High Strangeness: The Curse of "Ancient Aliens"

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Curse of "Ancient Aliens"

Now that I've signed with a literary agent to get my Hynek book placed with a publisher, I've been having great fun learning about how all this stuff happens.

Last week, for instance, my new agent asked for some edits and revisions in the 60+ page book proposal, so I spent several days making the changes. Along the way, her notes gave me an interesting insight into how a person with little to no involvement in the UFO industry sees it. For one thing, she kept wanting me to mention the cable TV show "Ancient Aliens." At one point she even wrote "I hope you mention 'Ancient Aliens' in this part!"

I laughed about that and thought how riled my readers would be if I mentioned that in my blog. Because, of course, "AA" is anathema to anyone who is serious about the UFO phenomenon, so there must be a problem with my agent, right? And obviously I should dump her immediately!

Well, here's the thing. My new agent also happens to be my old agent, the one who got me in the door at "Star Trek" back in the day, and I am ridiculously happy to be working with her again. She is an incredible businessperson, and is one of the smartest and most successful people I know. Strangely enough, she has never worked in the UFO realm before, and from her standpoint "Ancient Aliens" is a perfectly natural entry point for a consumer into the UFO market. And she's not wrong. Laugh all you want, but "AA" is on its eighth season, it rakes in between 1.2 and 1.5 million viewers on any given week, and celebrities Megan Fox and Katy Perry are huge fans, which carries considerable weight in some circles. So, since the sole purpose of the book proposal is to sell the property to a publisher, and therefore I devote many, many pages to establishing how big the UFO market is, of course I've mentioned "Ancient Aliens."

I've also mentioned dozens of other UFO-related shows, movies, books, periodicals, websites, conferences, podcasts and assorted ephemera in the proposal. Why not? If there's even the slightest chance I could place this book with a big publisher and then someday sell autographed and phone numbered copies to Katy Perry or Megan Fox, I'm going to do whatever I have to to make it happen.

Katy Perry and Megan Fox: innocent Ancient Aliens fans, or human-alien hybrids bent on our destruction?
Here's another weird thing that's come up in relation to selling my book. Earlier today my agent messaged me that a small publisher had just contacted her out of the blue to ask if she had any UFO books available. It turned out to be a small press that I had, not surprisingly, never heard of. But it actually publishes several UFO titles, so it was kind of interesting that they would contact her just after she signed me... The deal was that they would offer a tiny advance but as a trade-off they could conceivably get the book to print fairly quickly. I told her that I wanted to aim higher, and she didn't argue.

But as we continued our email conversation about other UFO books and authors, I mentioned that there was one author in particular who had become my archenemy. Then came one of the most sublime exchanges I have ever experienced. It went as follows:

Me: "I never mentioned that I had an archenemy, did I?"

Agent: "I LOVE that you have an archenemy!"

This is so much fun!


Brock Samson said...

Archenemy, huh?

Does he know that?

Have you done any "arching" in regard to this other author?

Reminds me of the fabulous Cartoon Network show, "The Venture Brothers," where the "hero," Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture, has an archenemy who calls himself "The Monarch," and dresses up in a costume inspired by the Monarch butterflies who... uh... raised him.

See: http://teamventure.org/vbwiki/The_Monarch

All I want to know, beyond the answers to these other deeply serious questions, is whether your authorial archenemy is a member of The Guild of Calamitous Intent?

If so, oh man, watch the hell out! ;-)

Ashley said...

I must be late to the party and I'm super sorry for that. But who is Hynek and why write a book on this character?

Interesting post, indeed! :)