Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wanted: Your Fiction and Poetry Submissions

I caught the mentoring bug back in 2013. Back then, I was working in Monroe College’s English department. A vacancy had sprung up in the faculty sponsorship of the campus Poetry Club. I thought what the hell, let’s see what these kids have to offer.

Some of the poets, eh, they didn’t do much for me; however, I was blown away by some of talent in the Poetry Club. Most notably, by my friend Shawn Hudson, whose grim poetry detailing life on the streets in the Bronx really appealed to my gritty and edgy sensibilities.

Talent can come from anywhere. Sure, many of the “name brand” authors deserve their reputation. No one is questioning that they’re good. But as both a writer and a businessman, I’ve made a career out of finding diamonds in the rough.

Are you a diamond?

Sending Your Submissions

Here’s the deal. My blog posts can only help writers in the abstract; however, every situation is distinct. That’s one of the reasons why I’m opening The Literary Game to submissions. I want to help writers directly.

Of course, there’s a condition. You have to be brave. I’ve been a publisher and editor at literary magazines for six years. Form rejections are polite. That politeness doesn’t help authors. An author who receives a form rejection often has no idea why their work was rejected.

I’m doing things differently.

Every author who sends me their work agrees to the fact that they will receive an honest critique. If your work is derivative, full of spelling and grammatical errors, and awash with missed opportunities, I’ll tell you just that.

It comes down to a question: Do I want politeness or do I want the truth?

If you want politeness, please go elsewhere. If you want the truth, I would love to check out your writing.

Submissions Guidelines

I’ll try to keep this simple.

Fiction: I’m accepting both short fiction and novel excerpts. Samples exceeding 3,000 words will be deleted unread. All writing should be pasted in the body of an email.

Poetry: Send up to three poems in the body of an email.

Cover Letters: If you truly like this blog, please go ahead and mention it. If you’re just looking for free feedback or a chance at a publishing credit, that’s cool. No need to BS by including a cover letter.

Genre: All genres accepted.

Email: theliterarygame at gmail dot com

The Fun Part

Works of exceptional quality will be published on the blog, but so will works in dire need of improvement.

My goal here isn’t to embarrass anyone, but rather to be honest about what needs major improvement. On that note, for the truly brave among the authors whose works are declined, there’s an option to have your writing featured on the site anyway with my feedback. This is a direct way to educate readers on how to avoid certain traps. Not cool with that? No worries. I’ll only publish rejected submissions with your consent.

What Are You Waiting For?

Email your submission to me today at theliterarygame dot gmail dot com and/or share this post with your literary-minded friends.

In success,
Alfonso

 

 

It’s Been An Interesting Year

MMUniCVR_FNL300dpi-01 (1).jpg

Hey friends. It’s been way too long! Time to give this another shot.

Let me catch you all up to speed because this has been an incredible year.

That beautiful cover at the top of this post is for my first book, The Book of the Magical Mythical Unicorn. 

My co-writer Vakasha Brenman and I were able to reach a deal with O-Books, the UK’s leading publisher of spiritually-oriented works. Copies are on the way in early 2020.

Now wait, I get what you’re thinking if you’ve read any of my writing or seen my last informational post: this guy wrote a book about unicorns?

Actually, I co-wrote it, but yes I did.

And yes, a lot of my writing has some serious edge to it, but I’ve seen some crazy times and I find the whole process of funneling that darkness into my poetry and short fiction (and sometimes into this blog) to be cathartic.

But unicorns are also fuckin’ rad. Seriously.

On a different note, I’ve been working on a new ghostwritten novel over the last six months. I would love to share more details about the work, but unfortunately the terms of the contract limit my ability to disclose my involvement.

For this super secret new ghostwritten novel, I will be orchestrating a marketing campaign to generate press. We have big plans for the novel and I refuse to let my partner down.

The good thing? This plan to generate buzz can work for (almost) any book, as long as there’s at least one natural niche that would be drawn to it. That’s why I’ve started to offer my services as a guerrilla book marketer. You should check it out if you have a book that hasn’t been getting much attention or want to launch your book with a bang.

From day one, my goal for this blog was to empower writers.

I hate the fact that talented writers have to have day jobs.

I hate the fact that talented writers can’t write because they’re stressed about the bills.

I can’t promise you’ll blow up and sell five million copies (that’s not likely to happen, but who knows?), but if you can reach a large audience and generate a nice chunk of side income or if things go well, make a career of it, then I’ve done my job.

But it’s also about the fun. Never forget that. I haven’t.

I launched a new portfolio called Writerly Nomad. And yes, unlike Man vs. Goals, there’s actually more than one post there. This is my new space to connect my writing directly to readers. I’ve published in competitive literary magazines. Hell, I even ran one. They serve their place, but for me, the fun of it is just writing and having people dig what you wrote. Everything else is just the theatrics of the scene and I’m over that.

Well, this has been a whirlwind of a post. I hope you’ve all been well and let’s keep getting after it together!

Cheers,
Alfonso

New Blog – Man vs. Goals

The Bad News

First, the bad news.

