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 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kevin James Breaux - It's good to be part of a team

Today, my agent, Marisa Corvisiero of the Corvisiero Literary Agency, invited me to her "clients only" Facebook page. As a new client of hers, I was honored and excited to join the group. What I found there was 50 other amazing authors.


Side note- I was actually already friends with a few of them. Pretty cool, huh? 


What I did next was sit back and invest the time needed to Facebook friend them all. Yep, all 50. It took a lot of clicks, but I did it. I'm now working on "liking" their author pages and later this week I will be on Goodreads, friending and "fanning" them.
 
I feel it's very important to do this. As a new member of the team and as someone who wants to see the agency have continued success. Granted, many of these authors are in genres outside of my norm, I still want to read their posts and see what they are doing and have to offer. It will be a great learning experience. And if I can support them by sharing their updates and news... then you better believe I will.
 
A group full of agented authors...in a respectable agency that treats them well. Yeah, that's a group I know I can learn from. :)


The future is full of possibilities now. I can only imagine what career highlights I will have to announce in the next twelve months.


Write Makes Might!


Kevin James Breaux
www.kevinbreaux.com



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kevin James Breaux signs with Agent Marisa A. Corvisiero


I did it!



It’s funny. Sunday night, I went to bed feeling exhausted. Just feeling really horrible about myself. Full of doubt. Yeah, I kinda wanted to cry. 


I woke up the next morning around 7:30am. I walked downstairs to turn on my computer, and while I was waiting I turned on my phone. I was half-awake when I looked at my inbox on my phone and my eyes were still sleep-blurred. I scanned over my emails and saw one I was waiting for but in my poor attitude from the night before, seriously doubted I would see. I opened the email and speed read it. To my complete and utter disbelief, I saw words in that email I had only dreamt of (and fantasized about) in emails but never had seen before. It was an offer of representation


I wanted to shout. I wanted to cheer. But I still could not believe what I read. So, I read it again as I walked back up the stairs. It was true. An agent liked my work and wanted to represent me. 


When I opened the bedroom door, I woke up my wife. Not knowing what else to do, I held my phone high above my head, it’s glow like a torch, and I said, “I did it.”  She looked confused so I repeated. “I *&%$# got an agent. I finally did it.”


I made her day.


When I replied to the agent’s email, I was so filled with adrenaline that my hands were shaking. Typos? Yeah…lots of them. My whole day forward was filled with bliss-filled typos. I was just so excited that I couldn’t seem to type anything right. :)
 

But man, I got my agent. Finally. AND I got a good one.


It all feels like a dream. I have been hunting and chasing agents since 1999. Even more fervently since 2007. I’ve kept a very detailed database and many spreadsheets. I tracked all my queries; marked down when they were sent and when they were replied to and of course if they were rejections or requests for more work. I kept all those files. I mean, they represented a lot of hours of work.  Dozens of snail mail letters and tons of emails. I mean a metric butt ton! (OK…probably close to two thousand emails.) 


But as they say. It only takes one. 


After all these years. After so much hard work. I finally got my one. 


Welcome my agent:  

Literary Agent - Marisa A. Corvisiero, Esq of the Corvisiero Literary Agency.


That was my Monday. I was in a haze all day. I was busy responding to emails, messages, FB and Twitter comments. People wanted to know what my big news was. They wanted to know what I was hinting at. But hey, I was afraid to jinx it. And like I said. I was in a haze. I had won the lottery, the big jackpot. NO WHAMMIES got me! I was floating high on life…and by the end of the day I was exhausted. lol


Tuesday, I spoke with Marisa and she OK’d the announcement. So I quickly made it. I wanted so bad to make it something like, “Today will be a day that will live in infamy.” But that was taken, and infamy is BAD! ;)


Yeah, I wanted to say something witty, but I was still in a haze and felt like this was all a dream. So I just spilled it.


Take a moment… Wow. I’m proof that hard work pays off. 


People really do win on MTV! (That’s for all of you old enough to remember that catch phrase.)


I worked hard. I never gave up. I made sacrifices. I saw the good and bad of the industry I wanted so badly to be a part of. I went to war. I saw combat. I got the scars to prove it. But again, I never quit.

What did we repeat everyday in Karate? Winners never quit. Quitters never win. I choose to be a winner. Well, I choose to be a winner. And man, do I feel blessed.


I’m truly humbled by this. I feel so lucky to have all the support of all my social media friends. I’ve had some really nice and great people lift me up through the years, from my mentor Jonathan Maberry to my editor Gretchen Stelter. I’ve had the endless support of my parents. The love of my wife, who has seen writing make me so happy… and constant rejection really give me a good beating. I have support from people that I met years ago playing WoW, or met through reviews of my older books. Good people who, for some reason, have stuck by me all this time and still encourage me and reward me with sincere applause for my achievements. 


Those people are all angels in my book. (Hey, as a writer, yes, I could make them all angels in my books…so... Ha!)


As I type this, I’m very aware of how lucky I am and how everything has changed overnight. I’m becoming what I have wanted for a very long time. I’m getting my wish. It’s exciting. Then again, nothing has changed at all. I’m still going to work hard. I’m still going to help my friends. Hell, I remember when my mentor told me he would not be happy until his whole group succeeded. I know how he feels. I want to bring home a win for everyone now, and then I want to make sure the other people who I know are working just as hard as I am also reach their goals. 


That’s what real winners do.

Thanks all,

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