How To Get An Agent!!!!!!!!

(Hello readers, this is Caleb. Dr. Tulkinghorn has taken a moment away from his book tour to set us right on how to catch the attention of agents. Take it away, Dr. Tulkinghorn!)

Dear Struggling Writers,

You will probably never be published, you dim beets. Why do you keep reading this blog?

Still here? Oy!

Here are my three key advices:

-- In the olden days (late 1990s), sending a manuscript on perfumed paper was enough. But now everyone takes manuscripts via email. What to do? Get creative! “Dear Agent, before reading my hastily scribbled query, please inhale deeply and imagine this email is scented with a perfume endorsed by a major celebrity of your choice."

-- Agents don’t care about your wilting-souffle plot ideas and monotone-on-paper voicing. What they really want to know is, have you tested your manuscript? “Dear Agent, you’d be a Cornish hen -- a fool I say! -- to turn down my YA manuscript!!! It’s written in a second grade voice with 100-plus syllable sentences and a protagonist who is 11! I testify that it will rival J.K. Rowling because I read it to my granddaughter one night and then hugged her tightly until she gasped that it was good!”

-- Finally, readers, no one will tell you this but me, your one true mentor. Getting an agent has NOTHING to do with talent. It’s who you know, stu-pit!. You MUST write at least one nationally published author each week, begging (if she is a woman) or demanding (if he is manly) that they send your manuscript to their agent. This is the way business is done!

Now, readers, I’ve had a trying day. I’ve been vexed by autograph seekers at my hotel, and one of my personal assistants quit, claiming I’m “high maintenance." My daily foot massages are medically necessary, dammit! Who needs employees? Pish! 

Annnnyway, practice what I preach, and I’ll be around again with more key advices for you just as soon as my schedule allows. And if you know of anyone with a servile nature and muscular fingers, text me their resume with photo.

M. Guppy Tulkinghorn

Dr. Tulkinghorn’s new book, “The Joy of Suffering Morons Gladly” will be available as a ground-breaking audio-only book this week. This is because everyone knows that print books have already flat-lined, and soon audio books will be the only thing anyone ever buys -- get your damned iPods spit-shined and ready. Besides, Dr. Tulkinghorn did the audio version himself, recording it on a $13 Indonesian digital voice recorder during long nights in first class. The result is a bon vivante mix of shocking, cozy, grumpy, and a couple other dwarves. Download it NOW from*!!!! Guppy, as he is known to close, close friends, will be doing author appearances this week in New York City, Park City, and Emerald City. M. Guppy Tulkinghorn is married to his wife, Wopsie “Miggs” Tulkinghorn. They live in Middle America, where they value their privacy and their collection of antique, yet quite serviceable, guns.

*Aubible is a quasi-French-religious upstart determined to overthrow the dominance of in the online marketplace. Tulkinghorn was an early investor.

A Store Inside Your eBook

Publishers are launching another innovation in digital books -- they want you to go shopping inside your ebook.

Here is what the new eWorld looks like -- you buy an ebook, and then you are offered the opportunity to click and purchase related items. And unlike other versions of this, now these "buy now" links are embedded right in critical parts of the book, rather than stuck at the end of the book.

This is really brand-new stuff. Last month, a company called Cathedral Rock Publishing launched the first "Book IS the Store" application, which in this case was a multimedia ebook that contained its own music soundtrack: Cathedral of the Senses. It works just like a movie, where song excerpts are played during appropriate moments of a scene, according to the company. But with Cathedral of the Senses, if you, the reader, likes the song excerpt, you can click out directly from the eBook and purchase the entire song. After the purchase, the eBook reopens to the exact place the reader left off.

This will be just the tip of the digital iceberg. I can see the day quickly coming when the opportunity to shop inside your ebook will be common place -- and then there will be a backlash, and some publishers and writers will begin to advertise their ebooks as "shopping free" for all those who want the "old" ebook style back again. 

Cathedral Rock Publishing specializes in "monetizing" ebooks for publishers and authors, "with an emphasis on re-purposing existing catalogs (of music, for example) at a fraction of the price of creating new ones." You can see for yourself here --

Eric wins the Nebula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eric James Stone won the Nebula Award for his novella this weekend! 

Eric's novella, titled "That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made" has been a favorite of mine since it was written -- an enormously creative story unlike anything else out there, which is saying a lot. 

I'm nearly speechless with joy. Eric was one of my very first writing students 11 years ago. He was unpublished at the time and has since been published around the world. He was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula this year, a rare honor to be nominated for both simultaneously.

I'm so pleased!

In addition to being my student long ago, Eric has been a member of my writers group for years now. We are all hugely proud of him. This is a big day!

You can read Eric's story here.

Digitally Signed Books: The New Fad

The Los Angeles Times announced today that there is a new big thing in the world of ebooks: the e-signing. For ages authors have sat around bookstores doing signings for fans. I myself collect signed books. But now clever authors are taking this old marketing tool to a whole new place -- the internet.

Robert Kiyosaki is writes the "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" series, which we've all heard of. And he's not new to avant garde marketing. After famous financial guru Suze Orman gave away digital copies of one of her books in 2009 on the Oprah show, Kiyosaki did sort of the same thing, giving away a copy of one of his books, albeit in pieces, as he was writing it. When the book was done, he stopped giving it away and it immediately became a New York Times bestseller. (So did Suze Orman's.)

