Thursday, May 27, 2010

Searching for an Agent

Trying to find an agent is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. As some of you may know (because you know me personally) I started cruising the canal leading to publishing in 2007, which I had to stop because of health issues. Now 2010 seems to be the year I start getting things on track again. I’m sailing through that violent ocean of competition and harsh criticism; like before, I will not let the words of others put me down. In this industry, if you take everything personally, you’ll fail (it seems).

Just take it like a flyer on the street. You pick them up, but sometimes you never really look at them. They could be telling you what an awful person you are, but in the end, it’s just a flyer. Your work will be critiqued by these “flyers”. Just remember that they are just flyers. HOWEVER, (and this is the big “however”) if you notice that agents are pointing out the same thing or something similar, every time that you are rejected (besides the fact that your genre is just not what they represent) then you should take into consideration their overall idea of the reason they believe your work is not meant for them.

My first query is still in the process of polishing, and while I’m at it, I’m looking at more literary agencies, doing more research on the agent(s) that I plan to query. It is very nerve-wracking and what’s coming is even more stressful. What is it, you ask? The wait. Yes, the wait. Ladies and Gentlemen, waiting, the building suspense with every day that passes; I’m not looking forward to that part of publishing. But as frightening as it sounds, it is one of the most wonderful parts of this intense and long journey.

When you look back on it, after you get to publish, you will feel such a relief… I can’t wait until I’m at that point when I can look back at all this and say “man, I worked hard, and it was worth it.” I’m aware that all this work that I’m doing (researching agents, reading their blogs, looking for the titles and authors they represent and slowly painting a better image of them in my mind) is going to be rewarded more than I ever imagined. For now, I have to say adios. Good luck to you new authors on your journey and thank you my readers for following me.

I will continue to update this blog to keep you posted.

Thank you for following me in my journey.

Your writer,

James Fenix

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On My Way…

Good day my loyal followers,

Today I would like to share with all of you the current status of my journey to published Feather Spade.

Before we get into that, you all have to know and understands the steps to getting published. As many of you know, publishing can go about various ways. One of them and certainly the easiest (yet, I think, also the most troublesome) would be self-publishing. Now why didn’t I choose to self-publish? First off, you need money to self-publish, second, for any profit you obtain you have to file a tax form (not a big fan of those…) and last, but certainly not least, because I wanted to work hard like my heroes and mentors in the business. I wanted to go out there and show the world that no matter how tough it was, I could demonstrate persistence and I could be patient. I have always been able to accomplish anything I set my mind focused on. No matter how hard it is.

I was also inspired by a great novelist and philosopher, Ayn Rand. Her quote “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” That made me realize that if I want to get published all I need is to take my first steps, down a new road, armed with nothing but my ideas. I have to go out there and find a way to publish Feather Spade. I’ll have to work harder than I ever have, but it will be worth it. When I look back, at all that I have done, I will feel accomplished at last.

Now, one of the first steps you should take before setting out to become a published author is to find a guide that fills you in, not only on what is happening in the publishing industry, but also advices you on how to present yourself before potential agents. So, how do we do that? My advice is to go out to Barnes & Noble (or if you prefer going online, and buy a copy of “Writer’s Market: Guide to Getting Published”. This book will be your personal guide and advisor. It has different sections that explains all about publishing and the business. It is divided in different sections, so let’s say you are writing a non-fiction novel; there is a specific section in the book that will talk about publishing non-fiction. It will help you if you are planning to publish a: novel, short story, magazine article; whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

But how do we get an agent? I am going to be honest, getting an agent is not a walk in the park. You have to present yourself like a professional. Before skipping to and typing “literary agencies” consider the following:

1. You are (most likely) unpublished.

2. You have no idea how the publishing business works.

3. You don’t know what a query letter is.

First, pace yourself, you have all the time in the world to become published. You just need your trusty guide, serve yourself some coffee (preferably Colombian), and browse through the (next guide and advisor you should get your hands on) “Writer’s Market” – before we go on, let me just say that every year the book is updated to change and add publishers and literary agencies, so make sure that if you are starting your journey to getting published this year (that being 2010) you should look for “2010 Writer’s Market”. Now that we have covered that little tangent, we can browse through the pages of this book full of information on not only what makes a great query, but also what makes a well-written book proposal and synopsis.

Inside the pages of this book you will find the names of literary agencies and publishing houses (and what they are interested in representing and publishing). Each agent has his or her own preferences in which genre they would like to represent; so please don’t send an agent that is exclusively looking for short non-fiction what you think is the next Harry Potter.

I began my journey to publishing in early 2007. I queried many agents, some answered and some did not (the latter happens often, trust me you won’t hear a beep out of them). I had to stop in order to focus in my rising medical problems. It’s 2010 and I’m ready to begin my journey to publishing Feather Spade again.

My desk is teemed with rough drafts of query letters, open “Writer’s Market” books (all with several lines dyed with highlighter). The characters that make up the universe of Feather Spade sit beside me as I attempt to write a query to an agent that I have found (and I have researched thoroughly and have found he or she has a great interest in publishing what I have to offer). I’m still researching a couple more agencies, it’s only a matter of time before the first query letter flies out of my apartment in Miami to someone very important, to decide whether he or she will be the one that helps me bring you the adventure that is Feather Spade.

