Monday, January 25, 2016

Falkin Literary's Internet Digs for the Time Being

Falkin Literary

"Your submission letter
 is a marvel"
-   Pat Strachan 
Editor in Chief


Mark Falkin. Licensed in Texas, I’ve practiced entertainment and intellectual property law for 17 years, representing hundreds of artists (a platinum seller and Grammy® winner among them), entrepreneurs and businesses, shopping artistic projects, drafting and negotiating entertainment contracts, securing trademarks and copyrights, licensing and selling intellectual properties, establishing businesses, litigating disputes. I’ve completed 3 novels (and a chapbook of poems), with two more in rough draft stages. One, literary, is long, self-published and well-reviewed (Days of Grace). Another, an upmarket supernatural thriller, garnered an agent at a venerable NYC agency (Howard Morhaim). The most recent is a near-future suspense tale called Contract City published in hardcover by longstanding Baltimore indie publisher Bancroft Press which is currently in screen development with a studio in Los Angeles (Booklist: "it's hard to put this down."). And then there’s the ongoing and continual What I’m Working On Now.

What I’m looking for

Actively building my client list (unsubtle code for: I’m a newish agent), I’m looking for fiction, namely, novels with a literary bent in these general categories (in no order of preference): suspense; thriller; horror; dystopian; offbeat and quirky; humorous; YA (literary; realism; smart horror); illustrated children's & picture books; smart, upmarket commercial "women's fiction"; and the catchall, that ineffable one called Literary. 

You get the idea: whip-smart, fresh, commercial genre fiction, literary fiction, genre-bending or genre-blending. Full-voiced, dark, captivating, laugh-out-loud, unapologetic, transgressive. I want kinetic stories that tickle my Wernicke’s area.

If you’re, say, a Chuck Palahniuk, if you’re a Stephen King (or, hell, if you’re Joe Hill), if you’re Joyce Carol Oates, if you’re Stewart O’Nan, if you’re Daniel Woodrell, if you’re David Sedaris or Mamet, if you’re Bret Ellis, if you're Stephen Crane or Ambrose Bierce, if you're Douglas Coupland, if you’re later-day William Gibson, if you’re Annie Proulx, if you're Mark Danielewski, if you’re Ken Kesey, if you're Dave Eggers, if you're Junot Diaz, if you're Gillian Flynn, if you're a Karen Russell, if you're a Ben Fountain or a Merritt Tierce, Lemony Snicket, Adam Rex or Jon Klassen, well sir, you're just what I’m looking for.  

I’m looking for compelling, well-plotted, well-paced stories first, gosh-wow blank verse prose second. 

That said, I would especially like to see more great stories written for men and boys. The fiction market is heavily dominated by books geared for women--because numbers don't lie. Women buy and read more fiction. But I'd like to champion Dude-Lit a bit more. Where's the fresh, new, robust YA fiction for boys? Have you even seen a YA book not about a girl in the last several years (other than Harry)? Where's the "important" accessible literary novel guys talk up to other guys because it's just that good? Let's see a Renaissance of man books, fellas. I'm here for you.

Short story collections? Yes, especially if they've appeared in heard-of literary magazines, reviews, journals and/or you've been short-listed for an award. 

What I'm not looking for

Nonfiction (generally speaking; if you've got a serious platform, I'd certainly like to see); Genre romance, erotica, sci-fi/fantasy, graphic novels, religious, big 'ol Epics, Clancy-esque terrorism plots, zombies, vampires, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it; Too-clever, Po-Mo, gimmicks, style-over-substance, books solely of the mind (those of you who think you're Pynchon, Vollmann or DeLillo: news item for you: you're not), books that sound written and not told, books written solely to impress your MFA class and arch literati who won't deign to entertain. I want the heart involved, an unputdownable, honest, resonant book that leaves a residue on me.

