Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's All In The Pitch

The pitches for book ideas pour into my email box and mailbox. My decision is made in seconds. If you create a moving single page letter, then you've often created something which is much more challenging than it appears.

If you could sit on this side of the desk, you'd be surprised how many of these pitches contain simple flaws. They lack some element such as the word count--or they have an unrealistic word count. For example, the pitch that arrived this past week with a complete nonfiction proposal and manuscript which is about 130,000 words--way over the typical word-length. In some rare cases, I'm going to work with the person because they have a compelling idea or a compelling connection to the marketplace. These situations are the exceptions rather than the wave of submissions. The rest will receive a form rejection letter.

In the past, I've mentioned the Amazon Short program. I've got an Amazon Short called Straight Talk From The Editor, 18 Keys To A Rejection-Proof Submission. As you can see from the illustration with this post, some times this Amazon Short is in the list of their bestsellers (as on this past Sunday). While the bestselling listings change each hour, one title seems to be firmly in first place: How to Write a Great Query Letter by Noah Lukeman. I believe it's because Lukeman is giving it away for free--while the other Amazon Shorts are 49 cents. For a table of contents for this excellent 76-page document, check out this link. He recommends writers pour increased energy into crafting this query pitch. If you don't put forth the energy into it, you may never have the chance for an editor or literary agent to read your work--because you will be rejected repeatedly. Also Lukeman writes about how easily many writers give up then encourages the writer to create a solid and detailed plan of attack to get their idea into the marketplace. In today's crowded marketplace, such persistence is a necessity.

As I've mentioned recently my Amazon Short is available in an updated format without cost (free). Just follow this link and you can download it and learn from it. From looking at how Noah Lukeman set up his excellent Amazon Short, I can tell that he has little interest in selling his other books directly to the writing community. Why?

First, Amazon restricts the links inside of their Amazon Shorts. They are only "clickable" to other Amazon products and do not take you to other places online such as the author's website. When someone picks up the Amazon Short on the Amazon site, the author doesn't have any personal connection to the customer. Like most books in a bookstore, the author has little connection to their audience. With the volume of new books in the marketplace, I believe would-be authors are wise to develop electronic newsletters and other ways to connect to the audience.

Even with these slight drawbacks, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of How to Write a Great Query Letter by Noah Lukeman--and study it, then apply it to your own writing life. If you want to get a book published with a traditional publisher or get a literary agent, reading this Ebook might be your tipping point between success and rejection.

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1 Comment:

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Gina Conroy Left a note...

Now that my WIP is finished I'd like to concentrate more on the electronic writing that you've talked about. Newsletters and ebooks are a couple of things I'll explore, as will the Amazon shorts you mentioned.


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