Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kevin James Breaux is in the Top 20 at Publishers Marketplace



What an Amazing August!


I started off August with a phone call to my agent, Marisa Corvisiero. That was one of the most amazing moments in my writing career. But something else was happening that day and week... I was climbing the ranks of Publishers Marketplace’s Top 20 Writers. The day I spoke with her I was in 19th place. By the end of that week, I had jumped to 14th and then 7th. Holy smokes, I breached the top 10. :)

Below are some screenshots. Feel free to click them. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. :)

#19

#9


This is not the first time I've been on the list. It normally occurs around the time of a book release or other news. This time, although REALLY glad, I was a little confused with how or why it was happening. The highest I'd ever reached before was 6th place. I was sure I was not going to top that record.

Here is my profile: 




So for a week I bounced around. Then the next week, August 11-17, I checked, and I was still on the list. What? Wow! I started off the week in 7th place and dropped and then moved back up again.  I was super excited and so was my agent. 

#1


When August 18th came, I randomly checked the top 20 list, fully expecting I was no longer there. And guess what. I was 4th place, then 2nd, then I hit 1st place! 


Craziness!


All in one day, I shot to the top and help first place.  I could not believe it. What an honor. My agent was thrilled. My wife was excited. My parents were shocked. During the week of August 18-24, I was in 1st place three days. Top 5 all week. I managed to knock people who have been in that top placed for months down. I’m sorry. But I did. 
Screenshots on my phone are more clear. But don't show the whole web page.





I was pumped. Still am. How pumped?

Play my theme music! 

Wait, what is my theme music? Is it something like Hulk Hogan's theme music? Always! But not in this case. :) Maybe the Duck Tales Cartoon Theme? Sometimes. Sure. I mean LIFE is like a Hurricane. No denying that. :)

But right now? Right now, I think it might be this, Knights of Badassdom - Your Heart Sucks My Soul.  Or maybe just this... since this is always in my head, Streets of Rage 2 SOR Super mix. (What? Don't judge. I am a lifelong gamer.)  :)
 
8/23/2014 and still #1. Honored.

So anyway, three straight weeks passed with me in the top 20. Which is simply amazing, considering the other people in that top 20 are HUGE stars, best-sellers, and people in the media. 


I have to admit, when August 25th hit and I check the list… yeah, I kinda expected to be there and my name was gone. LOL.

Most of this last week of August, I have been off the list, but I did return today: 13th place. Take a look. Maybe I'm up or down a few spots. 



So what does it really mean to be on this top 20 list? Well, it means people in the industry are searching my name on the site and viewing my profile. (seen here.)  It means people are interested and THAT makes me very happy.

So if you're reading this and have looked up or viewed my profile in the last couple weeks, I appreciate the support and thank you.  As you know, my agent is preparing to pitch one of my books to some publishers... so getting all this attention on a well-known and popular industry website is very helpful.


Thanks again!

Write Makes Might!


Kevin James Breaux



Thursday, August 7, 2014

August is here and it started with Kevin James Breaux talking to his literary agent on the phone!


July… yeah. Glad that’s over. This July was one of the most annoying months of my life. And changed my opinion about the month itself. That’s right, July, I’m talking about you. We’re done. Buh-bye!

Now THIS… this is August. August and I are getting to know each other better and becoming fast friends. How? Why? Well, let me just say this… 

Monday, I spoke with my agent, Marisa Corvisiero on the phone. 

BOOM! (Boom is the masculine gender version of “squee”)

I’ve been waiting since sending my first snail mail query in 1998 to get to talk to “my” agent on the phone. I’ve sent hundreds of queries every year since 2007, and had so many partial and full requests, but I never found the one… So much hard work. So many sacrifices. So little reward. But this is my passion. This is why I am here—to be creative.

So, you wanna hear something funny? Monday, yeah, well, I have not been that nervous to call a girl on the phone since I was in high school. Seriously, you’d think I never talked to women on the phone before. I was starting to panic before I called, but as soon as I heard her voice I relaxed, and guess what? We communicated perfectly, like two old buddies. It was so easy to talk to her. Easy and fun!

The truly great thing was, I got a feeling, very early on in our conversation, that she and I have many similarities. I agreed with everything she was saying, not because I thought I should, or wanted to impress her, because I actually truly agreed. I bet if Marisa was to explain her business models to me, it would sound the same as me explaining mine to her. But hers would probably resonate a better education. :)

One of the first things she said to me was how much she loved my work. She said she loved my tone, voice, syntax, and personality. I was shocked. I hope I said thank you. I’m pretty sure I said I appreciated her comments. It’s not often you hear such high praise from an industry pro, and as an artist/author sometimes you feel like all your work is not paying off. Monday, I felt heard. I felt seen. I felt accepted. And yes… Acceptance Is Amazing.

