How to find an literary agent by H.-J.John

With nearly one million manuscripts submitted to publishers, today’s and tomorrow’s author more than ever needs a competitive advantage on the road to success. The Berliner-by-choice, Axel Poldner, supports authors who have recognized this.

I regularly take the train from Switzerland to Germany. I enjoy the ride and the scenery and devote myself to writing and conversations with fellow travellers. I am a person who repeatedly questions things. I stand in front of the ticket machine and every time I wonder whether I should travel first or second class. This may seem pointless to some, but over time it has allowed me to get familiar with both classes and know what I am talking and writing about.
A rational person in this world fraught with choices is encouraged to weigh his options. The individual, personal consumption pattern must not be allowed to perish in everyday life. Customized offers are popular.

So I proceeded similarly when selecting my literary agent. First I sent a couple of texts to be edited. An exciting e-mail exchange resulted, until I realized that in addition to the mere service as it is usually provided in the publishing business, I received something more: Wow, there is a person who cares about me, who tries to explore my weaknesses and strengths, who encourages me in the latter and downplays the former. He sees the author in me, puts more confidence in me than my self-doubt previously permitted, and writes about success as if it’s already arrived but my eyes have not recognized it. Then I notice how much power lies in each of the emails from this person who has already helped so many others in publishing their books.

At the ticket machine I weigh my options based on the following question: Are the comfort, quiet, and quasi-guaranteed seat worth the extra money for a first class ticket, or will a five-hour trip in second class, squeezed between noisy children and weekend commuters and facing the uncertainties of every mass gathering, suffice? Weighing the options as if I were buying train tickets never entered my mind after those initial contacts with the literary agent.  Taking into account nights of writing, countless Marlboro or Camel without filters, fearing, hoping, and writing for the big hit, I make no compromises in the choice of my literary agent: definitely first class.

After reviewing the various agents in the literary market, Axel Poldner piqued my interest. Decades of experience with authors and publishers as well as film production companies and accompanying them to success – even debut authors – made the difference. Of course, initially, every foal is a great white hope. Whether it later turns into an outstanding dressage or jumping horse is uncertain. Part of it is nature and another part can be trained.
Authors are similar. Few make the breakthrough to the top of the book pyramid, even if they have the right literary agent. It depends on a variety of elements. Vinegar and oil alone do not make a Greek salad. The ingredients need the right mixture. Too much may be too little. One case of too little rarely comes alone.

Choosing the right literary agent is important and can be critical. The agent mediates between author and publisher or film production company. A dutiful literary agent tries to set his authors apart from the countless others. This is done via their work, but equally important is the significant improvement of the authors’ competitive positions, achieved through important pre-publication efforts. In short, an agent who can empathize well with the views of publishers is needed.

If a real publisher – the so-called vanity publishers will not be discussed here – has the choice between a promising author with a non-proofread book and an equally promising author with a ready-to-print book, the publisher will approach the author whose agent can provide a book that has already been proofread.

Unlike the case of the ticket machine, I did not have to debate for even a moment between first or second choice. Important decisions are easy. I am sure I have chosen well.

Just like I am, many other people are spoiled for choice. Some would not recognize good fortune or success if it knocked on their door and they saw it through the peephole. Others use reason and intuition as guides and do the right thing.

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Debt as opportunity by H.-J. John

Our esteemed Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel, has made the right decision. A Europe, in which Member States reach out to one another and stand united when problems arise, will be a stronger Europe.

Which further measures will move away from a national small-state mentality towards a European Alliance that is a global force to be reckoned with, politically and economically?

The website of the European Union offers little insight as far as this is concerned.  It describes the status quo in great detail. What becomes clear is this:  Only the structural work has been completed in the construction of the House of Europe.  The property has been purchased. The walls are up. The future residents are still undecided as to which rooms they want to live in.  Cooperation agreements have been concluded on the environment, a common currency and on fighting crime. But the big question is: how to proceed from here?

Naturally, EU citizens are feeling uncertain. And of course they are starting to listen to those who want do convince them that helping Greece is to their direct detriment.

Ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl had a vision. He spoke of German Unity and a United Europe. He did not address any problems that might arise.  Problems are solved as and when they occur. Ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl had a vision. And he let citizens participate in his vision.  Hence my appeal to the current government:  talk to your citizens directly. Let us know what the next measures in the construction of the House of Europe will be.

People love politicians with vision. As a note to the critics of a policy that has been working hard in developing the House of Europe for decades now:  join in this effort constructively.  Stop eyeing-up the prospect of seizing power to the detriment of our citizens. Only a Government that has our trust and backing will be able to master the major challenges we are facing today.

So what’s going to happen with Greece and other countries that are finding themselves in financial difficulties? Their governments are pro-Europe. We must help them.

Would it be possible for the Greek parliament to finally accept the notion of having their respective national budgets legally approved by the European parliament as a matter of course? On one hand, Greek citizens would no longer see their government as the scapegoat that implements austerity measures and is to be replaced at the next elections.  On the other hand, the act of providing bailout monies in exchange for a transfer of power to Brussels would strengthen the European idea.

Hans-Jürgen John of Johntext News wishing you strength and confidence in all the plans that will be implemented for the benefit of the citizens!

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Location Factors: Recognize what’s good for you by H.-J. John

Take a look around your world.

Look at the animals. They go where they like. If there are too many wolves in a pack, not all of them will be able to eat their fill and thrive.

Look at the plants. They grow best where they have everything they need. The trees in the forest don’t see a lot of grass.

Look at businesses. They’re looking for a place for their branches where they find everything they need for their economic survival – customers, infrastructure, tax benefits, trained workers.

Look at yourself. Are you happy and content? Then begin building your nest and start a family.

Is something disturbing you? Then move on. Recognize what’s good for you.

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John

Write and learn from it… by H.-J. John

Late summer days showing the first signs of fall are a perfect time to go hiking.
Go to the top of a hill or a mountain. Or even a church tower or other tall building. The point is: view what’s around you.
From your view up high, take a look at where you just came from. It’s hard to see the details from a distance. Yet you can see how things connect with each other.

Your life is composed of scenes. Like on TV – except there’s no camera team creating DVDs to help you remember the scenes later. You alone are responsible for storing and assessing memories of your past. So take advantage of the means available to you, even as you go along your way. Keep a journal!

Record and describe everything that you consider worth mentioning. Over the years, you’ll learn to distinguish between what’s important and what’s not. Because your time for writing is much shorter that the time you spend experiencing the many events and conversations that take place each day.

You will learn from your own experiences, and you will continue perfecting yourself.

When did I reach a goal, and why? When did I fail, and why? Did everything turn out the way I want it? Did I always behave properly toward other people? What experiences have I had, and what do I still want to experience?

© 2011 Hans-Jürgen John