James M Cain, author of the best-seller THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE said the book was so-called because when his postman was returning his rejected manuscripts he always rang twice

A few years ago, Samuel Moffie submitted The Perfect Martini to 100 literary agents. Actually, he submitted  the first twenty pages of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions disguised as The Perfect Martini. Only one agent responded positively, but that’s because the agent recognized the original author. 99 agents declined.

Which just goes to show, what the fuck do agents know!  Or care.

Agents are concerned with commercial viability, first and foremost. Literary quality is a secondary bonus. Now, if Vonnegut wrote a novel where a dominant vampire becomes master to a naive, submissive, shape-shifting werewolf, I’m sure he would have fared better.

Why spend months, or even years, writing and submitting queries to agents who are clearly looking the other way? If they passed on Kurt Vonnegut, what chance do you have?

Brian Marggraf writes in his blog; I queried over 300 agents, followed all their silly and varied submission requirements, I know, no attachments, got it, waited to hear back for weeks sometimes, other times, didn’t hear back at all, even with partial or full manuscript requests, read all their canned responses, I’m not taking on new authors at this time, the work doesn’t fit with my list. Blah, blah, blah. My tip – don’t send any more. Take your work straight to the reader.Within one month, I built a platform, designed my cover, formatted my ebook, published, promoted, marketed, and advertised. Made sales.

He has got a point. And my postman? Yeah, the fucker always rings twice.


The first draft over everything is shit– Ernest Hemingway

There speaks one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Some advice, such as the above, is common sense, and some, such as this ‘write about what you know’ is shit. If all writers followed that advice how many great books would have been written? Would Orwell have written 1984? would Terry Pratchett have written any book at all? would Shakespeare have written Julius Caesar?  The list goes on. Write about what you don’t know might be more appropriate!

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham

The following 21 tips may offer some insight – but I wouldn’t bank on it! 

21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors

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