I have often called my husband a Renaissance Man. He has great people skills despite being an introvert, he writes brilliantly, can rewire a house or solve a computer problem…or someone’s life problem. There are few things he cannot do at least to some degree and many and diverse things in which he excels! I certainly believe I share his people savvy, I can teach, supervise and write grants. But selling or to put it more in the vernacular “market” myself feels like a challenge, even it I have the research skills to figure out what ‘creating a platform’ means.
So here I am trying to take the next big step into moving from writer to author. Even if it was “marketing” researching agents and publishers was up my alley, (check off step one). I have found a number of agents who might like The Call. Step Two – writing the query letter individualized by agent has been more difficult but an interesting challenge.
Writing the “jacket cover” type description intended to intrigue the agent is still in the ballpark of my skill set. It’s kind of like following different but similar writing prompts. Even if I am tweaking and rewriting I think what I have is pretty good.
I have three versions of “my pitch” for different agents thus far, with some sentences retained in all of them, highlighting different elements, each pitch designed to please the tastes of that particular agent. Though me being me I want them edited till they are perfect, I’m happy with that part of my query letters, if not yet in love.
But the synopsis, taking 124,421 words and finding a compelling but brief summation that is comprehensive enough but not too long, compelling enough but still a reasonable overview, is giving me fits. The whole time I am trying to deduce what to include that will interest a stranger (each agent I know just from their notes in Publisher‘s Marketplace or on their agency website). I keep trying to remember that if my book, or yours, is to get published we will need to have a LOT of strangers get intrigued and choose to read it.
Of course I have read lots of sample query letters and they help a great deal. (You can find them on other Writing Blogs, and Writer’s Digest on-line is great.) I have also written grants and gotten lots of money by reading the proposals of those who were previously funded and using that ‘model’, or by simply packaging a program I have wanted to “sell” to a funder in the way they outlined. It can be a reasonably logical thing to do and I have had a good success rate at getting the grants and the money.
So I am not quite sure why selling my book and myself feels so different. But I am guessing that while I have been able to objectify proposals for programs, it is hard to objectify myself or The Call, which holds so much meaning to me. I have labored over it enough that it is a little like my child.
On the other hand, I am diligent and can be as doggedly determined as Lis, my main protagonist. I will wrestle with this and not let go until I find the way. I don’t quit easily. So if learning to write a sales pitch that highlights all the reasons The Call should reach readers is what it takes, I will set my mind to it. If I achieve that then perhaps a new career in sales is right around the corner!
My mother, one of the models for Baba Zosia, was also a wise women who had a witty way with a phrase. When someone was really good at sales she would say, “he could sell snow to an Eskimo.” …Anyone want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge….or an igloo?
- What is an Example of a Good Query Letter? (Authors Only) (elitestarnews.com)
- Effective Query Letters (writingtipsforbetterwriting.wordpress.com)
- A Walk Through the Publication Process With Mandy Hubbard Part 2 (chellywood.com)