Query letter mania

I’m working on several different query letters right now, each taking much longer to write than I want. But even though they are coming together slowly, I am going to keep at it. Having several letters out at one time gives me a better chance of getting an acceptance. Mind you, I am not discussing multiple submissions. That’s completely unacceptable. What I am talking about are different letters on different subjects.

In this internet age I think that a few well-crafted paragraphs are not good enough anymore.  You now need less, not more. You need one good paragraph to start your writing. Better make that one great paragraph. If you don’t catch a person’s attention with your first few lines, well, they’re probably not going to march down the page with you. They’ll let you know if they want more.


Why telephones? Q&A

Q. You’ve written a great deal on telephones, especially telephone history. You even appeared on the History Channel as an authority on Alexander Graham Bell. Why telephones?

A. The story of the telephone is the story of invention. And the story of invention is the story of America.

Q. A bold statement.

A. But very true.  Curiosity, persistence, and ingenuity — these are all traits of American pioneers and inventors. Invention is in our very nature.  I find technology fascinating for its own sake, but then things become so much more than the device itself: an entire story develops around the invention.

Q. Like what?

A. Alexander Graham Bell was absolutely consumed with inventing the telephone. He and Watson worked in a poorly lit attic that was a hovel; a firetrap they were lucky to have survived. Steve Jobs and Wozniak worked out of a garage.

In both cases they came up with a wonderful product, after a while, but in the beginning they had to struggle with little or no money, endless weeks and months of no sleep, wary investors, patent questions, and powerful forces as competition. With Bell and Watson it was the Western Union Company. With Jobs and Wozniak it would be IBM and Microsoft.

It’s not enough to invent something. To make your invention succeed, you yourself must succeed. All very American. All good stories.


A new site and a new beginning

tomnewphoto“I’m like a monkey with a transistor radio!” A friend used to say that whenever confronted with new technology. At this point, I, too, am feeling a bit simian. Although I developed a 400 page website over a period of ten years,, it’s been eight years since I created a web page and time has rushed on. This web site and blog uses, a web authoring service that you can use to endlessly edit. Like a word processor, it offers the promise of carefully groomed text or complete inefficiency.  How much time, for example, should you spend changing link colors from green to blue? Revisions and editing are acceptable to a degree, but at some point you must get your writing done, especially promised writing. Deadlines must be met, they are the one thing that technology will never change.