Marisa even told me that my sense of humor came out in my writing, which was great to hear, as I often wondered that.  Phew. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks I’m funny. :)

As an author, you always read about how you want to find an agent who loves your work. When I did not have an agent, I had one perception of that statement. Now that I have an agent, I have a whole new perspective and understanding of what that means. Knowing my agent is excited by my work makes me very happy and very confident it will find a good home. Regardless of feeling like I had won the lottery for the second time in a row, I kept my cool. I did my best to remain honored and humble. I did not want to lose myself in the compliments, there was still much to learn.
So, my first question to her was this, “What should I be doing while she is doing her end of the work? How can I help the process?” Her answer, again, kinda rocked my world. Marisa told me that I was already doing exactly what she would suggest, and I was doing it well. She commended me on my social media skills, another part of my writing career that I had often thought I was doing well, but wondered how an agent would grade me. Apparently, I score very well. :)

The call took a great weight off my shoulders. I want to be a good teammate, actually, I want to be an essential part of the team. I want to carry my weight and the weight of others. I want to succeed and I want to make sure the other people on my team do as well. So hearing that I was good with social media, made me happy. I have a good sense of balance with things and now I know I can keep moving forward as is, and continue to help others on my way. 
By this point in our conversation, I was not thinking about how I was talking to my agent, or how I have wanted an agent for so long in my career(my life) and that I finally had one. I was focusing on what she was saying and processing it all. I was hearing the voice of a professional who was just as excited about talking to me, as I was excited about talking to them. I was hearing the voice of a friend, someone who felt the same way about the toughness of the industry as I did. I was hearing the voice of my future, and I could finally see it start to take shape.  

I was energized.

And then this happened after the call! :)  (notice the Breaux support. Nice!)

Marisa was very kind. She offered me insights, suggestions, and aid with my future projects with such a degree of sincerity that I was blown away. When you think of it, agents are totally swamped with work. I mean they have 100 hours of work to fit into a 40 hour week, and often have full-time jobs in addition to their work as agents. Not to mention families and friends. So how do they do it all? A good agent has dedication, and loves his/her work. I could tell Marisa was that kind of person from following her on social media, but after talking to her on the phone, I get the feeling she is some sort of Time Lord-Wonder Woman. She loves her job/jobs. She loves her family. She loves books… and she loves her clients. And she gets to them all.

I wish I was that amazing.

I am a doer. I want to work hard. As we talked, Marisa gave me homework, some things she wanted from me for her pitches and her website. Also more stuff for her to read. :)  You better believe I was right on top of all that.  Put me in coach, I’m ready to play? Well, for me, I’m more like the revving engine of a sports car, sitting at a red light. I’m ready. Give me a green light and I will go—I will show you high performance.

 
Vroom. Vroom.


So where do I stand with my projects? I have books ready to be published and an agent who is ready to start pitching them. She loves my work and, dare I say, she loves me. So, you better believe I’m gonna work hard to make her proud. I know this is going to be a great team up for a long time and that we are going to see much success together.

This is #TeamCorvisiero 
And… WRITE MAKES MIGHT!


Thank you, Marisa. 
Visit her site here: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/


Kevin James Breaux
www.kevinbreaux.com

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kevin James Breaux on rejections. Write Makes Might!

One of my rejection letters from 2007.

Hey all,

A few months ago, I saw some famous comic book writers and artists posting their rejection letters from Marvel and other comic book companies they submitted work to. They were talking about how they all suffered many rejections before reaching success. It was very cool to see. I was so impressed that I wanted to post a few of my own. 

Sadly, about a year ago, I decided to purge all my print copy rejection letters from 1999 to 2007. My wife said it was bad karma to keep them. I decided to follow her suggestion finally. BUT look! Somehow, I managed to miss this one from 2007. 

In 2007, I sent a mix of snail mail and email queries. I remember it well. I would leave my office and run to a local post office to mail out submission packages. What was in them? Query, Bio, Sub List, Synopsis, Business Cards, Sample Pages and of course, a SASE. (don't make me explain what that is again! lol)

I wish I could count up all the rejection letters and post card rejections I had stored. I bet it would have been several dozen. BUT, I did count my email rejection letters from 2009 to 2013. 

The total was 190.

Oddly enough, this does not give a clear picture of my querying. 

To really understand you need to know these numbers. From 2009 to 2013, I sent over 600 queries out. About 250 in 2012 alone. 

So out of 600 queries, I had close to 200 rejections. It still does not add up right? 

Well.. the sad thing is many (I really want to say most)... MANY agents do not reply when they do not want to see more of your work, or they simply do not want to represent you. It's a side effect of them being inundated with emails. This is why I tell everyone to track submissions in a spreadsheet.Best way to tell if an agent passed is to look at your spreadsheet. Its been 6 months, and they say they will  reply in 3. Cross them out.

I consider myself lucky. Every year since 2007 that I've sent out submissions, I've had multiple partial and full requests. On average, I'd say 10-12 a year. That's pretty good. I know many authors who don't even get partial requests. Ouch. Devastating.

