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ladyvincenza
06-30-2009, 10:08 PM
Hi All,
I took a great class at a writers' center here in Boston about promoting your book and got some great advice.
While I didn't invest (financially speaking, since I don't have much money) in everything the teacher recommended, I do have a blog to promote a book I am trying to sell-- still no agent, though. I do quite a bit of promotion in Amazon discussions, other people's blogs, and so forth-- another blogger and I co-hosted a contest to draw attention, which was really fun. Of course, there is Facebook, Twitter, etc., which I'm still trying to navigate. I've done a couple of podcasts, which were also a lot of fun. I've published (for PR, not money) abridged chapters of the book I've written.
I'm still not having a whole lot of success-- writing is hard for me to come by, even though I think I have considerable talent. I don't have a platform, for one, as most non-fic writers do: I'm essentially a nobody with talent and good ideas. In any case, it would probably take an enormous following on FB/Twitter/whatever to catch the interest of an agent or editor-- I have no idea how much, but somewhere in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps.
Point is, how could one person-- me-- possibly garner all that stuff? It could easily be a full-time job to pursue all this stuff to reach some kind of critical mass. I'm grateful for whatever success I've had, but I can't imagine it'll ever be enough to actually build my career, if you see what I mean.
With zillions of sites out there, most of them porn, how can I realistically compete in a way that gets real results (career-wise)?
Thanks,
Sarah

zpeteman
07-01-2009, 03:25 AM
Quality, persistence, and hard work.

Kathleen42
07-01-2009, 05:14 AM
I wish I had some advice. Though not an Atheist myself, I found your blog interesting and engaging. My only suggestion was to tap into American Atheist Magazine (which I know of via Douglas Adams), but its seems you've already done that.

SandraBeckwith
07-01-2009, 05:58 AM
Sarah,

I did a keynote presentation at the Univ of Wisc Writer's Institute a couple of yrs ago on how to build a platform that attracts agents, publishers, etc., and if you send me your e-mail (write to sb@buildbookbuzz.com), I'll e-mail the one page handout with my 10 tips.

Cheers,
Sandy

scope
07-01-2009, 07:57 AM
[quote=ladyvincenza;3755151]

I'm still not having a whole lot of success-- writing is hard for me to come by, even though I think I have considerable talent.

It sounds like everything you've done thus far is in one way or another related to self publishing. If that's so, I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that no one with a publishing background (traditional), or any organizations dealing with your nonfiction subject has read and commented on your work.

Of course the best way to find out if you have writing talent is submit your work to editors at publishing houses, or better yet, to literary agents for representation. Their critiques should give you a pretty good idea of where you stand. However, before doing so I suggest you run your manuscript, query letter, proposal and platform by beta readers for their comments, and you might think about posting some of your work in AW SYW for critique.

I don't have a platform, for one, as most non-fic writers do: I'm essentially a nobody with talent and good ideas.

This is a major problem for writers of nonfiction.
Without a terrific proposal and platform publication it's unlikely.
I think you should put together a list of highly credentialed individuals, organizations, and such. Contact them, tell what you have written and why you wrote it, ask them to review, tell them you want to begin the submission process to agents and/or publishers shortly, ask for the right to use their name(s) (any and everywhere, including title page). Make the best deal you can.
Of course what I've written is based all being approipraite for your work. That I don't know, but it reads as if it is.

katiemac
07-02-2009, 04:15 AM
I think it's good to be aware of the different kinds of promotion. And, hopefully I don't seem offensive, but I think you might be getting ahead of yourself some.

Promotion can most definitely take a long time to get results - but it will take even longer to get results for something that isn't yet published. And once you are published, hopefully you will have people to help you with these things - some agencies also have PR practices attached, and your publishing house will hopefully help you figure out which avenues are best followed for your book. And (crossing fingers) you'll have a publishing house name behind that book that makes people take a closer look instead of brushing you off.

Now, again, I'm not sure exactly what you're doing - but it might be more beneficial to work the promotions angles on building your platform and getting out there to snag new projects, instead of with the intent to interest publishers/agents.
Now, if you're planning self-publishing then perhaps this is all negligible. My only point is, while you can certainly make it work when you're published, try not to stress yourself out over it now. Having an Internet presence is probably the best thing you can do at this stage, and what will be the most effective. Promotion is overall more effective with consumers, not agents or editors.

ladyvincenza
07-03-2009, 12:35 AM
I wish I had some advice. Though not an Atheist myself, I found your blog interesting and engaging. My only suggestion was to tap into American Atheist Magazine (which I know of via Douglas Adams), but its seems you've already done that.

Yeah, I've been in it-- I published an abridged chapter of my book there. Thanks for looking!
Sarah

ladyvincenza
07-03-2009, 12:42 AM
Hi!

Of course the best way to find out if you have writing talent is submit your work to editors at publishing houses, or better yet, to literary agents for representation. Their critiques should give you a pretty good idea of where you stand. However, before doing so I suggest you run your manuscript, query letter, proposal and platform by beta readers for their comments, and you might think about posting some of your work in AW SYW for critique.

Yeah, I've submitted to almost 20 agents, no luck so far. I'll keep pounding away, at least for now. No agent has really critiqued me, of course, nor can I expect them to-- it is, after all, time-consuming. I ran all my materials by people (some on this site) for critiques and revised, naturally. I haven't gone to Beta readers, so I'll try that.

This is a major problem for writers of nonfiction.
Without a terrific proposal and platform publication it's unlikely.
I think you should put together a list of highly credentialed individuals, organizations, and such. Contact them, tell what you have written and why you wrote it, ask them to review, tell them you want to begin the submission process to agents and/or publishers shortly, ask for the right to use their name(s) (any and everywhere, including title page). Make the best deal you can.
Of course what I've written is based all being approipraite for your work. That I don't know, but it reads as if it is. [/quote]

I'm lucky enough to have scored some juicy book cover quotes from well-known people in the field. Are you saying I should ask them to review my materials, too? Bc I'm more than a little pessimistic that this is OK to ask.
Thanks for your help.

ladyvincenza
07-03-2009, 12:45 AM
I think it's good to be aware of the different kinds of promotion. And, hopefully I don't seem offensive, but I think you might be getting ahead of yourself some.

Promotion can most definitely take a long time to get results - but it will take even longer to get results for something that isn't yet published. And once you are published, hopefully you will have people to help you with these things - some agencies also have PR practices attached, and your publishing house will hopefully help you figure out which avenues are best followed for your book. And (crossing fingers) you'll have a publishing house name behind that book that makes people take a closer look instead of brushing you off.

Now, again, I'm not sure exactly what you're doing - but it might be more beneficial to work the promotions angles on building your platform and getting out there to snag new projects, instead of with the intent to interest publishers/agents.
Now, if you're planning self-publishing then perhaps this is all negligible. My only point is, while you can certainly make it work when you're published, try not to stress yourself out over it now. Having an Internet presence is probably the best thing you can do at this stage, and what will be the most effective. Promotion is overall more effective with consumers, not agents or editors.

How can I get the book published if I don't have promotions to attract interest (such as a blog)? I thought that was the whole point. Are you saying that I shouldn't blog or anything until after the book is published? Bc that's pretty much the opposite of what I've been hearing.
If I were planning to self-publish, why would I bother looking for an agent at this point? I want to avoid vanity publishing like the plague, pardon the cliche.
At any rate, my question is how to get enough readers of my blog (or whatever it is to promote myself) to attract an agent.
Thanks,
Sarah

katiemac
07-03-2009, 04:39 AM
It's okay to have a blog/website and write about your book. But the truth of the matter is, agents and editors only care if the book is good. They're not really impressed by the number of people who check out your blog every day. You attract agents by writing a good query letter and sending them outstanding sample pages.

I'm suggesting you don't kill yourself with promotions now, because when it comes to agents, it's not what's going to get them to sign your book.

ETA: If you're interested in including market research in your query letter if you're doing nonfiction, it would be more appropriate to do some hard research and see why there is a hole in the market that your book can fill. You can't really claim those things [not that you have] by saying you get hits on your blog. It's very rare for someone to get a book deal based on their web presence.


How can I get the book published if I don't have promotions to attract interest (such as a blog)? I thought that was the whole point. Are you saying that I shouldn't blog or anything until after the book is published? Bc that's pretty much the opposite of what I've been hearing.
If I were planning to self-publish, why would I bother looking for an agent at this point? I want to avoid vanity publishing like the plague, pardon the cliche.
At any rate, my question is how to get enough readers of my blog (or whatever it is to promote myself) to attract an agent.
Thanks,
Sarah

SandraBeckwith
07-06-2009, 06:26 PM
LadyVincenza: Is your book fiction or nonfiction?

Sandy

Cathy C
07-06-2009, 06:57 PM
I agree with katiemac. The goal isn't to show a publisher or agent that you already HAVE a following, it's to show that the book is good enough to GET a following. Concentrate on the book for now, leave the promo for later, IMO. :)

SandraBeckwith
07-06-2009, 07:08 PM
"Platform" is important to many publishers, especially with nonfiction. They want authors coming to them with sales channels in place -- the author with a newsletter mailing list of 20,000 who speaks on her topic frequently and has a blog with a strong following is more attractive than an author with no network because the connected author can market the new book to a warm audience.

Likewise, an expert on a nonfiction topic who has a great reputation and network and a marketable book idea, but no writing ability or time, can still get a book contract because the agent or publisher will connect the expert with a ghostwriter.

It's a different story with fiction, which is why I asked that question.

Cheers,
Sandy