It’s always better to get that out of the way, right?

As you probably guessed, The Literary Game is on an indefinite hiatus.

I appreciate all my readers for their support. Seriously, you’re awesome.

However, right now, I don’t feel particularly called to dispensing writing advice.

If you need some, ask away. If I can help, I’ll help.

The Good News

My itch for blogging is still around.

I’ve started a new blog, Man vs. Goals, that details the continuing story of the good, bad, and ugly sides of sacrificing (almost) everything to chase my dreams as a writer, actor, filmmaker, and entrepreneur.

If you’re on a similarly unconventional path, you might like my new blog.

If you’ve ever thought about going for a larger-than-life goal, you might like my new blog.

I promise to give a “from the trenches” perspective of this kind of life.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

All love,
Alfonso

 

 

Punk Rock is Over, Thank God

I wrote a new poem. I want to share more of my stuff with you guys. Cut out the litmag middlemen. Enjoy!

Punk Rock is Over, Thank God
by Alfonso Colasuonno

she talked about green anarchy
and punk rock music and
nintendo gamecube and
wasn’t sure if she was a
punk or a hippie
maybe she threw
red paint on her
leather jacket
but she didn’t eat meat
but she blew trees
i remember she blew trees
and had pet roaches
and she went to school
in Olympia but I never asked
her if they all fuck the same
she wasn’t Courtney
and they’re gonna bitch about
this poem having a bunch of
pop culture references and
pass this one over and joke
about it but fuck them
and I’m gonna bitch about
them calling it pop culture
and I’ve never been to Olympia
and I’ve never thrown a javelin
but I’ve been mistaken for a Greek
and they’re killing an Arab
somewhere with U.S. bombs
and we take our smoke breaks
and talk about green anarchy
because we aren’t worth shit
we’re all talk, no action
aren’t we? are we?

college is over
and she still won’t quit
usually, that’s not how these things go
one of us becomes a politician
even when we talked shit about them
one of us becomes an entrepreneur
even when we talked shit about them
one of us becomes a small business owner, a weird shop, but a business
a mother, overprotective, like our mother, right, but not
even when we talked shit about mothers
and business and everything
one of us dies
because how punk rock of us
one of us goes somewhere else
because transit and we talk about Dylan
and gang of four and Ivanka was at the wedding
of a girl I used to know and by know I mean date
and by date I mean the modern sense of the word
as in watching the office for an hour
and then kissing, her lead, and then fucking, her lead
and then falling asleep to some old Hitchcock film
and Ivanka was at a wedding in page six with some
yellowing paper memory of a girl and her sister

and ten years later
how much has changed
when one talks about riding across the country
in a hippie van
the other about art
and culture
I’m just bored
how punk rock
punk is over, thank god
good and dead
but as for me,
not quite inside
just bored
and amused
weren’t they supposed to entertain us?
isn’t that in our mutual interest?

johnny ramone voted for nixon
and moe tucker is in the tea party
and exene is to the right of ted cruz
you can’t satisfy the editors
you can’t satisfy the punks
but you can kill a little something
day by day

How To Land High-Paying Writing Jobs

I landed a five-figure screenwriting gig without ever having sold a screenplay before.

pexels-photo-764340

I landed a similarly lucrative non-fiction writing gig without ever having written a non-fiction book before, or anything longer than a short story.

Regardless of what my mom told me growing up, I’m not special. If I can do it, so can you.

Moral Of The Story: Listen To Lauren

My fiancée Lauren and I have a relationship that’s like a sitcom. A problem arises. She proposes a solution. I go my own way in a bullheaded fashion. My own devices fail. I reluctantly try her way and succeed.

pexels-photo-792729

Yes, she is always right. I hope she never reads this admission. Let’s make this our special secret, okay?

Anyway, one day, after years of providing editing services, I wanted to get my feet wet and land a client as a writer, not as an editor. Lauren suggested Upwork.com

I decided to give it a try, and after a few searches, I turned to her in disgust and said something to the effect of “Why the hell would anyone write a 50,000 word book for $100?”

If you’re willing to write a book for $100, and you live in the US, EU, or any other developed country, you’re a fool. Believe me, I told this to Lauren. Over and over again until she got sick of hearing my self-righteous statement. And a couple more times long after she had grown tired of my ranting.

pexels-photo-277870

But, Lauren told me to stick with it. Reluctantly, I did.

And I landed a five-figure screenwriting client.

Without having sold or optioned a screenplay at that point.

Five figures certainly beats $100, right?

pexels-photo-545065

Full Gordon Gekko Mode

Okay, quick interlude. I know some people are probably annoyed at the money talk. To those people, let me quote British author Samuel Johnson, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”

There is NOTHING ugly about getting large sums of money for your writing. If you want to turn writing into a career, you’re going to need those large sums of money. If writing is just a hobby, that’s fine, but if you want to make writing your primary profession, then you’re going to need to be able to get people to pay you for your work.

And pay you more than $100.

How I Landed My First Client

So, how did I land this client? Let me walk you through the steps:

Step 1 – I applied for the gig.

As Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is showing up.”

Step 2 – After no response, I sent a follow-up message.

No response does not mean no. No response means you need to do more to convince me.

Step 3 – I steered the prospective client to a phone call.

We established rapport, shared values, and a willingness to learn about the topic.

Step 4 – I sent writing samples.

I sent him a previous screenplay I had written.

Step 5 – I kept sending follow-ups after he went cold.

He agreed to work with me, and gave me insights into writing his screenplay, but then went cold for ten months. I kept sending him follow-ups, spaced long apart not to annoy, but regularly enough to be assertive. I never was judgmental or passed blame. I’m a professional and I acted the part.

Step 6 – I flew out West to meet with him.

There, I got a chance to further develop the rapport, learn more about the project, and iron out the details. It was a success!

And he wasn’t the only client I landed.

With A Little Help From Your Friends…

Ever hear the old saying, it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know?

Yeah, sometimes that’s true.

I landed another great client as a referral from a friend. She knew that I was looking for writing clients. Another friend of hers was looking for a talented writer.

Yes, sometimes it’s really that easy.

A Whole Bunch Of Other Ways To Land High-Paying Writing Clients

Of course, these aren’t the only ways to land high-paying clients on great writing projects. Here are a few other methods you may want to consider:

  1. Craigslist. Yes, there are a lot of flakes there, but there are diamonds in the rough.
  2. Create a website and blog, and hit social media hard. Get yourself out there online. Lots of people do, though. The key is quantity and quality. Provide immense value and provide it as often as you can.
  3. Develop an expertise. Coupling talent as a writer with a subject expertise puts you ahead of nearly all competition when finding ghostwriting gigs.
  4. Target business leaders. Use your professional network to find the alpha dogs of the business world. They’re often far too busy to write books on their own, and pay ghostwriters well.
  5. Make business cards and leave them in well-trafficked areas. Go to affluent neighborhoods and leave business cards behind in coffee shops, libraries, hotel common areas, etc.

Conclusion

Whether through a friend, Upwork.com, Craigslist, a website/blog/social media presence, sharpening up on a skill, targeting your friendly neighborhood CEO, or hitting the rich neighborhoods with a stack of business cards, writers don’t have to be poor (even if it’s fun to joke about).

Now go out and land a high-paying gig and make me proud!

What’s Your Story?

Have you ever landed a high-paying writing gig? How did you do it? Share in the comments below. I’m open to guest posts for compelling and insightful stories about this topic.

You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

pexels-photo-267355

If you found this post entertaining or informative, please do me a solid and like and subscribe. If you’re really looking for a way to get on my good side, why not share this post on social media?

If you have any questions about landing high-paying writing gigs, just leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to shoot a helpful answer your way.

Fighting the good fight with you,
Alfonso

 

How To Promote A Self-Published eBook – Two Simple Ways to Get Major Results

I’m a huge fan of retro video games. Like many Reagan babies, I owned an NES, a Nintendo lunch box, ate Nintendo cereal, watched the Super Mario Bros. Super Show; I could go on, but you get the idea. After the NES faded in popularity, I went on to the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, then the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, before losing interest when I attended college (Parties are more fun. Studying has its purpose too, I suppose).

Now, at 33-years-old and with a little bit of disposable income, I’ve started to collect some of the games I missed purchasing in my childhood. There are certain “brands” that I’ll buy pretty much anything from (e.g. Mega Man; Castlevania; Ninja Gaiden; The Legend of Zelda; Metroid; etc.), but what about the games I didn’t get a chance to play or that were unknown to me back then? I’ll buy a few of those too, but only if I see a demonstration on a YouTube channel, and hear some reputable voices vouch for it.

SONY DSC

 

The reason I include this anecdote is because the same methods that work for alerting me to retro video games that I should give a chance are the same ones that alert me and many other readers to self-published writers that are worth a read.

Dispel the notion once and for all that if you write it, they will come. They won’t. You have to get noticed or self-publishing is an exercise in futility if your goal is to make money and/or get people to read your writing. I’ve known many talented writers who choose to self-publish. What happens when they release their books? Nothing. It’s every self-published writer’s worst fear.

So, how exactly do you get readers and sales for your eBook? 

  1. Win over an influencer. Some think getting good reviews on Amazon or Smashwords are enough. Not true; they help, but you need to draw traffic first. The best way to do that is to have an Internet influencer promote you on their media. Who exactly qualifies as an influencer? A good ballpark figure is at least 1,000 followers on social media or WordPress, or the face behind a heavily-trafficked website that many people in your niche know about. While press anywhere helps, to get real results you need to get an endorsement from an Internet “star.”
  2. Give some of it away for free. That means giving free copies of your book to influencers. That means putting up chapters for free online. You’re not Dan Brown or Stephen King yet, so you have to earn your readers’ attention and show that you’re talented.

And that’s it. Are there other ways that you can promote your eBook? Of course. That said, if you want results in a big way and quickly, focus on the big win. Anything else is often just a tiresome waste.

Have you had success as a self-published author? Share a comment below to help aspiring authors.