Thursday, November 29, 2007

Author James R. Flynn's visit to the University of Cincinnati

On Tuesday, November 20th, 2007, I had the honor of hosting an appearance in Cincinnati by author and professor James R. Flynn, whose newest book was just published by Cambridge University Press, entitled:

What is Intelligence? Beyond the Flynn Effect

Dr. John Wright, Professor at the University of Cincinnati's Criminal Justice Division (College of CECH), wrote that: Flynn "is a giant in the field of IQ research. His work has challenged even the most ardent scientists" and "his intellectual reputation is stellar." Not only is Professor Flynn all that, he's a remarkable fellow insofar as being a really nice guy, a superbly fit athlete (at age 73 he can still break 53 minutes for a 10-kilometer run), and an ardent Moral Philosopher who left the United States for New Zealand in the 1960s, where he made a wonderful career teaching and research and writing. Today, he is Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago.

If you ever get a chance to meet Dr. Flynn, or hear him give a talk, you'll be pleased.

I booked Dr. Flynn's radio show appearance, an interview with Mike McConnell on 700 WLW AM, drove Dr. Flynn to and from the airport and hotel, coordinated the publicity (distributing flyers and sending out a press-release and coordinated mass e-mailings) and arranged the book-signing, with the help of Cambridge University Press, Follett and the University of Cincinnati Book Store, and of course the Criminal Justice Division at U.C., with special assistance from Janice Miller and Dr. Wright.

For any prospective literary agent clients who might want a reference as to the quality and quantity of my efforts to promote an author (who is not a client) feel free to contact Dr. Flynn at:

Dr. Flynn's website is:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Recommended Blog For Writers

Especially if you're new to searching for literary agents. Strauss et al., have posted information that will allow you to avoid the worst aspects of the industry. Their blog is:

At Last! Writer Beware Blogs! A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss Reveal All!

On Strauss's blog you'll find warnings about fee-charging agents and more.

Other websites for writers seeking to avoid fee-charging agents:





Sunday, November 25, 2007

November 2007 Reading List

Funding Evil, Rachel Ehrenfeld, Bonus Books, 2003

The Higher Power of Lucky, Susan Patron, with illustrations by Matt Phelan, Atheneum 2006.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My comments on a article

Query Letters and Literary Agents 101

This is a quick course describing the query process for beginning authors and a nice refresher for you old pros. This is not a complete list, just a quick reference.

Why write a query letter?
Unless you already know a literary agent, book publisher, famous author, or are extremely lucky, a query letter is your best chance to get your foot into the publishing business.

My Comment: even if you know someone, you have to write them a letter or an e-mail about your book, (yes, even if you call them first) so you write a query letter because you have to describe in writing what you have created, or what you want, or to thank them for something--such as arranging a pitch meeting.

What is a query letter?
A query letter is a ONE PAGE professional letter describing your book and yourself to a literary agent.

My Comment: A query letter is ideally shorter than a page, and is a formal business letter describing the basic facts of your book and asking for a result (representation or publication) and NOTHING ELSE--it is NOT a sales letter or pitch or plea or a chatty "tell-all" about your creative process or your goals or aspirations or personal life.

If the literary agent is interested in your book he/she will typically write back and request that you send a portion or completed manuscript which he/she will then read and review. If he/she likes the manuscript and thinks it has potential to sell, the literary agent may offer to represent your book, which means they will then attempt to sell the book to a publisher.

Some literary agents may request that you include the first few pages of your manuscript or a separate synopsis with your query, but that is strictly up to the individual literary agent.

What goes into a query letter?

  • Your manuscript's title.
  • Word count.
  • Genre.
  • A short synopsis.
  • Any writing related credits you may have such as previous publications or contest awards.
  • The reason why you have chosen to query this particular literary agent.
My Comment: I disagree with that last item. Although for some agents, it's important to know why the reader queried them, it's not here. I don't need to know why you chose me--in fact I regularly respond to letters sent from services such as Scriptblaster. Good writing is what is important here--not why you're sending the query to me in particular.

What does NOT go into a query letter?

  • How much your mother, brother, uncle, neighbor liked the book.
  • How often you have queried.
  • Never mention you have never been published (they probably know that already.)
  • Never mention this is your first book (they know that, too.)
  • Don't tell them how great the book is, let your writing speak for itself.
  • Don't tell them how much money your book is sure to make, it's their job to determine that.

What is the perfect query letter?
No one knows. Every literary agent seems to have their own idea of what makes a perfect query letter. Some like quirky and clever, some like professional and reserved (most lean towards professional and reserved, so use quirky sparingly.) But even the literary agents who have very specific ideas of what they do or do not like will often highlight and praise a query that breaks the rules they themselves set down. So, what does this mean for you? It means there is no easy answer. Your best bet is to read as many sample query letters as you can find, pick the style you like best and give it a try.

My Comment: True that if you do anything well, the rules sort of fly out the window. But there is a perfect query letter RESULT. The perfect query letter gives the agent or publisher ZERO excuses to say "NO" to reading your work.

If you don't get a response, do not resend the same query. Follow up with a short polite "just checking in" letter after allowing a reasonable amount of time (I recommend one month) to elapse since your query arrived.

Here's a sample an "afterquery:"

Dear Agent:

On October 25, 2007, I sent you a query via e-mail on my Thriller (89,473 words) entitled: THE BIG FAT MONEYMACHINE. I am just following up to make sure my query was received and is in your queue.

Thank you,


See: for more information on the business of communicating with agents and publishers.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Give to

The time to act is NOW. To date, has more than 300 applications for these trips. In 2007, approximately 1,200 World War II veterans die each DAY. The average life expectancy for an American male is 74.4 years. The youngest WWII veteran is over 79 years old. In another 5-10 years almost all of our WWII veterans will be gone.

This trip will probably be their “last hurrah,” the last time they will be recognized as heroes and conquering victors that collectively and literally saved the world. All day long they will be thanked, recognized and admired for their service. These veterans will remember the kindness and adoration shown to them for the rest of their lives. They will all have a deeper appreciation for how much their country loves them and will miss them.


Honor Flight is a 501C-3 Non-Profit organization. All donations are 100% tax deductible.

To make a donation via PayPal or Credit Card, please click below.

You can also mail your donation to:

Honor Flight, Inc.

Attn: Margaret Morse

300 E. Auburn Ave.

Springfield, OH 45505


And don't forget to thank a Vet near you!