Cory Benner





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Linguistic Debris . . .

Hunting for An Agent. . .

January 7, 2017

Tags: Agent, Parachute Moon, Hunting

Ah, welcome back!

So I blogged in October and November but somehow realized that I was a slacker in December and didn't post anything. Actually, I wasn't really slacking. Of course, I could use the "holiday" excuse but in reality I was busy soliciting agents.

I was busy doing what?

Well, I wrote a book called Parachute Moon. Proofread the crap out of it. Had tons of people read it and review it. Made changes to it. Edited it. Re-worded stuff. Cut stuff. Cut more stuff. Streamlined stuff. Tried to perfect the thing. Took freakin' years.

Then I completely re-did this website. Total revamp.

In the meantime, I wrote, recorded, and released my song (thanks again to Rod Feltman!) called "Parachute Moon." It's the same song that Carl Jenkins, the protagonist in my novel, sings to his soulmate.

I also have this blog thingy going, plus a Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page, and an Instagram account.

I know, I know. . . so what do I want? A medal or something?? A pat on the back for all this shameless promoting I've been doing?

Nope. I want an agent.

See, an agent works as quality control for publishers. I can try to hawk (or is it hock?) my book directly to a publisher, but there would be no quality control. They'll never take a look. So I have to get an agent.

Publishers like agents, because publishers know that agents won't waste their time pushing crap or something that won't sell. So. . . if I get an agent, my chances of becoming published increase exponentially.

The problem is . . . it's really hard to get an agent. Like really, really, really hard. Super duper hard. You hear about all of these daunting stats: basically if you're an unknown quantity (which I am) then the odds of securing an agent are around 1%.

Gulp. That kinda sucks. No, actually, that totally sucks.

So what's a person to do? Well, a few things:

1. Write a really good query letter to an agent that gets them interested in your book (check)

2. Submit all necessary materials to said agent (synopsis, sample chapters, bio, etc.) (check)

3. Make sure the book you have written is revised, edited, and hopefully really good and commercial (check)

4. Have a good social media platform -- Facebook fan page, blog, website, Instagram, Twitter, etc. (check)

5. Do something a little different for promotion. . . something that will hopefully "set me apart." Something like writing, recording, and releasing a song on iTunes, Pandora, Google Play, etc. etc. that is featured in the book? Yep. (check)

6. Have something unique to say about my book. Something like the fact that it was inspired by a real-life story. A real-life story about a couple who dated over 50 years ago, fell in love, became separated but then reunited over 5 decades later to become married? (check)

7. Provide "proof" of this real-life story by videotaping this couple telling their story to my class, seeking permission from the family to post this video online, and then posting it on this here website and on YouTube? (check)

8. Hope and pray and nervously await an answer back from the agent (s) I've solicited. (check)

9. Work on the second and third books in the series while I wait to see if I can get representation for the first one? (check)

10. Did I mention hope and pray and nervously await an answer back from the agent(s) I've pitched to?

There you have it. I think I've done my part. I don't mind failing. We learn from failing. However, I refuse to look back with any regrets. No "I should've recorded and released that song," no "I should've done more with social media," no "I should've proofread it better, no "I should've done this or that." Nope. I think I've done everything possible (and then some) to inch that 1% chance that I have to maybe, say, optimistically, a 10% chance.

And that's all I can hope for. I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Thanks for reading my ramble. 'Til next time.

Happy Trails,

CB

Parachute Moon -- The Song

November 28, 2016

Tags: Parachute Moon, song

Okay gang, time to update my blog!

So this is the second time that I'm trying to write this blog entry. The first version of this entry that I wrote several minutes ago totally disappeared and I have no idea where it went!? Hmmmm . . .

Anyway, thank you to everybody who checked out my song, "Parachute Moon." I wrote it specifically to go with the book. The song is a bit of an outlier in comparison to the other songs that I've written over the years. This particular song was meant to be a heartfelt, meaningful, and deeply personal song that Carl Jenkins, the protagonist of the novel, wrote for his soulmate. It's the song that's featured in the novel. I am beyond flattered, and, quite frankly, shocked by the overwhelmingly positive feedback that I've received from those who have listened to it. Despite the personal nature of the song, it seems as though many of you can relate (or want to relate) to it. That's awesome!

I've been writing and songwriting for over 15 years, and as a result, I have a lot of songs that I would like to eventually record. I wrote "Parachute Moon" about six years ago as I was crafting my novel. However, I never had the financial means to professionally record any of these songs. It's super expensive!

Enter Rod Feltman. He is an AMAZING guitar player and is in a heavy metal Christian band called Sardonyx. He's currently the calculus teacher where we teach. He has his own recording studio and was generous and gracious enough to offer to record and produce "Parachute Moon" along with other songs that I hope to eventually shape into an album. I think that the sonic production of "Parachute Moon" is outstanding . . . a breezy, acoustic, "beachy" kinda song that really fits the novel. Rod did a wonderful job recording and producing it.

So thank you Rod Feltman! I look forward to recording my other songs together. I'm very blessed to have gotten to know him over the past several years. He's truly a really good dude (and I'm not just saying that!) and has been an inspiration to me in many ways.

*** Disclaimer: he IS a Dallas Cowboys fan though. . .

Thanks for reading my ramble. 'Til next time.

Happy Trails,

CB



Beowulf? Or Soulmates?

October 27, 2016

Tags: Beowulf, Soulmates, Story, Book

Well first of all, thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. I know you have a million other things you can be doing, so the fact that I cornered your attention for a few minutes is pretty awesome.

To begin, the first question I get ALL of the time is this: "Why did you write this book?"

And I know what you're thinking: I'm the guy that teaches Macbeth, Gilgamesh, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, . . . and Beowulf. I mean, freakin' BEOWULF!! I'm the guy telling everybody to suck it up. Telling my track team to "Beowulf up" when they're running consecutive 400s. Handing out the track team Beowulf Award after a particularly epic, tough, gutsy performance. Telling my students to never fear taking tests, but rather, telling them that they have to slay those tests. Crush those tests. Demolish those tests. Don't fear the test . . . the test should fear you!

Sooo. . . I'm also the same guy that wrote a love story about soulmates?? Hmmm.

Yeah, I guess I better explain.

Several years ago, a student who was in both my English and Speech class asked me if she could give an informative speech on soulmates.

Informative, I thought to myself. She means persuasive. Informative implies that she has some type of verifiable proof.

Before I could answer, as if she were reading my mind, she said, "Mr. B, I have proof. I'd like to bring in my 80-year-old (I feel like I should be writing out the word eighty instead of using the number, but it's my blog so whatever. . .) grandmother and her fiance to talk about their story. They dated 62 years ago, went their separate ways, but re-connected within the last year. They're going to get married now."

Whoa. (Doing my best Neo impression.)

She had me interested. It wasn't Beowulf, granted, but it sounded incredible. Almost impossible. Soulmates? Really? They don't exist. A nice concept, but not a reality. However, I was hooked. I couldn't wait to hear more.

And the story they shared was incredible.

Stay tuned for more . . .

Thanks for reading my ramble. 'Til next time.

Happy Trails,

CB









Selected Works

Romance/Fiction
Parachute Moon is the story of Carl Jenkins, an elderly man longing to be reunited with his soulmate. Click the title for more information.