She had put [her poems] on the back burner, and they had fallen behind the stove.
Melissa Wuske, my saintly editor at Writer’s Digest Books, asked me to answer questions she sent for an author Q&A that WD will post online to promote the fourth edition of How to Write a Book Proposal, which comes out in April. One of the questions and the answer:
What message do you find yourself repeating over and over to writers?
- Become an expert of the kind of book you’re writing. Read what you love to read and write what you love to read.
- Find books and authors to use as models for your books and career, and to help you set literary and publishing goals.
- Be a contenpreneur: produce or collaborate on a continuing stream of material, in all lengths, for all media, for free and fees, and take responsibility for the success of your work.
- Maximize the synergy of your work by writing books that sell each other and that you can resell in as many forms, media, and countries as possible.
- Make every word count. Word of mouth and mouse are the most potent forms of promotion. No amount of marketing can make a bad book sell.
- Build your platform–your continuing visibility, online and off, on your subject or kind of book with potential book buyers.
- Build communities of fans, writers, and publishing people to help you.
- Don’t be guilty of premature submission. Keep revising your worik until you can’t improve it. Get feedback on your work from a network of knowledgeable readers while you’re writing and after you finish.
- Maximize the value of your book before you sell it by test-marketing it, online and off, in as many ways as you can, to prove it will sell and get the best editor, publisher, and deal for it.
- Chicken souperman Jack Canfield said: “A book is an iceberg. Writing is ten percent; marketing is ninety percent.” Create a promotion plan that proves you will make your book succeed because of what you will do for it.
- Take the long view as well as the short view about your writing and career. Writers usually become successful by writing a series of books that sell each other and build an audience for their work.
- Make nothing more important than your commitment to your craft and your career, and success is inevitable.
I hope this condensation of advice in previous posts will help you make this be your most creative and successful year yet. If you have put your writing on the back burner, make this the year you create an irresistible feast for the heart and the mind.
Onward and upward!
Alan Rinzler and I will be doing a breakout session on proposals at the Eighth San Francisco Writers Conference and a three-hour class on them on Monday, February 21 / Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel on Nob Hill / Keynoters: Dorothy Allison & David Morrell / Pitch your book to agents and editors / Free feedback on your work / www.sfwriters.org / firstname.lastname@example.org / blog: http://sfwriters.org/blog / Open to anyone: a day of in-depth classes on Monday, February 21 / Free MP3s at www.sfwriters.info / New! San Francisco Writers University: Where Writers Meet and You Learn, a project of the San Francisco Writers Conference / Laurie McLean, Dean / www.sfwritersu.com
There are twelve steps you can take to ensure your success as an author.
Jack Canfield, Melissa Wuske, Writer’s Digest Books, How to Write a Book Proposal, Lorrie Moore, Alan Rinzler