things I've learned

Three Things I Learned This Year (2023)

1. One-on-one time with an agent is useless. You pay money to pitch your book only for them to reject you later when they don’t have to do it to your face. They can’t tell you why your book keeps getting rejected because they haven’t read the book, only the query letter. Either agents are taking on less new clients or they are relying more on form responses or no responses. As if that’s becoming the new norm. Which makes sense from a business standpoint–don’t give the crazy person who thinks they were ordained by God to write a novel any leeway to keep submitting. Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

2. Disney has a brand dilution problem. They are spending too much money on diminishing returns. Everything they’ve released this year has been tepid and unremarkable at best. They need to tighten up and focus on the basics of storytelling–good scripts, clever new actors, proven directors that serve the story. You cannot rest on the momentum of what’s come before. Momentum is bullshit. You make this movie so you can make the next one. Be like a shark, never stop swimming. Be like Barbie. Be like The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

3. Your past writing is not as bad as you think it is. I thought Naga Story was a dud when I was done writing it. But I went back to it and it’s actually pretty good. Weird but good. The ending’s a bit dodgy, but we’ll see what peer feedback thinks. The thing is, you cannot see the quality of a work while your nose is pressed so close up against it. An artist focused on the brush strokes of an ear is going to forget about the big picture and get disheartened because ears are ugly in the first place. They’re not taking a step back to see the ear is hardly significant among the rest of the painting. Or the chef who thinks his meal is crap because he gets a big whiff of the chili powder he’s putting in. It’s one ingredient, not the whole meal, which might be delicious if you just try it.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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