But now, inspired by fans who were asking him to sign their Kindles, Kiyosaki has invented a new phenomena -- a one-day-only digitally signed book. I've included a copy of the digital book plate in this post. Here is what he told the LA Times:

"You always need some kind of incentive to make things exciting and to get people to pay attention to you," he said.  "Our job is to attract as many eyeballs as possible. And in the world of competition you have to do something different, and autographed e-books is something new."

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE_Cov#199021Indeed.

The special digital signature will be given away only to those who buy a copy of his book, called "Unfair Advantage," on May 26. Book price: $10.

He is not alone in digital innovation. The LA Times reports in their article that two weeks ago, "children's author Sandra Boynton signed copies of her e-book "The Going to Bed Book" at a Barnes & Noble location in New York, using a stylus and special copies of the book offered for the Nook Color e-reader, according to CNet."

And this:
"A new company in St. Petersburg, Fla., called Autography is working to build an application that would allow authors to send autographed pages to a consumer's e-reader, complete with personalized messages."
So the publishing world continues to evolve at digital speed. I'll let the Kiyosaki have the last word, per the LA Times:
"We won't know for another 10 years if this will be collectible or not," Kiyosaki said of the signed e-book. "I treasure my autographed books, and I have my old copies of books that I hold onto with the signed page and I cherish them. I don't know if a digital page with my signature will mean the same for someone as my signature in their book, on paper. But there's one way to find out." 

A New Genre Is Born: Instant eBooks

2011, as I predicted in January (natch), has indeed become the year the publishing industry was turned inside out. This week, Random House coined a new term, and a new genre, with the announcement that it is publishing the world's first instant book.
“It was conceived last Monday and we bought it on Friday. It’s an experiment and it’s very exciting," said Random House senior editor, Drummond Moir.
The book, if you haven't guessed it already, is about the death of Osama bin Laden. Why create an instant ebook? It's topical, so it might make money.
More importantly, the birth of this new genre could be big news for traditional publishers and serious writers. After all, until now the toast of the ebook world has really been indie writers suddenly making careers after being spurned by traditional publishers. But topical "instant books" seem a lot less likely to be taken on by indie writers, both because they are nonfiction and because they require the ability to write on a killer deadline with supreme accuracy. (We used to call that journalism). Traditional publishers have the resources, and access to expert writers, to pull of instant books. So let the competition begin. 
The book, which comes out next Monday, will be a collection of essays by experts in the field. Price: $1.99. Included are essays from Karen Hughes, Bing West, Richard Haas, Andrew Exum, and Jon Meacham, ex-Newsweek editor and best-selling author who is now executive editor at Random House in October. Random House has no plans to publish in a physical edition. 

Author Craft Project with Marie Osmond!

(Hello readers, this is Caleb. I’ve turned today’s blog entry over to Dr. Tulkinghorn with a preview of his newest book. Catch him next week as he makes a guest appearance on Martha Stewart Living! Take it away, Dr. Tulkinghorn!)

Dear Struggling Writers,

You will never be published because you are not rich and famous. I don’t mean to break your heart, but the truth is like a jailhouse shank.

You have talent (in buckets) and ambition (or at least you like to blog). So why hasn’t one of your hastily typed out manuscripts been scooped up? Because you don’t have access to Oprah and Good Morning America! Duh!

(Alternative: Get your manuscript on a shelf at Osama’s mansion. The media will then spend days getting experts to analyse every blurry word. So, Nathan Bransford will be calling you.)

So you’ll never be published. As a balm for your deep pain, I suggest crafting with celebrities. 

This week’s craft project: Making Cups with Marie Osmond In Several Easy Steps.

  1. Get a copy of one of Marie’s books. No need to purchase. If you don’t have one that you’re looking to get rid of, call a neighbor, or ask on Facebook. Or look in the trash can of your local library.
  2. Fold an origami cup.
  3. Add decorative milk jug ring, or any other debris from your kitchen counter.
  4. Now you have several options. You could mail a cup to Marie. She’ll probably want to add them to her QVC products list (see, being rejected by publishers because you are not famous can make you rich in the end). Or you could fill your paper cup with water and display garden flowers in it for a few minutes until the cup melts. And then you could mail it to Marie.
So, that’s Crafting With Celebrities for this week. Please post photos of your paper cups for all my readers to see.

M. Guppy Tulkinghorn

Dr. Tulkinghorn’s new book, “Crafting With Unspeakably Awful Celebrity Memoirs -- Don’t Let The Paper Go To Waste,” will be available on QVC this week. So if you are one of those sad, homely women with a lot of cats and no friends and huge credit card debt who frequent that channel, then stay tuned! If you are serious about becoming a writer, Dr. Tulkinghorn has three pieces of free advice to help you become a celebrity, so you can get published, dear pumpkin-bumpkins: 1) Put one of your children in a large balloon and call CNN. 2) Hang out with Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen. 3) Throw copies of your manuscript at the Rolls Royce of Kate and Prince Whatsisbucket at their huge televised wedding. M. Guppy Tulkinghorn is married to his wife, Wopsie “Miggs” Tulkinghorn. They live in Middle America.