor at Tor/Forge Books however and we publish a lot of science-oriented books, I’ve gotten to know some highly reputable astrophysicist-authors over the years—some of them quite distinguished in that field. I’ve questioned a few of them on Jenkins’ thesis, but I’ve never gotten a definitive answer—especially on the second part which states that the alignment only occurs every 26,000 years. Since his thesis has floated around for over a decade, and I haven’t seen a detailed rebuttal, I’ve tended give Jenkins the benefit of the doubt.
Nonetheless, I’ve re-approached one of these distinguished scientist-authors and will report on what I hear. He has to resources to come up with a definitive answer.
Perhaps someone out there has an iron-clad refutation of Jenkins’ thesis, but if they have, I haven’t seen it, which does not mean such a refutation does not exist. It only means I haven’t seen it.
Some scientist may also have proven Jenkins’ thesis to be indisputably correct. I haven’t sent there work either.
Even if astronomers definitively refuted Jenkins’ thesis, however, that refutation would in no way undermine the Mayan’s incomprehensible astronomical achievements. For instance, they understood long, long ago that our galaxy was a spinning disk. They believed it so deeply and pervasively that they imbedded their belief into their very language: Their Hunab Ku galactic glyph which depicts the Milky Way—which they called “The Tree of Life,” among other things—as a spinning disk. They could not have inferred that insight from their math, science or direct observation. That revelation seems to me an accomplishment of a transcendent order. If, on top of that belief, they also divined insights as arcane as Jenkins’ Galactic Alignment thesis, their astronomical knowledge is even more miraculous. On the other hand, were Jenkins’ thesis proven erroneous after all these years, I would in no way hold that against the Mayans. They were preternaturally gifted astronomers.
Monday, August 10, 2009
In fact, I should have thought that one up. I’m a full-time book editor in my so-called real life, and I once signed up a book on remote viewing. I know the phenomenon exists, and, yes, JT, I think the Maya, Toltecs, et. Al. probably used it.
One way to describe remote viewing is that the observer stares at some imperceptible object or event and that his or her astral spirit leaves the body and goes to that phenomenon and observes it, while the spirit is outside the viewer’s corporeal self. Some remote viewers have gazed on distant phenomena or on concealed objects in this manner.
I have experienced remote viewing myself. I went to seminar conducted by the writer and retired military officer, Paul Smith, who conducted remote viewing study programs for both the military and the CIA. At the seminar he ran slides which documented amazing examples of successful remote viewing. One such example involved the remote viewing of an attack on a US naval vessel which occurred a few days later, just as the remote viewer predicted and depicted.
A former US Defense Secretary told me people were in awe of the results the military’s remote viewing program produced.
After the seminar Paul Smith handed out paper and pencil stubs. He had four opaque envelopes, one of which contained a photograph no one in the audience had seen. Approximately 30 people were in attendance. Even though I’ve been accused of having psychic abilities in the past, I wasn’t going to even consider trying the exercise. Among other things I draw badly. Almost as soon as Paul handed me the pencil stub and paper, I began drawing without even thinking. I had no idea what I’d drawn. When Paul opened the envelope and showed us the photo, I was the only one in the audience who’d drawn it.
I signed the author up for a book, based on his experiences with the military’s remote viewing program. Paul Smith’s book was titled READING THE ENEMY’S MIND.
As for my own alleged psychic prowess, I refuse to gamble because I win with frightening frequency—so much so it genuinely scares me. (My refusal to gamble infuriates my friends who would like to bet with me and always try to nag me into gambling with them.) I’m also considered a shockingly perceptive tarot card reader. The host of a psychic TV program once offered me a regular tarot-reading spot on her show, which I declined on the grounds that I was too busy. The truth is I don’t read tarot for money. I don’t know what happens when I read the cards, but I see taking money for the readings them as bad karma . . . at least for me. I can’t comment on other people’s karma.
My mother claimed I was born under “the sign of the apocalypse.” The night she gave me birth, she’d asked my father to take her dancing. A warm summer night, he took her to an outdoor dance place overlooking Lake Michigan. She danced, drank and smoked—as pregnant women often did in those days—then broke her water on the dance floor.
My father took her to the hospital, and she said she had a long, difficult delivery—until 2:00 AM, that is, when the city was hit by a hurricane of walnut-size hailstones. They hammered the town like shrapnel, breaking windows and streetlights all over Michigan City, Indiana, including some of the hospital windows. This holocaust of hailstones was so frightening my mother said I burst out of her like the ET monster, which exploded out of the guy’s chest in the movie, ALIEN.
