My Little Black Book

I have a little black book….

But don’t worry, it’s not that kind of little black book. My little black book contains the details of literary agents I’m researching. Agents who, if they tick all the requisite boxes, I will query with regards the book. The book, the book, always the book. Writing it was the easy part. This is the real battle, the real war of attrition. Trying to hook that one agent. The one.

I had a nibble last week, a chink of light in the dark abyss that is attempting to secure literary representation. An agent asked to read the full manuscript. Which, I duly forwarded. Now, I wait again. The voice in my head rubs its hands, if it had hands, with glee. She will hate it, it whispers. It’s too long, too wordy, too….everything you don’t want to see in a published book.

In the meantime, I update my little black book. More agents to query, Twitter accounts to stalk, websites to devour. Query letter, book synopsis, first three chapters. Times New Roman, double spaced, no Word attachments. Bang, Bang, Bang. 6-8 weeks, if you don’t hear from us then consider it a pass. An endless not so merry go round of raised hopes, dashed dreams and interminable waiting.

Agents. What do they like, what do they hate. What do they want? Plot, characters, rinse and repeat. Their details are highlighted, circled and underlined before being savagely crossed out the moment the dreaded rejection e mail arrives. There are worse little black books to keep, much worse. Especially those we keep away from prying eyes, locked away in the deepest, darkest recesses of our hearts.

Filled with petty grudges, festering emotions and dangerous desires. We clutch them close to our chests and will fight tooth and nail to keep them from seeing the light of day. If only people knew what lay beneath the bland facade we display to the world every day. If only they could see the hate, the guilt, the devastation. If the truth of our little black books were known, then anarchy would reign. Madness would triumph.

I hope one day, and soon, to no longer need my little, black book. In my dreams, I secure an agent who, in turn, secures a publishing deal and we all live happily ever after. It lies open for anyone to see, yet it hangs around my neck like a rotting albatross. Taunting me, reminding me of imagined flaws, inadequacies and failings which wreak havoc within my already spinning head.

Do you have a little black book? What’s in it? Let me see, let me pry, just a peek, I promise not to tell anyone. Cross my heart and hope to die. What secrets do you hide? What monsters lurk? The deceit, the loathing, a Pandora’s box which would destroy your life and many others, were it to be unleashed, screaming and flailing into an unsuspecting world. A personal apocalypse.

Let’s build a funeral pyre, a bonfire or these terrible tomes. Stand with me as I light a match and toss it on the pile. We form a circle round it, holding hands, united in our desire to change, to build a better future. A future where no such books exist, where hope replaces dread and doubt. A better place, where you and I can live the lives we were born to live. Oh little black book, where are you now?

Tell me about your little black book?

46 thoughts on “My Little Black Book

Add yours

  1. My Little Black Book is Writer’s Market Deluxe edition 2017 lol! It has every current agent (well, as of 2017!) listed, how to contact, email, website, and what they’re looking for. When I thought my novel was done (at 40,000 words!) I had 3 different agents (I queried around 35) tell me that “It’s a novella; therefore, unmarketable! Sorry, but I must pass.” 😦

    Soooooo….now, I’m at about 57,000 words lol and extending more. It will be done soon and will be better than before, I’m pretty sure. It’s so far turning out that way. When it’s finished at 70,000 words or so, I will hit the trail once more and query, query, query until it gets accepted!

    By the way, Chicken Soup for the Soul….144 rejections! I’m in good company lol. As they say, “Dream big and don’t give up!” Good luck to you, man. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to not memorialize my shortcomings and weaknesses, especially when they can be harmful to self or others. My former dentist got me started playing recreational basketball as an adult. I recall him saying, “Keep a short memory” after frustrations and conflict on the court. I thought it peculiar at the time, but have come to appreciate the concept in other areas of my life as well. I was reading from Isaiah this morning and God told Israel he would remember their sins no more. We often perceive “not getting even” as a weakness. But it appears that choosing to forgive and forget is a strength we all should develop. Thank you for making me think.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dude, reminds me of what I was talking to a friend about. How there are two categories of men’s personalities.

      First type) the man’s man or very “confident” or the bad boy quality or Type-A “Alpha” male.

      Second type) Empathetic, feeling, sensitive, Submissive-type.

      The differences: for women often (those women with very low self-image/self-worth) the first type of bad boy attracts them, often attracts them to death. The first type of Alpha male gets along and is more comfortable with men, are often closer to their father, and often have problems with their mother.

      The second male is more comfortable with women, distant or have an absent father figure, and are much more sensitive to others.

      More often, it’s seen as a weakness that men are “sensitive”. There are so many labels for the second type of male: wimp, p*ssy, (insert homosexual reference slur).

      Being the second type of male, I’ve found my sensitivity to others’ feelings as a major strength.

