By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about the pain of pitching and presenting your book project to agents, editors and publishers.
Writers spend a lot of time, sometimes years, creating and crafting books from the heights of their imaginations to the depths of their souls. We pour out our stories, hearts and words on page after page after page. We write and rewrite to get it exactly right and say it in the way we feel the reader will best engage in our story and message.
After so much proverbial blood, sweat and tears have been invested in writing a complete book project, only then does the journey of getting it published really begin.
Some authors cower in the face of having to actually tell someone else about their book, much less an industry decision maker. They shake in their shoes. After writing a 300 page novel or 200 page business book, they become well – at a loss for words. Others type up what they want to say so they’ll remember. Yet when they stand face to face with the agent or publisher, they pull out their “cheat sheet” and appear unpolished and unprepared to discuss their project. Others forget themselves – and that these professionals are people too – and become overly aggressive in their efforts to get their book noticed.
An author’s approach to the industry is essential to their success and unfortunately this etiquette is not something that is really taught in any particular venue or conference. Oftentimes, writers seek out agents and publishers as advertised at these events; however, in the course of talking with the experts, authors often fall short of the respectful ways of engaging an agent or publisher.
I have heard stories from agents about grown men and women crying about their discomfort and fears of presenting their book to the industry. After all, pitching for the most part is done behind closed doors. But not always. I’ve also heard stories of agents being chased down in the hallways at conferences by authors and being pitched on the ladies room line. In fact, even in Jennifer DeChiara’s interview earlier on today’s show, she admits that women have attempted to pass her manuscripts under the stall in the bathroom in between sessions.
It’s confusing, frustrating and downright disappointing for an author who has invested their time and energy and who has infused their project with love to be rejected by an industry decision maker. Unfortunately, it may not be about your project but more about your approach.
Authors find more frustration, feel more failure and misinterpret their efforts to get published as futile when what is really missing is the opportunity to learn how to present their project properly.
Even with all the books written and conferences, seminars and trainings taught, this single important and elusive facet of the publishing process can make or break an author’s success. No wonder why so many writers experience fear in the face of taking the next steps to get published. It’s no wonder why books that have been written by many remain unpublished as authors continue to seek out someone who will want to champion their book to the industry.
With such a high risk of dashed hopes and dreams riding on the evaluation of someone else’s expertise, an author with a dream of being a bestseller sometimes just gets psyched out from the whole process and is left behind along the side of the road of the publishing path to the proverbial “Emerald City” where dreams of being published do come true and wishes are fulfilled.
With so many people these days wanting to write and publish a book, it is not so much a wonder why self-publishing has become so popular. But still, whether you choose to ask a publisher or agent to take you on, there is a high price to pay for everyone involved and a great risk to take on the project you’re pitching. It is up to you as the author to present your project properly and responsibly to attract the attention you want.
This is the ultimate professional means of using your book as your hook because you can’t use your book as your hook unless you have a book. And as Jennifer DeChiara says in her excellent guest article this week on the show blog entitled “Engaging A Literary Agent – Do’s and Don’ts,” writers are signed every day. Deals are
negotiated. Books do get published and dreams do come true. Learn all you can
about the process and do everything you can to improve your chances.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.