Monday, July 28, 2014

A "How-to" Article


SO YOU'VE BEEN SENDING around your manuscript, following all the advice you have gleaned from those "how to get published" books and articles. You wait six months to get a response addressed to "Dear Author" telling you Mr. Big Time Agent receives so many letters he can't be bothered to write to you by name, but he assures you that he has "given your material serious consideration," and has determined it is "not right for us," but that "other agents might feel differently." Good luck to you.

 What he has not said is that you were not the hot chick he met at a party in Brooklyn thrown by a currently best-selling writer. He just loved her collection of short stories about hankey-pankey in trailer parks, written in short, easy to read sentences. Nor are you the cute MFA candidate he encountered at the Iowa Writer's Workshop last summer. He couldn't put down her novel about corn-fed robot zombies attacking the citizens of Kokomo, Indiana.

It doesn't cheer you up when you read that Jane Austen sent the manuscript of "Pride and Prejudice" to a publisher under an assumed name and that within six weeks it was a finished book, which has never gone out of print. But what if Jane were alive today?

A story that once appeared in the GUARDIAN WEEKLY, told of David Lassman, the director of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England, cheekily submitting the scarcely altered work of Austen to eighteen of the UK's biggest and brightest agents and publishers. He was surprised to find that all but one sent back polite, but firm, rejection slips.

Lassman's trick was not the least bit subtle. Calling himself Alison Laydee, a play on Austen's nom de plume, A Lady, he typed up chapters from three of his hero's most famous books, with a few changes of names and re-worked titles. Apparently only one editor, Alex Bowler, of the publisher Jonathan Cape, was familiar with the opening sentence of "Pride and Prejudice" and caught the ruse. He wrote back to Lassman expressing his "disbelief and mild annoyance, along, of course, with a moments laughter."

So keep sending out those manuscripts. Maybe you will have better luck than the resurrected Jane Austen.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Picasso Steps Up To The Plate

A poem by Mike Foldes

We are watching a video
of the master at work.
In as few moves
as there are letters in a line
he frees the dove of peace
from its transparent hiding place.
The narrator points out
that doves are pigeons, too,
with whom love blossomed
early in the artist’s life.

On closer examination,
the lines are minute script,
letters to mother and father
written in the language of Catalan
about a game called baseball,
and how great it would be
to hit the ball out of the park
on the first pitch of every
at bat, just as kindness
dictates taking down
the bull with the first
thrust of the sword.

Readers unfamiliar with art
or the artist’s late work
may not make the connection,
but the fat goat on the turntable
certainly will.

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Mike Foldes is the founder and managing editor of Ragazine, an online literary magazine.

Join Mike on MySpace & Facebook
Mike is also the author of Sleeping Dogs, A true story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping
Download at www.Smashwords.Com and www.Amazon.Com
Purchase the paperback at

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