I see quite a bit of this, and I have to say: I'm not looking for books written after you've retired from some other 30-year career. Writers write because they cannot help but to do it, and they do it in the early and late hours of their workaday life despite sick children and hectic bankers-hours (and beyond) careers. Khaled Hosseini and William Carlos Williams were practicing physicians when they wrote the work that launched them. Stephen King taught school, worked in a laundry and lived in a trailer when writing Carrie. Grisham practiced law, was a state congressman. Rowling was a young mother on the dole, scribbling in coffee shops. I want to work with writers who have no choice but to write, whenever they can, against all odds; and they started doing it in high school, not after they retire. I would posit that writing isn't a hobby you pick up in your golden years after you've discovered that you really like to read and have just always wanted to write but couldn't find the time. Writing is a compulsion, an addiction you've been feeding since before you can likely remember.

Lastly, I am not looking to work with writers who spend appreciable time in chat or comment rooms at the various agent database websites (you know who you are). A writer myself, I've queried plenty-o-agents, and sometimes responses (or non-responses) really irked me. But I didn't waste time and energy I could have put into my writing by trolling and trawling comment venues to complain with righteous indignation about it, anonymously slagging agents and generally kvetching. Agents you query owe you nothing. You're trying to exert power over a process in which you find yourself powerless (I know, believe me), and misery loves company, sure, but I suggest staying out of those places and just write and work and write and rewrite. Make visiting such places irrelevant by producing undeniably kick-ass work.

If this is all too casual for you, or you're somehow offended, we probably couldn't work together anyway, so don't query me. Go ahead and put me on your Do Not Query List (as if you have any bargaining power, but I digress . . .). I'm not your guy.
How to submit

E-mail your query plus two chapters (in the body of the e-mail, please) to:
mark.falkin [at]


I do not care that you have no advanced arts degree. 

I do not care that this is your first book. 

I do care that it is finished, is as good as it can be and that you’re not living in denial: you’ve got chops and you know it, and it’s on display in this manuscript. Writer to writer: Make me jealous. Make me uneasy with envy. School me. Make me say, “Man, I wish I’d written that, could do that.”

If you can't already tell by the whiz-bang web presence you are now experiencing, I do not care that you lack social media presence, feeling that writers ought to, you know, write, rather than tweet, facebook, blog, text, play around with technology instead of actually creating meaningful, toothsome composition. Does author and social commentator Sarah Vowell tweet or blog? No, she does not. Johnathan Franzen? Huh-uh. Brett Ellis? Now, that's another story. But he's . . . Bret Ellis. Are you Bret Ellis*? 

As a writer, I feel your pain. This business of getting an agent, of getting published, is a slog. I got my first agent doing exactly what you're doing now: researching viable agents and cold querying. Thus, I’ll try my best to get to your work soon. I try to respond, but sometimes I don't. And though I'm not trying to be one these power-tripping, snarky agents, no response means no, okay? There's just only so much time. The stuff I'm interested in leaps out at me. 

Good luck, and keep writing.

*see above under What I'm Looking For

To the fold I welcome memoirist (The Kitchen Congregation; Macmillan/Picador USA), novelist and Houston Chronicle book reviewer, Nora Seton. Excited to see your titles on the shelves soon!

Appearing at the 2016 DFW Writers Conference 
April 23-24th 
Fort Worth Convention Center

Congratulations to client Dana Cann for the April publication of his novel GHOSTS OF BERGEN COUNTY with Tin House Books!

Happy to announce client Suzanne Greenberg--Professor of English at Cal State and Drue Heinz Award winner--is publishing her novel LESSON PLANS with Prospect Park Books in Spring 2014 and that client Kristen Zimmer is publishing her novel THE GRAVITY BETWEEN US with Bookouture (UK) in October 2013. 

Kristen's book enjoyed the #1 spot at Amazon in the US and UK for multiple weeks after its release and has remained in the top 10 since (as of 6/2/14) in GRAVITY's genre. Well done, Kristen. THE GRAVITY BETWEEN US

Check out TGBU, now in audiobook: Listen

Library Journal names LESSON PLANS an Editor's Spring Pick 

Reader's Digest features LESSON PLANS: 7 Great Books