Google Alerts - Not for Me


After only 4 days I've probably gotten nearly 100 alerts from Google Alerts. I signed up for 4 different notifications. But none of them had anything to do with me or my writing, so I've stopped them since they were just cluttering my in-box.

Now, after listening to the critics (for a few years now), I've decided to try and bring Sweet Revenge up to modern day. Everything I hear is that novels set in the '60, unless they're about the Vietnam war or something like that, are a hard sell. So, now I've decided to turn it into a modern day novel and see if that helps.

Wish me luck.

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, August 28, 2008

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I just learned there's such a thing as Google Alerts. Evidently, it's a utility that can alert you whenever a key phrase, such as the title of your book, or your name, is used. I just signed up for three phrases, "Sweet Revenge," "GERTA," and "Paul West - writer."

Fascinating! In the 10 or so minutes I've been signed up I've gotten a whole bunch of responses. People are using my key phrases, but mostly for other things, not because they're discussing me or my work. In short, it's a good way to accumulate trash in your in-basket. I'll keep it up for a few days, but if it seems like it's more trash than help, I'll stop it.

We'll see.
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Have any of you (all 1 or 2 of you) ever noticed that many, if not most, agents who accept e-mail queries never respond? To me, that's plain rude. It's like not responding to a very legitimate business offer. Plus, it keeps the writer's hopes up unnecessarily. If an agent doesn't like what he/she sees, what is the problem of just hitting the reply key, instead of the delete key, and type in "not for me," then hit the send key, then they can hit the delete key. It's got to be a whole less work than the old snail mail method of slipping a reject slip into an envelope, licking the seal and sealing it, then carting it off to the mailbox.

Okay, enough for my rant of the day.

What do Mormons believe? I haven't broached this subject for a while.

When Jesus organized his church during his mortal ministry, he had a definite organization that included prophets, apostles, elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. It also included bishops and evangelists (or as we now call them patriarchs). So, what happened to that structure? It was evident from the original 12 Apostles actions that they needed to maintain that number of apostles (12). At first, they chose Barnabus to replace Judas Iscariot who had apostatized and committed suicide. Later, they called Paul to the holy apostleship.

So, again, one might ask, what happened?

With the social pressures, persecution, logistical problems, and general apostasy within the church itself, one-by-one the apostles died off (all except for John the beloved). Ravening wolves entered the church as predicted by Paul, and the keys to the priesthood, held by the 12, were lost. Thus began the so-called "dark ages," or the "great apostasy." It lasted nearly 1800 years and didn't end until God reappeared to a boy named Joseph Smith. Through him, the keys to the priesthood were restored. The authority to organize the church in it's former structure was restored.

More later.
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I just sent out 10 more E-queries yesterday. One was a status query and I got a nice personal note of rejection about an hour later. The other 9 were to new agents. Then, I got one back within a few minutes of sending it out saying SWEET REVENGE was not what he's looking for. Oh, well. So, who is looking for something like SWEET REVENGE? That's the huge question.

Then, this morning, I got two more rejections.

Wish me luck with the remaining 6 queries, plus a ton of others I sent out earlier that the agents haven't responded to yet.

I'll probably need to do more status querying in a few weeks as many of my old queries have been out for nearly 3 months now.
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Did you miss me (all 1 or 2 of you)? I've been to California to see my family and tour San Francisco and lay on the beach at Santa Cruz. It was wonderful. But now I'm back.

I've made some interesting observations regarding asking for critiques of query letters and synopses. I've post mine on several different sites and got some great ideas from members of each. But, I found that no matter how good the query/synopsis is, these people will always find something wrong.

Just a word to the wise. It's up to the author (me in this case) to say "enough." Somewhere along the line, I have to say it's good enough to begin sending it out, or I will never send it out.

So, with that said, I've totally revised my query (again) and have written what I think is a pretty good synopsis, though it's still a tad too long. Most people say it should only be one page, single spaced, or two double spaced. Mine is 2 1/2 pages, double spaced. Not impossible to overcome, but I'm afraid if I cut any more, I'll either lose the story idea, or make the verbiage sound stilted. Anyway, I will keep working on it.
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