Here’s a secret I’ve only learned in the past six weeks. Are ya ready?
Writing is easy. Selling is hard. I think that will be my motto from here on out.
Now, you’d think that writing the book would be the hard part. It’s not. It’s a breeze. Getting an agent or a publisher to accept it? Putting together all of the proposals required to send to those agents and publishers? There is your hard part.
My personal choice is to hire an agent. I know that you don’t need one, but I want one. Why? Because I am not a business-oriented person. Numbers and contracts and things like that go right over my head. I really need someone who knows what they’re doing to handle those kinds of things. So for me and my personal choice, I’d like to have an agent. You may not want to hand over the 15%. That’s cool. I consider the 15% to be my peace of mind, if that makes sense.
But! Before I can hire an agent, I have to get one to accept me. So in a strange way it’s like going to a job interview and offering to pay somebody to let you work for them. That may not be a perfect analogy, but that’s sort of how it is. I understand it; no agent wants to spend time on something that won’t sell. After all, he or she makes money when their client makes money. I respect that. And so begins the effort to make them want to take a look at my book.
You get an agent (or a publisher if you aren’t in the mood for an agent) to look at your book by creating a killer proposal for it. You can have the world’s greatest book and a bad proposal and you’re outta luck. So your proposal needs to be good. Depending on the agent/publisher, there are different requirements for proposals, so checking out their websites is a must. Some want a one-page query letter first. Others want a query letter and a synopsis (three single-spaced pages that basically summarize the book). Still others want a query letter, a synopsis, a back cover blurb, and other things.
Here is where I struggled and struggled and struggled. Going in Circles is, according to Word’s word count, about 107,000 words. I think it’s less by industry word counts, but that’s not a major point. The synopsis of the book was pretty easy for me, but that could simply mean that I did it wrong. 🙂 It’s the query letter that killed me. Wanna know why? Because you have to pack a lot into it, and one of the things you have to pack into it is a forty-or-so-word summary of your book. Forty. I had to turn 107,000 words into forty and do it in a way that convinces whoever is reading my query letter that I have a fabulous book on my hands.
To be honest, I wanted to beat my head against a wall. Really. I seem to recall pounding it on the desk a few times anyway. I prayed. And I prayed. And I prayed. Just like God had to write the book, He had to write the query letter and the forty-worder. It’s His for His glory and I had to have His help. It took me over a week to finally get down to forty-five words. And that was spending hours a day at my desk. I think it took me less time to write the book! (Just kidding… but it sure felt that way!) I finally got it when we were driving from Georgia to North Carolina. I hauled out my legal pad and sat in the front seat and hammered at it until I had something. Is it good? Beats me. I hope so. Is it approximately forty words? Yep, it is. I wanted to car surf down the highway I was so happy to get it.
There’s more… because that was only the forty-word summary. But it’s a start in this blog for now…