Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Agent for a Day Recap #3

The Agent for a Day contest results are in. Drum roll, please.

I chose 1 of the 3 published titles. Bummer.

Interestingly enough, none of the 3 were the most requested out of the 300+ contestant responses and only 2 people were able to get 2 right. What does this tell me?

I have a 33% chance of being a good agent with no training? Eh. Not so much.

Taste is subjective? Getting better.

Query letters are mucho importante? Almost there.

Snaring an agent / editor with a catchy pitch is mandatory? Winner!

In reading books like Save the Cat!, the importance of a logline bubbles up as one of the most essential ways to save your pitch from going adrift the murky waters of rejected material. I mention it often, but as writers in this new era of publishing, we have to be our own marketing, sales, and public relations departments. Platform is key as well as creating wide networking circles.

Nathan Bransford's contest proves there is a ton of competition out there. Some of the query letters were really good. So good in fact, the unpublished ones received the highest request rates.

As a former salesperson used to having the "core message" handed to her, I feel compelled to stress the obvious -- we need to give prospective agents a no-brainer pitch. Having written our books, aren't we, the authors, the most appropriate people to introduce them to the world?

Bransford says, "When people are writing good queries it helps us spot the good projects. But remember: the most important thing is not writing a good query, but rather writing a good book. A strong concept is so important."

That brings me to my last rant. Just yesterday, I witnessed one writer consoling another with the words, "Don't worry. Those fixes are what editors are paid to do."

I about lost it. That's terrible advice. A good story idea does not supersede bad execution.

In sum, write the best manuscript possible and put the time into creating a hook. Selling has a direct relationship to effort: what you put in, you get out. Go get 'em!

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your last few comments. Yes, editors are paid "to do that" and yes, after you get the book deal. A friend who recently got the book deal AND published, just finished additional edits on the book. To use her words, "...even when you're done, you're not done." Put forth your best. Every time.