Raise your hand if you think marketing sucks.
All across this great land I can hear the gentle ‘whoosh’ of air flowing over rapidly rising digits.
Now, the question we ask our characters: What are you going to do about it? (Clue. If your character isn’t going to do anything about his or her problems, best give them a merciful tap on the back of the skull with your ‘delete’ button.)
So what the hell are we going to do about marketing?
1. Accept the fact that writers are a special breed with no interest in selling shoes, time shares or sewing machines. Rejoice for a moment in that specialness. We’re freekin’ creative artists.
2. Moment’s over. Selling your book is a part of the writer’s life. Let’s do it good, let’s do it quick, then let’s get back to writing.
3. Primary reason for rejection: unsaleable manuscript. Writers love to blame everything else. Agents are grasping, sub-literate droolers, the market is tanking, all the big publishers are conspiring against the little guy, Joe the damn Plumber is writing a book. Might as well go to Kinkos. All of the above may be true, but it’s not your business. Your business is to write the best book you can (with the help of Writers Welcome, por supuesto). Put your energy, your heart and soul there.
4. Many manuscipts get rejected simply because they’re sent to the wrong place. I advise against tossing handfuls of query letters into the night sky over New York and praying they’ll land on the right desk. Research. Target.
5. If you can’t tell your story in a tight, well-crafted two pages, agents take that as de facto evidence you don’t know what the hell your book is about. Synopsis, query letter. Tons of websites telling you how to construct same. Google them now.
6. The self-diagnostic side of marketing. If you have a lot of trouble writing these documents it may mean there are things wrong with your story, your plot or your characters. Look carefully at where you get stuck in your synopsis. Too much stuff happening for two pages? Trouble figuring who the main characters really are, what they really want? Put your literary house in order.
7. Let’s assume you have a good query and a good synopsis. You’ve found several agents who handle your kind of stuff. You send them your stuff (exactly what they ask for, please). What now? Hit those damn keys. Get busy on your next project. If you get rejected by several agents, say a dozen or so, take another look at your manuscript. You will be perhaps a year older, and much wiser in the ways of the written word. Revise and repeat the above process.
It won’t be easy–if it were easy, everyone would do it.
And how do we begin the process? Correcto, we WRITE AT ABSOLUTE TOP SPEED.
John

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