Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Professionalism and Passion

I’ll admit it’s a tricky balance: professionalism and passion.  When you present your book idea to an editor, you want it to come across as professional yet you also want to be passionate about your topic.  It’s the same way as an editor. When I teach at a writer’s conference, I want to fill my brief time with each person with a measure of help and professionalism. Some times you only have a brief time with an individual and other times you have a longer period to teach. In each case, I understand the financial and time investment that each person has made to attend the conference. I want them to feel like just attending my comprehensive class on the nonfiction book contained enough value for the entire conference. I’ve attended many workshops where I’ve not received much value and I don’t want to give that experience to the people listening to my teaching.

While I want to be practical in my teaching about books, also I want to be passionate.  I continue to recall the impact of certain books on my own life and I tell a few of those stories when I teach so the participants can tell that I care about what the printed page does in the life of the reader. Several people at Glorieta kindly wrote notes of appreciation and left them for the instructors.  During my plane ride home, I read these notes. One of the comments struck home to me—individuals thanked me for starting my workshop in prayer. It’s something I do at Christian writers conferences—mostly because I can—and I can’t take this step in many other settings where I teach. I consistently pray that God will use my words and time to inspire and help each listener to fulfill the dreams in their hearts. I believe the listeners could hear my passion for the way the printed page changes people. I know firsthand because it has changed me.

During my time at the conference, a number of people told me how they were using Book Proposals That Sell to improve the responses from editors. It was encouraging to hear the excitement in their voices and the reaction from editors when they used the principles and tools in this book to shape their book proposal. It was a personal encouragement to me because one of my key goals for this book is to improve the overall quality of writer’s pitches to the editor. It seems to be happening in a small way—writer by writer.

In these entries, I mentioned an online workshop that I taught over a week ago about Book Proposals That Sell. More than 60 participants gathered in this chat room for about an hour. I spent the first part of the hour giving some instruction and the remainder of the time answering individual questions. It was a good session but I didn’t think a lot about the possible results.  A week ago, I traveled to the conference and took a few minutes to check some email and online information.  While I don’t fixate on my Amazon sales number, I do look at it. To my surprise, my number was the lowest that I’ve ever seen it. Now these numbers shift throughout the day, so I quickly highlighted it and pasted it into a Microsoft Word file. Here’s what I saw on October 11th at about 6 p.m.:


Book Proposals That Sell

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #7,755 in Books

My encouragement to you today is to find that balance between professionalism where you give the best possible presentation to the editor—and passion about your particular topic. If you choose to show it, the passion will shine through to the editor.

1 Comment:

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Jerome Left a note...

Terry, I noticed the other day that your Amazon number was dipping but didn't see it this low. It was in the 20,000 range when I noticed. I hope it keeps dropping!!


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