      Not sure why I just laid all that out there lol but I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whew, that’s intense for a Monday morning read. Surprisingly, no black book. But a journal, several writing books and my blog. I don’t love making myself vulnerable but I do it anyway. Perseverance…… staying the course. Such a challenge. Keep going!

    Like

  4. My Little Black Book that I keep secreted away is full of all the hurt and sadness at all the ways humanity has failed itself and continues to fail at improving reality for everyone, not just themselves. Every day is another little detail of how it could be done better, how it should be done right. Every moment is another note to take on the change that needs to happen.

    I’m ready to burn my Little Black Book to the ground because humanity is drowning me in their darkness. I’m ready to light that flame and start a new book – My Big White Book – one that is full of all the goodness and wholeness that is natural to who we are as a people. I dream of developing that book into beautiful existence.

    If only humanity would start stepping up and providing me as much material as they do for the Little Black Book, which has become rather voluminous in nature.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m sensitive in nature, extremely so. My husband recently commented about the effect the news was having on me. I was always deeply emotional. Hurting for the children being abused that are always there to read about. I can’t not read about them because my heart feels someone should hear their story, know their pain, feel the depravity they were put through. And so I give myself to that darkness. And it affects me.

        Then there’s all the adult darkness that I feel I need to be aware of so I can educate my children against it. And yet reading it fills me with a sense of dread and despair at how horrible things are, at how bad things have become. It affects me heavily and just weighs me down.

        So closer to the beginning of the year, I decided I would stop reading the main news outlets. My go to sites were FoxNews and CNN. And they were always filled with darkness. Always in all different forms. It was like you could pick the flavor of darkness you wanted to dabble in. 100 different flavors, a million different ways to show evil has won.

        It just made me sad. And so I stopped reading the darkness they are trying to spread and left myself to my own happy thoughts. I am flying high over here. My mind is ever focused on good and happy and whole with an insane focus on downplaying any and all negativity. With allowing my mind to stay on the positive, I have felt much better.

        Sure, I’m not informed of what’s going on outside my door. But also, I’m not constantly being made to fear the darkness they like to spread. So I live in this state of perpetual happiness that is uninterrupted by darkness. People aren’t killing me. They aren’t attacking me. They aren’t flinging insulting words in my direction. I don’t live in fear of the negativity the news says is everywhere. And I feel much better for it.

        I guess they lost their hold over my mind. And I don’t care to give them the time of day to get it back.

        Like

  5. I haven’t been around long but I get the overwhelming amount of stress you are feeling at getting an agent for your book. The makes me sad for you. You have found great success at organizing your thoughts and compiling them in a fashion where you feel comfortable calling it a novel. That is wonderful and the epitome of success.

    But sadly we live in a world where we often don’t qualify anything as successful unless it comes with money validating its existence. Hence where my sadness comes in. You are worth so much more than any amount of money that could be passed your way from the sales of a book.

    And so my thoughts go towards alleviating this pressured process and getting you more of the recognition and acceptance you desire for the time and energy you gave to crafting your words in a way others would enjoy. You deserve rewarded for that NOW. Not after some meaningless agent has taken the chance on you.

    Take the chance on yourself. Get yourself out there for people to read. Have you considered taking your novel to Amazon and distributing it that way? My thought is to put two versions up – one for free which gets people reading it and then one for a low cost so people can pay you for the work they like, thus giving you the good feels and the validation of money for your time and energy.

    Gets you started now rather than waiting on some stranger to take a chance on you they never should have passed on.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I want to apologize if my words came off as accusing you as only worrying about money. I didn’t mean to interpret that way. I wouldn’t put that on someone I didn’t know.

        My words were more hoping to alleviate the worry about material success, of needing to find that literary agent to make your book known. Again, not saying that’s your only motivation.

        I’m not sure about publishing as I haven’t even begun to fathom putting a book together so my words come as a hopeful optimist for what I would hope the system would be like when I get to that point.

        For me, I question “Isn’t investing in yourself worth it every time?”

        Searching out an agent is looking for someone else to validate your work, to say you are worth publishing and getting readers. Your book already does that. It doesn’t need some professional to accept it.

        That professional is there to make your life easier. To make getting it out there easier. But is easier always better. How hard is life for you trying to go the easy route? Does it make you feel good in the process? Wouldn’t it be better to find a process that feels better so when success does come you aren’t feeling bad about how you got there?

        I hope my words come gently and not attacking in nature. I don’t mean them to be harsh if they read that way. My thought is to ask questions that might open your mind to considering a more positive and heart-warming path for you.

        I would hate to think your life’s work is causing angst of sadness in any form. It shouldn’t be that way.

        Like

          1. I would love to write a book. I would love to get all my thoughts together in a cohesive way that people could dig into and really get a sense of who I am. Because ultimately that’s the only reason I would want to write something, so people have a better way of knowing the me I feel so happy getting to be.

