January 13, 2006

Blunt Talk from Bucky Sinister

Some sage advice, especially that last sentence:

"Here are a few tips that would make that initial contact smooth from my perspective.

"Be familiar with the publisher. Mention books the publisher has done by name. Publishers are interested in finding books that will sell to the readers who bought previous titles. This also shows that you are not blindly submitting from a list you made from The Writer's Market.

"Don't submit any manuscript unless you think it is finished. Don't waste anyone's time with a work-in-progress. Edit it until you think it is ready for publication. It won't be, but that's another phase of the process.
Be able to compare your work to other authors, preferably contemporary authors. No matter how unique and special you think your story or writing style is, you do have similarities to at least three authors who are currently publishing. Name them. If you can't, ask a well read friend to figure it out for you.

"When asked what the book is about, be able to say it in 10 words or less. Get your pitch down to under 30 seconds. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius may be the smartest title ever from a marketing standpoint. The more demographics and categories you can work into one line the better. "I'm a lesbian David Sedaris," or "A coming-of-age story for badly aging punks," or "a feel-good recollection of my mother's battle with cojoined twin misoplexia," or "Augusten Burroughs meets Edgar Rice Burroughs. It's about growing up gay raised by apes."

"I've worked in this business for the last 12 years. I learned what I know the hard way. I went to college but learned the profession on the job. The publishing industry burns the writer out of some personalities, but it's only strengthened mine. I strongly suggest that if you're interested in being published, move to New York and get a job at a publishing company. You'll learn more about editors, publishers, and writers than I could ever tell you about in an article. You'll make better contacts and connections than any other way possible. Until then, write another novel. Don't worry about the current one. Keep writing, outdo your last effort, and rejection slips be damned."

For the complete article, go HERE.
In fact, go to that site (part of the NaNoWriMo challenge) and find tons of good counsel. Especially if editing is your nemisis.
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