I have a town newspaper documenting that disaster.
I guess my interest in 2012 comes naturally. As my mother said, I was born under “the sign of the apocalypse.”
Thanks, JTCapa, for your remarks about remote viewing. I know a fair amount about the subject, have experienced it myself, and should have had that insight. Anyone interested in the subject should get Paul Smith’s READING THE ENEMY’S MIND.
Judith also emailed me privately, raising that eternal question, “What should we think?” I will address that question in some detail down the road. The short answer is that our species is notoriously self-destructive—and no more so when facing the specter of possible extinction. Life on earth has endured over twenty extinction events, will do so again, and we’re looking several in the obsidian eye right now. We have to face up to that fact and determine what we can do to confront these cataclysms. Many of these apocalyptic catastrophes are preventable. Instead of facing up to these threats, however, humanity blithely ignores them. In fact, we invent new ways of annihilating ourselves, thus exacerbating the threat of global extirpation.
The threat of being exterminated on 2012 however could have one positive consequence. It has the potential to “wonderfully concentrate the mind”, and if it does, maybe we will start to evaluate those extinction threats and devise ways of countering them. In other words, Judith, your question is simple but transcendently important.
By the way, could you please email me the title of your own book? It sounds fascinating.
Henry, regarding your question about Celtic influences in Mayan culture, I’d recommend you contact randyeickhoff.com and discuss the subject with him. He’s a genuine Irish scholar who has translated most of THE TAIN for me—Ireland’s ILIAD and ODYESSY. (He also translated THE ODYSSEY for me as well.) Your insights will fascinate him, and he knows far more about the Celts than I do.
Mattie, don’t ask me why Indiana University referred to my undergraduate degree as an AB instead of a BA, but they did. I often hear the degree described a BA myself. In Latin, however, it’s called an “artium baccalaureus,” so perhaps AB is more literal. However, a Bachelor of Science is BS, and I hear an AB more often called a BA.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
My next blog will concern 2012, including issues raised by JTCapa, Judith, HM, et.al. But now I'll answer some publishing queries.
Rule #1: Work your butt off to find a literary agent who appreciates what you’re writing. I try to look at all the unsolicited, unagented manuscripts (mss), which are addressed to me by name, but I don’t give them the same attention I give to those which agents send me, particularly agents who know me and understand what I tend to publish.
Agents fill a number of irreplaceable functions, which include channeling projects toward the right editors who will understand how to publish those submissions. If those agents didn’t cherry-pick their clients’ mss and channel those submissions to the right editors, editors would be overwhelmed by mss, which weren’t suitable to their houses and their book-buying markets. The lives of most commercial editors would be impossibly difficult and the quality of their published books would suffer immeasurably. Moreover, agents, like writers, perform this function for free. They don’t get paid unless they sell the book. They typically get a 15% commission on that sale. Like writers, agents live their lives on spec. They thrive or die with their writers’ successes and failures. If writers are the heroes of the book publishing business, agents are the unsung heroes of the book trade.
How do I find the agent, who’s right for me?
You want an agent who knows how to sell your kind of book, right? Well, who are the successful writers you most resemble—and don’t say Shakespeare. I mean real, live successful authors. Go to a really big super-bookstore with a coffee shop and grab some paperbacks of your favorite successful writers whom you most resemble. (The Barnes & Noble superstores always seem to have a Starbucks as well as a vast selections of authors.) Take the paperbacks to the bookstore coffee shop, order a cup of coffee, and read the dedication and acknowledgement pages of those paperbacks. Nine times out of ten, that writer whom you most resemble will mention his or her agent and editor in the dedication or the acknowledgements. (The dedications are listed in the front of the book; the acknowledgements are often listed in the back.) You will learn both the name of the agent and editor, and since your work resembles that of that author, you immediately have the names of two people who know how to sell your kind of book. If you absolutely strike out with an agent, you know an editor who appreciates what you’re trying to achieve.
Begin your pitch letter to the agent by describing how much you resemble his or her beloved writer. If you get turned down, write the agent back and ask them to recommend an agent who would understand your work.
How do I know whether that writer whom I resemble is successful?
Okay, you’re in that book store coffee shop. You have a lot of paperbacks. Some of the front covers probably say that that particular title is a New York Times Bestseller. Voila, you’ve found a successful writer whom the agent can use as a marketing comparison when he or she submits your book. You obviously want to use that same marketing comparison when you approach the agent with your pitch letter.
On my next publishing blog, we will discuss how to contact that agent.