Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Art of the Deal - Sell Yourself AND Your Book

I honestly have to say that many authors seem to think the story is the only thing we are looking at when we deal with submissions. This couldn't be further from the truth. For some reason, writers seem to think there is a difference between the publishing world and the real world. Honestly, this just makes me scream!

Let's start witht he business world. If you apply for a job, what do you do? You make sure you are right for the position before you apply. You research the company to make sure this is the place you want to be. You take time to prepare your resume. You draft a cover letter and letter of application that showcases your abilities. Assuming you get an interview, you go in to sell yourself. You dress the part, you talk the part, you show the employer you are a professional.

And yet...

In publishing, what do people do?

They submit stories to editors and agents that would never like it in the first place. They have no idea who they are working for in terms of how they operate. They send out stories that still need revisions. They have query letters where they tell us openly they are bad writers with no experience or skill. They have pitch sessions reading their pitches and acting like it is a first date. They simply don't show us they are professionals.

Now, I am not saying every writer out there does this, and I am sure many of you will want to chime in here saying your are not among the crowd, but there are still far too many that do. Every day when I open up e-queries or read my submisisons, I see this all of the time. When I attend conferences, I get people who openly walk in and state, "I'm really nervous and I don't think I will do well."

I am sorry to say this, but the publishing world is just like anything else in the business world. When you get ready to send any agent or editor a project, you better be assuming this is a job application you are sending out. Treat it the same way. And for those of you that just signed up for appointments at nationals, make sure you treat this like an interview.

No excuses.


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