            But I wouldn’t know where to begin. I wouldn’t know what people want to know about a person like me. I don’t know what is important to share. I don’t know what would catch the attention of others.

            So while I have so many questions about the shape of my book I bring myself to the interweb to express and learn the process of baring my soul through written word. I’m hoping to create a group of people that can guide me towards the peaceful creation of a book worthy of reading. Ultimately, I want people to want to read a book about me. I don’t want to have to convince them my book is worthy of reading. Basically, if people want something I want to be able to give them something. But I’m not honestly motivated to create a book to please the masses – the masses are by and large ignorant to the beauty of the soul. They seek flashy things like fame and fortune and all that goes along with that. My message is of love and wholeness, things that fame and fortune can never manage to afford.

            So in short and summary, yes I think about writing a book all the time. Just don’t know where to go from there.

            Like

  6. My little black book is within me. I carefully guard my true beliefs from those who knew me as a child/very young adult. I hide for their protection and mine. The fear of total abandonment.

    Like

  7. “Let’s build a funeral pyre, a bonfire of these terrible tomes. . . . Oh little black book, where are you now?”

    This is what it means to go Indie. Authors need not be enslaved to the ephemeral passions that little black books represent. As faithful spouses stand together, hand-hand, proclaiming, “This is my True Love: No one stands between us,” the Indie Author steps forward, independently-published book in hand, proclaiming, “This is the the voice of my soul, speaking to yours, my Reader: No one stands between us.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Forgive me for swearing in advance, but I cannot imagine that you don’t hear it from time to time. Bollocks! Sorry, but I love that word. It’s rude but faintly amusing and the reason I say this is:
    Just try to remember the path that you’re on. Don’t you remember:
    The occasional struggles whilst you were writing?
    The editing, the endless editing of soft and hard copies?
    The re-writes … and the re-re-writes?
    The fear of whom to choose as your Beta readers?
    The agony of waiting (as you did more editing) whilst waiting for the blasted Beta readers to actually read it, and then for their feedback?
    And now the sending out and waiting …
    Don’t you see?! You’re on the most incredible path and journey and, and, and it’s just like running your marathon! There are parts that are easy and downhill and your legs just go, go, go and other times, you want to collapse, it’s uphill, the end is nowhere in sight and it’s all too hellishly painful to carry on … but you do and you will. Because you’re you and this will be a success.
    So bollocks to it all! Go out for a run, get some fresh air and I shall misquote Shakespeare and say with gusto, “Battle On MacDuff!’ Your groupie and slowest Beta reader, Katie x

    Like

  9. Oh, and no I don’t have a little black book, but I think when I’m at your stage and it’s all finished, then I shall buy one for the endless query letters and website addresses etc etc. (Although mine will be blue or teal or maybe even turquoise). 🤓

    Like

  10. Ooohhh this is a good thought to ponder!! You know a lot centers around my cat, and she’s pretty solid as someone who won’t rat me out….but outside her I am fortunate to have this one incredible human-I’d say we hold one another’s black books in pieces as we grow. And I guess that feeling alone-having another person in the world who truly sees every single twist, turn, thought, demon, wrong…and they’d never hurt you or spread your words, and they get you on every level and love you-that’s the best black book I can think of!! Thanks for this topic (all your posts are great) on a Monday 🙂

    Like

  11. Sometimes as I read your detailed description of this writing/publishing journey you have begun, I get really pissed off. Allow me to explain; while I was at my wife’s chemotherapy infusion session last week, I showed up without a book to read. She loaned me her Kindle and said, “I bet there is something on there you would like.” I picked out one called “Mayan Star” because I am interested in the Mayan people and their culture. It is a kind of interesting murder mystery, but the quality of the writing is absolutely dreadful. The more I read, the more irritated I got with the low quality of his prose. And then when I see that a talented writer like yourself is struggling even to find an agent to represent him, it makes me wonder where the justice is in the world of the printed page.

    Like

  12. I’d like to throw my little black book of hurts into the pyre. The one that catalogs all the slights I’ve endured, or made against myself; the one that I feel like I can whip out at a moment’s notice and say “I’m a victim of thus and such!” I don’t want to be that person. I understand that in order to heal, and become more healthy I have to acknowledge those things happened; but I don’t want to be imprisoned by those events.

    *pours the kerosene and paraffin on that sucker and tosses the lit match*

    Like

  13. My book is red and much like yours, however sadly it’s collecting dust. If I ever get my revision done I will probably remake my list. Possibly requery a few since my book feels like a shadow of the first shopping trip. Full disclosure? I so envy the editor. You’re so fortunate. I used a service but I wish I had an actual editor. I’ve made so many changes without one. I’m so adrift all the time because of it. You’ve done everything just right Stephen. You’re gonna get this. I know it.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: