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The Road to the Finish Line

21 Apr Posted by in Marketing Ideas | 6 comments
The Road to the Finish Line

Fresh from a great writer’s conference, an aspiring fiction author makes plans to finish her race.

This, my friends, is what’s called an “elevator pitch”, a tag line that tells you what my blog will be about. This is one of the many things  I learned that I will need to market my story, even before it is published. With all the competition out there, I’ve got to “nose out” in front of the other worthy contestants.

At the recent Called to Write Conference in Pittsburg, Kansas, I learned so many things, especially from Terry Burns, agent for the Hartline Agency. Terry’s sessions were tremendously honest and helpful, and I’ve had a new determination since returning home.  Here are a few points that made so much sense to me. I hope they will enlighten you as well:

  • Most book proposals are rejected before the agent/publisher reads any portion of your manuscript. This is because, the person reading the cover letter is looking for something that prevents them from reading any further. This is where doing your homework is so important. you must have a very good idea of the requirements for the proposal, the market that the agent/publisher is selling to. Your book has to be a good fit for them, regardless of how well written it may be. Keep their interest, make it look worth their time, and you’ll have a leg up.
  • A big plus for any marketing plan is to have a “platform”,  a topic that you can speak intelligently and passionately about, and a group of people you can present it to. This should be established even before your book is finished, so that when you have a book to carry along to these “engagements” they will already know you well enough to want to buy it. Nothing better than a ready made audience.
  • The most important thing about your book when you are pitching it to someone is that it is “ready”. The agent/editor/publisher does not want to spend a lot of time rewriting. If it is ready for a slot they are wanting to fill, you are a huge step ahead of other submissions. If this requires professional editing before you submit a proposal, it will be well worth it.
  • At the end of each day, you will feel much more satisfied if you’ve taken one more step along that “race-way” to publication. Post a link to your blog, make a contact that will lead to presenting your “platform”, do some editing that really tightens up your manuscript.
  • Do your homework, and make your submission shine. Don’t allow any formatting problems that will distract the agent/editor/publisher to the point that they put your story down.

After this inspiring conference,my head is buzzing with ideas for completing my journey. I’ve made a list of groups that I would be comfortable speaking to, and I’m formulating a “platform” that will first of all glorify God, and secondly, make my name more well known. Hopefully, by the time I have a book published, there will be a lot of people waiting to buy it.

Thank-you Lord for the renewed excitement I am feeling. Please stay with me on this journey, as I press toward the mark! Amen.

  1. Pamela Stephens04-21-11

    Thanks Jenny, it sounds like you really got lots out of your investment! Good for you! And I am sure there will be an audience! I like your enthusiasm and can’t wait to hear how your “journey” goes! 🙂

  2. Debbie Archer05-06-11

    Every single point you made spoke to my heart. It’s as though you peeked inside and said, “Okay, this is what she needs to hear.” *grin* Thanks for such an insightful post, Jenny.

    • Jenny Carlisle05-07-11

      Glad you liked it, Debbie. Terry did a wonderful job at the conference, and really put me in a “get down to business” mode.

  3. Sheila Covey05-07-11

    Jenny, you’ve have certainly laid out what it takes, and you’ve also expressed that “getting rejected” may not be the manuscript they’ve rejected, but a letter that doesn’t resonate with them. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned.

    • Jenny Carlisle05-07-11

      Right, Sheila. That letter and the proposal is so important. If they don’t ever start reading the story, they won’t know what a great writer you are!

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