Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lesson Learned: Having Issues? Talk To Your Agent

I've had concerns about the work my agent has put into the novel, as well as the saleability of the novel itself. It's been over a year since she asked for those first thirty pages, and still no sale. No huge advance, no writing groupies, no Ferrari in the driveway (you laugh, but that's what all my friends seem to think is going to happen when I finally do get published).

Sometimes it gets me down, and I start to wonder why there haven't been any bites, or why she didn't send the novel to this house or that house. Basically it all boils down to this: David, still unpublished, is feeling insecure about his ability and his future. Hey, it happens. I can admit it.

So I've been asking my friends for advice. Hey, should I say this? Do you think I should move on? What do you think...etc. etc. etc. Several of them (much wiser than I) gave me this simple bit of advice: Talk to your agent.

Sounds good, right? Sounds like something I should have come up with all on my own, right? Yup.

Well, in case y'all haven't figured it out yet, sometimes I can be a real dumbass (ask my wife; she'll tell ya!). So of course I never said anything to my agent, instead letting all that stuff eat at me while I pestered friends and associates for their thoughts.

So today I finally wrote her after seeing an announcement in Publisher's Lunch for a book sale along the same lines as mine. I won't go into the email in detail, but I asked her a few questions about why we hadn't tried there, and why she thought I might not be getting any bites. It was both a confused and a mildly paranoid email. Was it my writing? The genre? Is the idea too ambitious for a debut novelist? What, praytell, was happening?

She wrote me back less than two hours later. I just had time to go home from work, walk the dogs, and eat dinner. Wanna know the first line of her reply? Here it is:

"Dear David: Your writing is wonderful."

There was more to the email (good points, too), but the bottom line is she knew what was wrong, and she addressed it right off the bat in a manner that both soothed my frayed nerves and made me feel a little better about where I am and where I am going.

She didn't take my email as angry or accusing, or anything other than just a poor guy in need of a little reassurance (the kind that doesn't come from friends or family - you other writers out there know how important that kind of thing is). And even though I haven't made her a cent, she took a moment to give it to me, right away, and let me know I'm still in the running and she still takes me seriously.

That made me feel a lot better.

It's good to have an agent. Now I just gotta give her a better book.

Gonna go work on that right now.

See Y'all!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Time For Another Long, Boring Football Post

I’d like to take a moment to do yet another football post. This post will get into scheduling (sort of) and historical Super Bowl results, so you non-football types may find it a little long winded and boring. Sorry about that, non-football types. I still love ya. Angelle, if you come across this post, you’ll probably either (A) find something interesting or (B) at the very least agree with me.

First, some quick basics as to the structure of the NFL (for you non-FB types). The NFL is divided into two conferences – the NFC and the AFC. Each conference is divided into 4 divisions of 4 teams each. The winningest team in each division is the division champion, and moves on to their conference playoffs. The playoffs are sudden death, and the last two surviving teams from each conference compete for the conference championship. These two conference champions face off in the Super Bowl. Got it? OK.

So. Anyway, down to business. Someone (a Pats fan) once told me (quite seriously, I might add) the only reason the Cowboys have won so many division championships (14), conference championships (8), and Super Bowl championships (5) is because they typically have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. I have heard this echoed a time or two, usually by fans of losing teams (big surprise there).

Well, I have to defend my ‘Boys, here. You want proof that the Cowboys NEVER have an easy schedule? Here it is:

42 Super Bowls have been played. That’s right. 42. Now subtract 20 Super Bowls, because that’s the number of SB’s that have been won by AFC teams. That leaves 22 Super Bowl victories in the NFC. Here’s the breakdown of those 22 SB wins:

Dallas Cowboys: 5
San Francisco 49ers: 5
NY Giants: 3
Wasington redskins: 3
Green Bay Packers: 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1
St. Louis Rams: 1
Chicago Bears: 1

Okay, so what does that tell you? What if I told you that Dallas, NYG, and Washington all play in the same division; the NFC East? Here’s what that means: of the 22 SB victories for the NFC, 11 of them (that’s right, HALF of the total NFC SB wins) have been won by teams in the NFC East. Dallas’ division.

Look at the remaining 11 and you’ll see 5 of them (almost half) were won by San Francisco. Throw in the Rams’ win and that’s over half of the remaining eleven wins for the NFC West.

Green Bay and Chicago are both NFC North teams, so that takes care of 4 more wins. Leaving the Bucs as the only team in the NFC South to ever bring home a SB Trophy.

Looking to the AFC’s 20 victories, you see a much different picture.

AFC East: 6 (Pats – 3, Dolphins – 2, Jets -1)
AFC West: 6 (Raiders – 3, Broncos – 2, Chiefs – 1)
AFC North: 6 (Pittsburgh – 5, Ravens – 1)
AFC South: 2 (both Colts)

Over in the AFC you see a much more even spread across the divisions. Granted, Pittsburg is hogging most of the SB Wins in the AFC North, but that's ok.

All right, ya followin' me so far? Good. Now, you may be wondering just what this has to do with the Cowboys’ schedule. Simple: each team is required to play the other three teams in their division TWICE during the regular season. Not once, but twice. That means Dallas has to play a total of four games against the other two SB winning teams in their division every year, and another two against the last team in the division, the Philadelphia Eagles, who have been to the SB twice but have yet to win.

Now add to that fact that all teams in the NFL are required to play against the teams from the other three divisions (in their own conference) whose divisional standing for the previous season equaled their own. Eample: in 2008 Dallas, the NFC East Champions for 2007, will have to play the three other NFC division champions during the regular season (the Bucs, the Seahawks, and the Packers, to be specific). If Dallas had placed last in their division, they would play against the other three last-place teams. Ya follow me?

Now take into account that Dallas has won 14 Division Championships (more, by the way, than any other NFL team). That means they have had to face these other division champions 14 times. 14 seasons facing the NFC’s best teams, IN ADDITION to those SB winning Redskins and Giants.

So taking all that into account, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who says Dallas historically has one of the easiest schedules in the NFL is full of poo poo. If anything, Dallas statistically has one of the hardest schedules in the NFL year after year.

So there you have it, folks. Irrefutable evidence (that probably only one or two of you care about) that Dallas is no fair-weather, wimpy team. The Cowboys earned their spot at the top of the NFL. :)

Thank you. I'll step down off my soap box now.

See Y'all!