The Half King bar closing its doors after 18 years.

Many outside the New York area may not recognize the name the Half king bar, but the local hang out, just at the foot of the High line in Chelsea, has been home to authors and photographers who have gathered to share their work for close to two decades.

The local hang out with notable owners, Sebastian Junger, Author of Tribe and a Perfect Storm , Nanette Burstein, American film and television director and Scott Anderson, war correspondent and Novelist, is closing its doors this January after 18 years of companionship to their Chelsea neighbors. 

Their closing came as a surprise to many, but like many popular attractions in the area, high rent prices and a reduction in the flow of tourism has forced many to reconsider their future. The Half King is just one of many businesses to close its doors with many following suite this year as the face of New York and business in the area change.

Their closing will leave many wondering how a business that has catered to local artists, authors and photographers will be replaced, and if you ask the staff they will tell you it wont be, but if you visit the bar you will see that their exit is imminent and it leaves a lump in your throat to watch this establishment give up it’s roots to be replaced by the unknown.

On Friday January 18th, 2019, the bar will host its farewell party and close its doors 9 days later and if you look to chalkboard over the bar, it  counts the days down like an approaching New Year, but there will not be any celebration when this establishment leaves us.  

As the days count down for the Half King I will make one last visit in hopes of running into Junger, Burstein or Anderson, as they too bid farewell to a home they built for artists near and far, but the legacy they leave behind will be difficult to replace… but one thing is certain, the lasting impression the Half King has made on this Chelsea neighborhood will be felt for years to come.

YES, a rejection letter!

YES, a rejection letter!

I am sure this sounds peculiar, but to finally get a response after sending out several dozen query letters is a success in my eyes. It breaks the perpetual waiting cycle and lets you know someone actually looked at your submission.

This recent rejection letter came in reference to my newest completed novel and it was a pretty quick response as it came after only two weeks. I think this may be a record because in the world of fiction writing it seems a bit rare to hear anything back from an agency in under a month…if at all.

Many agencies have hundreds, if not thousands of requests to review and they just don’t have time or staff to answer them all. In this case, it seems this project did not resonate with the agent. She stated the following:

It may not seem this way, but saying no is tough for me. I’m sure hearing it is tough for you, but it’s really important for me to fall in love with a project and that just did not happen in this case. Please know that I really appreciate your patience during this process and I truly wish you the best of luck in finding the right agent! I’ll be rooting for you!”

There is not a lot of detail here, but it was an easy letdown and at least I have a firm answer, “No Thank you”  This is one of the first queries I’ve sent out on this current project, so one rejection is not a trend, but the reality is that others may say no, and the project may not get picked up.

If it does get rejected by all other agents, one has to remember there is as much to be learned in rejection as there is in success…it just depends on your frame of mind.

If you can’t tell by my previous statement, I ‘m an optimist. That’s not to say I don’t have my moments of self-loathing where the situation gets the best of me, but all in all, I see rejection as an opportunity to learn and ask a few questions and face it, it’s better to be the glass is half full person anyway!

Several questions I ask myself as I continue to market my project:

  1. Was this agent the right one to query in the first place? i.e. does my project align with what they have represented in the past?

I knew this current agent was a long shot, but at least she reviewed it and replied.

  1. Is the project/manuscript really ready?

As a writer, I don’t know if you are ever “really” done editing, but in this case, I felt well prepared… (We all know that even after its printed and sent out we still find errors, and face it, we are our own worst critics, it will NEVER be perfect)

  1. Has the work been reviewed by someone else?

When writing, we spend a lot of time looking at the same piece of work and simple errors can get overlooked. So, unless we have someone else critiquing our work, and not your mom, sister, or brother, we run the risk of missing simple errors… and sometimes big ones. So, find an editor, they can make all the difference in the success of your writing project.

A great place to find an editor or help on your project is over at reedsy.com 

  1. Do I have honest, brutal feedback?

In my case, I have worked with a couple of successful editors that have major projects and titles under their belts. They have helped me put the time in on this project…and at times, their feedback was brutal but professional, and it was exactly what was needed.

In the end, I see this response as another step in the process and I will keep plugging away in hopes that I sell this project…and if I don’t, I will learn a lot along the way.

All in all, there is a lot to be learned from a few rejections.

Writing

I started writing, formally, about 10 years ago through the prodding of a friend of mine, Mark McClure. Mark is a published writer in the sci-fi genre and I was one of those people that met the author and said, “Oh I think I have a good idea for a book.” Mark quickly responded with “Well then, you should put pen to paper and write it!” He went on to tell me that whenever someone finds out he is a writer they almost immediately pitch a book idea to him. He went on to say that coming up with ideas to write is never a problem…finding time to do them all is the real challenge!

I did take Mark’s advice and started writing, but as I learned, this is no easy task. I think I spent days writing the opening paragraph and I changed it a dozen times, but once I had the opening it started to get a little easier. As I got into the meat of the story the plot just evolved, but I went at writing my first book without a plan… I don’t recommend going at this way!

Over time I have developed my approach to writing and I have looked at what other authors do to deliver winning results, but as Mark said, finding time is the big challenge.

For those of us that do put pen to paper, we quickly learn that writing is a labor of love. You have to find inspiration and time to write, all the while, keeping up with your day job, family and anything else that comes along.  In the middle of life happening we also have to find time to read, read and read! Reading is research for me and I am always interested to see how authors paint vivid pictures with the stories they tell.

I am currently working to get my first novel, Lost Sunrise published. I have had the privilege of collaborating with a very successful editor, Lynsey Griswold, who has done an amazing job on editing my work and challenging me around my story.  The editing process has been an educational experience, but it is one that has helped me grow and develop my craft.

We will see how the publishing process goes, but for now I am going to head back to finishing up my next novel Spot.

Garrett