Friday, February 23, 2024

Getting A Lot of Rejections? It might be you!

I am sitting here watching my guilty pleasure of Shark Tank and watching these two guys just tanking it hard core. They are making money, but failing horribly! They have made millions of dollars but lost a ton of cash. I listen to this, and I think about so many authors out there. Rejections pile up and still they continue to do what they are doing. 

I am not sure if writers think that getting rejections is a sign of success, or if it is something they can use to justify something else. Maybe authors feel that this is something they will be able to tell everyone when they make it big... "I was rejected 420 times before I made my first sale..." We have all heard those stories. 

But the reality is, if you are getting a ton of rejections, the problem may well be something you are doing. So, what could it be? Here is the list of my common rejections:

  • You sent me a project I don't represent.
  • You sent me writing that was not ready.
  • You are writing something that is not marketable.
  • You are still learning to write.
  • You don't understand the business.
  • You sent a submission package that would be rejected by any employer.

Look, I get this is a tough business. Publishers are simply not buying now, or at least at the level we were once used to. Right now, publishers need to see something amazing.

Still, it is always important to look to yourself first. Is there something you could be doing to fix the problem? Start there.



Monday, February 19, 2024

Who Is Your Street Team

Simple question - Who is your street team?

If you are a published author, you need to make sure you have a team behind you. Yes, you should always have your family, your editorial team and your agent, but there is another team you need to count on. That is your street team.

These are the people who have your back when you have a new book coming out. These are the people who are always on social media, and hopefully, on platforms that might be different than your platforms. Here's how it works.

You have a book cover that just showed up. You are 6 months out from that book being released, but you still want to show off. Hey, you should be proud of it! So, you post it.

Now the street team kicks in. They immediately dive online, see your picture, comment on your picture and start sharing it all over the place! These people are overly excited. Comments such as: "Can't wait for Steven's story after seeing him in your last book!" and even more importantly, "What is the exact date? You will share when we can pre-order, right?"

But they don't stop there. These are the people who are on all of your ARC sites. They are reading those books early and cranking up reviews. If they post on one site, the post on ALL of the sites! And yes, they are putting out all of those great quotes you can use in your personal promos.

When those reviews show up, then you step in. Now you take the quote, with the cover, and the release information and start sharing it on your social media sites.


AND THEN YOUR STREE TEAM GOES AT IT AGAIN!


The key is getting your name out there. If you only share to your closed network of friends and they do nothing, you won't get those sales numbers flowing in!

Friday, February 16, 2024

When Queries Tell Me Nothing

I am working my way through submissions today and decided to take a break. Actually, it was a coffee break that extended to blogging but hey, it is still a break. Needless to say, I was once again finding a common trend in submissions today that authors need to consider.

As always, we know that. in the end, it is about the story. Is it quality writing? Is it marketable? Blah, blah, blah... However, for us to get to that manuscript, we have to get through that query letter. If that query letter doesn't sell the story, then we will never see your writing.

The majority of rejections that I sent out today so far were for query letters that simply were not interesting. Not that the project wasn't, but the letter just sat there. Essentially it was:

Dear Mr. Eagan,

I have written a contemporary romance called Come On Baby Light My Fire. It is a 70,000 word story about a fire fighter falling in love with a girl. 

I can send it to you. It is finished.

Signed,

Everyday Author

What I find amazing is that authors are told, time and time again, to SHOW DON'T TELL in their stories, and yet, when it comes to business writing, they can't do the same thing.

If you are someone saying, "Here is another example of how the industry makes you jump through a hoop" I guess I am going to have to agree with you. This is about marketing. Just throwing a book out there and hoping someone will just jump at it because you liked it is not going to work. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Quit Thinking AI Will Get You A Contract

Look, I get that AI is the new in-thing out there. I get it that so many people seem to think that using AI to write their query letters will speed up the process and get remarkable responses. Sorry to say it, but it won't. You here me all the time saying, it takes time and it takes work to be successful as a writer.

I did a quick run of making up a query letter using an AI App. Here is the result:

Subject: Query for Contemporary Romance Novel: “Hearts on the Range”

Dear Mr. Eagan,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I am excited to introduce my contemporary romance novel, “Hearts on the Range,” which is approximately 73,000 words long.

About the Novel: “Hearts on the Range” is set against the rugged backdrop of Wyoming, where a hardened rancher and a spirited school teacher find themselves entangled in a passionate and unexpected love affair. As they navigate the challenges of life on the open range, they discover that love can bloom even in the harshest of landscapes.

Why Greyhaus Literary Agency: I have chosen Greyhaus Literary Agency specifically because of your agency’s unwavering commitment to romance and women’s fiction. Your focus on these genres aligns perfectly with the heart of my novel, and I believe that “Hearts on the Range” would be a great fit for your list.

Author Background: I hold a BA in English . My passion for storytelling drives me, and I am an active member of the Romance Writers of America. “Hearts on the Range” is my third completed novel, and I am eager to find the right home for it.

Closing: I have attached the first three chapters of “Hearts on the Range” to this email for your consideration. I would be honored if you would take a moment to review them. If you require any additional materials or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the possibility of working with Greyhaus Literary Agency.

Sincerely, [Your Full Name] [Your Email Address] [Your Phone Number]

So, here is what I would say immediately about this AI composed letter. I am rejecting it.

Now, I get that the program had to insert information that I did not give it, such as the title, but let's get to the real part of this letter:

There is no personality. I have no sense of you as an author. This reads simply as if you are sending this to any editor or agent who is breathing, and probably to those not breathing. 

The blurb tells me nothing. I have no sense of why this is going to stand out among all of the other projects out there. 

You state you chose me because the genres I represent fit with your story. Again, is this something I actually like? 

You have already attached the first three chapters to the email even though I am very explicit that I don't want that material. 

Your bio gives me nothing to work with. Even stating this is your third novel, I have no idea if the other stories have sold or if these are books you would want me to consider.

This letter, in simple terms is milk toast. 



You look blah and like all of the other blah authors out there. 

Consider this. SHOW me you are a great author. If you have to use AI to write an email then clearly you are not an great author. You knew how to type into your AI Bot a phrase (Heck, you probably used Speech To Text). 

I would also add that even if you did get your feet in the door of an agency or publisher, you will not know how to truthfully write the next book, complete the revisions and all of the other things a true author would know to do.