I will keep you updated, thanks for following me.

Your writer,

James Fenix

Words of a Phoenix

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Hello everyone,

I have a short announcement, I will be updating the blog every now and then with the status of Feather Spade. I thought about maybe creating a video blog on a Youtube channel, but that was thwarted by “forces beyond my understanding” to say the least. Reason why I wanted to do a video blog was because I thought that you might want to meet the man behind the posts, the vessel where all these ideas are confined in. The blog will continue being the means of communication between this writer and his faithful readers. I’m doing all this because I want you to be part of my journey to publishing Feather Spade.

Your writer,

James Fenix

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stories & Myths

Good day to you all,

I thought today I should start introducing you to my ways and styles. In my spare time I dabble in myths of various cultures. I am very attracted to Greek and Japanese mythology, personally, I think, that’s where the essential ideas of the plots I’ve written come from. I have not had the time to take a gander at African myths, but I think that those and Australian Aboriginal myths are some of the most ambiguous myths. Ambiguous in the way that, you really have to try and be part of their culture to understand what they mean. I don’t know if you understand what I’m trying to say?

Before I get carried away and start babbling on about myths, I want to explain how I’ve managed to incorporate that into my stories.

The amazing thing is that I have become so shaped by the way our ancestors wrote stories -- in which they speculated about things they could not explain -- that I don’t know if it is subconsciously done or there is just an ethereal muse whispering in my ear, but if I trace back the names of some of the characters in Feather Spade and (not all of my characters have) an alias, they will be linked, the name and the alias, and I swear to you – I had no idea how these two completely different things were related to each other and what’s more, how they have roots in mythology!

I’ll be giving more examples that involve Feather Spade in due time. I believe that the relationship of an author and his audience is a lot like the beginning of a romantic relationship. They’re alike in the sense that you have to get to know the author’s style and essense, judge if you like them or you (somehow) relate to them, then slowly progress into a more serious commitment. In this particular case, that commitment is a following. Much like some of us follow J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter (and future projects) and how some others follow Stephanie Meyer and her Twilight series.

Now back from that little tangent, let us continue on the topic of my stories and mythology. What I find amazing is how easily we can turn our imaginations into our little myths. If we look at some folkloric myths (i.e. Colombian myths and legends) we have little folk stories that are dark and mysterious and have this esoteric aura to them. These stories are usually very frightening, but there is always a moral. The fact that those myths and legends were created in order to reflect a moral upon us, shows us how the imagination of a person evolves by simply exploring an idea. To take a moral, like a skeleton, and dress it with tendons, muscles, veins, a skin, and bring it to life is a demonstration that the imagination is capable of an art that is beyond the understanding of most people. Only when you truly master that imagination – YOUR imagination, will you understand how your mind works, how you really see things, and how your creations reflect who you are.

Writing, like painting is an art. I have always said this to my colleagues and friends: Books are like paintings, because the pages of the text are the canvas and the words we use to describe the scenarios inside those books, are the colors splashed on the canvas; they both show us a picture of what we can only see with our mind’s eye.

Thank you for taking your time to read what I have to say, I promise that I will try my best not to disappoint you.

Your writer,

James Fenix

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Who is James Fenix?

My name is (a pen name!) James Fenix.

I moved to Miami, Florida from Medellin, Colombia, eight years ago; I was ten years-old at the time. If you did the math correctly (which, if you didn’t, I’d be scared) you would see that I’m 18 years-old now and I can assure you that I am much more eloquent than I was back then.

I have suffered a lot, just like any other person. I like to learn from the past and I try not to forget it because forgetting it is just allowing it to let it occur again.

Like anyone else, I have a life with a very long story. We are all different worlds, and we all have different stories! I graduated from a public school in June of 2009 and I’m just starting out in a community college. I am the head and founder of a paranormal group going by the name of the Saints of Phoenix Paranormal Society. We have members all over the country, we have forum in which we discuss locations to investigate and discuss different types of hauntings.

I’m an avid reader; among my favorites is the Harry Potter series. I also enjoy the works by Ayn Rand and plays by Shakespeare (Macbeth, being my favorite play). J.K. Rowling is my hero (if you did not guess when I mentioned Harry Potter among my favorite books).

I'm a writer and I've finished first story. I'm currently trying to publish it. This book means everything to me. It is called the Feather Spade and I'll do anything for it. I ran role play forums since 2005, but I have decided that I need more time to focus on Feather Spade. I cannot write two things at once, and running a role play forum (for Harry Potter, Teen Titans, and Naruto) is already a very stressful job. Why stressful? I was not only running the forums, I was writing the plots for the members to participate in. After countless plots I decided that I was better off just focusing all that creative energy on Feather Spade.

I did obtain a lot of experience from writing plots and participating in many role play sessions. I like to think that I polished my skills as a writer there. It’s a great feeling knowing that you have others like me, who are writing their own stories and are polishing their skills through role play by writing fan fiction, writers willing to help each other in the pursuit of finding their own true style of writing.

I hope that you feel comfortable with me, James Fenix, as we swim through my mind, as we explore the cavern of ideas. I would like to share my stories with you and I hope that you and I can bond and share our realities.

My name is James Fenix and I want to be your writer.