Like they say, it only takes one and in early 2014, I got my one. I'm still amazed. :)

I tell people to never give up. I tell them that hard work pays off. After reading this blog post I hope it my mantras make more sense. 

Also...

Just like Jim Lee and the others, Marvel rejected me too back in the mid 1990s. :)
 
FYI - here is the link to the article with Jim Lee's rejections. Thanks Geek Tyrant.


http://geektyrant.com/news/comic-artist-jim-lees-rejection-letters-from-marvel-and-dc






Thanks!

Write Makes Might!
Kevin James Breaux
www.kevinbreaux.com

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Article Thursday - One of Kevin James Breaux's favorites

Hey all!

Here is a slightly updated re-post of an article I wrote back in 2011. It's one of my favorites. It might sound snarky, but it's all in fun. And yes, it's all true. Hope you enjoy!




The “I don’t want to buy something I already own” blues
Kevin James Breaux

One of my biggest fears is having to re-buy all my DVD’s in another “New Gen” form of media. It’s a nightmarish notion I refer to as the “Mediapocalypse!

Remember when we all had cassette tapes? I had maybe thirty tapes in my collection and I really drug my feet over to CDs.  I think I had to re-buy maybe fifteen of my albums again. Even at the young age of 18-19 years old, I felt a very clear sense of wrongness in that act. Dude, I paid $8 for that Metallica Master of Puppets tape and now I got to pay another $12 for the CD! That’s bullshit!

Oh, but I have done much worse since…

Back in the early and mid 90’s, there was a monthly comic book convention that I attended in King of Prussia, PA. I almost always, drove up with my friends Chris and Sean. (And we almost always forgot Bob)(That’s a story for another time.) We mostly went to meet comic book artists and hold rounds of witty banter with them while getting sketches, but Chris and I were also into Japanese Animation. 

This little comic convention, held in the basement of a Holiday Inn, was perfect for just that. They always had a bunch of different vendors blaring clips from movies, so it was easy to get an idea of what you might like by just standing near a vendor’s table for five minutes.
One day, I bought something like seven VHS tapes. All of a fantasy anime called The Record of Lodoss War. They were bad copies, and get this, they were subtitled by fans. “FOR FANS BY FANS” - the title screen would say. What that meant was: missing words, wrong words, and different names for different characters.  It was a year before I knew the main character’s name was Parn, not Pern or Pan. I mean I kinda thought it was Parn… from the Japanese men and women screaming it… but when you have read Pern enough on screen, yeah, it sinks in.

Anyway, for as bad as these copies were, my friends and I loved them and watched them a bunch of times.  Six months or so later, I was at the convention again and guess what? These two guys who we bought most of your videos from had NEW copies that were crystal clear, but had no subtitles and no dubbing. Yep, I bought them all. Now we could at least watch this awesome epic fantasy series in good quality.

You might think that was enough, right? Nope, some years later, I saw that The Record of Lodoss War was being released in America and it had real official subtitles! Score! I ordered it, of course. Now I had three full versions of the show. 

I would love to say that is the end of this tale, but it’s not. A couple years passed, and one day I was looking in a catalogue and wouldn’t you know, a The Record of Lodoss War box set… and… wait for it…. wait for it…. DUBBED!!! OMG! Dubbed? Really?  So I ordered that bad boy post-haste.  Now my friends and I could watch it all in crystal clear VHS quality and hear the lines spoke in English. No more bad subtitles for us! And holy crap the main character’s name was Parn! Confirmed!

So here is where I get my sick fear of another change in media. Maybe like eight-nine years ago, and seventeen-eighteen years after my first purchase of the series, I found a DVD set of The Record of Lodoss War on Amazon.com and of course, I ordered it.

Recap!
---bad quality version with homemade subtitles on VHS.  Check!
---good quality version with no subtitles, pure Japanese on VHS.  Check!
---official version with subtitles on VHS.  Check!
---official version with dubbing on VHS (box set).  Check!
---good quality version with English dubbing on DVD.  Check!

Yes, I have owned five versions of the Lodoss War. I only own the DVD set now, but sure, I guess at one point I had like 30-35 VHS tapes of the show.

Now can you blame me for fearing a future media change? Not counting my forty or more box sets of shows like Buffy, Angel, Rome, True Blood, Spartacus, and all the GI JOES… I must have like 200+ DVDs.  And I for damn sure don’t want to buy them all… all over again. Hell no!  Do you know what a season of Star Trek on DVD used to cost??? Seriously, the thought of having to do that makes my skin all red and splotchy… I think I might be getting some sort of weird, “I don’t want to purchase something I already own” hive.  

Wait… Is that a Blu-Ray copy of The Avengers?

*sigh*

Write Makes Might!

Thanks all!

Kevin James Breaux
www.kevinbreaux.com