To those keeping track, I’m up to 53 ‘No’s.’ I preemptively wrote off 8 agents who were nearing their expiration date, because why fool yourself? Only one seemed like a potential match, anyway. So today’s entry is more like a window into what it’s like being a novelist marketing your work.
I’m curious how other authors choose to write what they write. Does the muse strike them and they can’t NOT write it? I’ve heard that many times before, and honestly, I don’t believe it. Here’s why:
The same thing happened to me. One day I wrote a scene that had been bothering me for years. Once done with that, I wrote another scene that had been floating in my imagination, and connected the two. This totaled maybe 20 or 25 pages.
Done. Now that itch had been scratched.
See, like most writers (I think), I’ve got dozens of book ideas waiting to be written, some plotted out in my head all the way to the end. I’ve even started a few of them, just as I did the one above. I wrote out the parts that demanded attention, and then…ah, it’s the ‘and then’ that led me to this blog post. But the blood, toil, tears and sweat necessary to write any novel cannot happen on a whim. There must be an ongoing conscious decision to do the work, and for me, doing work without knowing there’s a market for it makes no sense. Maybe it works for other, but not for me.
For The Last Brigade I consciously did market research, just as I have my other projects. My career to date has been varied, from uber-successful salesman, to National Employee of the Year as a Sales Trainer (Major electronics company I’ll guarantee you’ve heard of), to paid author, to very successful Network Marketer to all kinds of other interesting job choices. I know what success looks like and I know how to get there. Counting all of my accolades put together, I’ve been awarded more than one hundred sales or marketing awards.
But this book is NOT pursuing a current trend. That rarely succeeds, because its the trend-setters who make the most money. See, I’m in this for the long haul. Here’s an example of what I mean.
Ayn Rand remains a controversial author to this day. Some love her work, some hate her work, but for those familiar with it, there are few without an opinion. That’s the kind of enduring legacy I aspire to. (Not to infer the politics are the same)
I know that my work is fun to read, the dialogue is really, really good (that’s the one thing everybody who has read it, agents included, can agree on), the diversity is over the top (just as its understated), the action is off the charts…in short, I think I’ve produced one hell of a good work, that is not for everybody. For those who like these things, however, I think it will be recommended to their friends.
And then there’s me. Once the book is published we enter the world where I shine the most, sales and marketing. Nobody has ever outworked me, and I assign this a very high value.
(What? No, my head is no bigger than the next guy’s, why do you ask?)
The only question for me was, to which idea do I devote the time and effort needed to produce a first-rate novel? When my research was done, The Last Brigade became a reality, and I am delighted with the results.
Now, on to the next research. Does an agent exist that is a good fit for me? Or a publisher? That process is well underway, but in the past week I have made a major change in the business plan based on experience. Always be flexible.
And since I’m kind of worse for wear, stiff and creaky, it might be time to take up yoga.