Getting a book published is a “chicken and egg” proposition.
Publishers are hesitant to take risks with an unproven asset, but the only way to become a proven asset is to land a publisher. Ultimately, all publishers do accept first-time authors (there being no other way to solve this paradox) but they do it carefully. They make justifications. They have to publicly proclaim that they know what they’re doing, which is 90% of what all businesses do, anyway.
But this puts authors in a tough and undeserved spot, where they have to rely on chance and circumstance, often, in order to get noticed.
And I can say that with some authority, as I am living through it right now.
That Awkward Phase
A lot of you have read my Works in Progress page and have an inkling of what I am working on. Perhaps you’re curious about the details.
Those details will be forthcoming. But keep in mind that most of them will wait until after I have a solid deal. The horse has to come before the cart with these kinds of things, and it’s counterproductive to start marketing a product before I can tell you where and when you’ll be able to buy it.
However, I can tell you that the manuscript I have is amazing and worthy of shelf space at any bookseller.
That’s High Praise You’re Giving Yourself
True, but consider the words of Gore Vidal:
In America, the race goes to the loud, the solemn, the hustler. If you think you’re a great writer, you must say that you are.
A lot of introverted young writers have to learn this lesson: if you don’t testify that your book is amazing, then don’t expect anyone else to. By the mere act of seeking publication, you are putting forth a claim—that your work is worthy. When you make that declaration, someone will investigate it. They will likely be trying to disprove it, and if they can’t, you win. Make enough noise and you can gather several such water testers, improving your odds dramatically.
So Here’s My Claim
I have a manuscript, codenamed “A9”, that is ready to rock the world.
The editor who reads it will publish it. That’s a promise. This book does not hide its treasures. It does not require the reader to look for some hidden potential. It is discernably good, and any publisher who picks it up is going to profit off it, and earn prestige for bringing it to the public.
And you’ll get me as a client, as a bonus. (We’re going to have fun.)
So you’ll understand why, at this moment, I wouldn’t trade places with any other writer, big or small, because what I have right now is the beginning of something amazing. Don’t forget my promise, because I will hold myself to it.
Telling People about It
It’s been said that good PR consists of no more than doing something good and then telling people about it.
I have done something good. We have entered the period of telling people about it.
And it’s going to be hard, since I’m kind of an introvert myself. But this is a skill I’m willing to put into practice, because there’s always someone, every day, who is publishing their first book, and today’s someone might as well be me. Heaven knows I’ve got the chops for it.
We’ll talk again when I’m there.
[This week’s tagline: “Where people come…to witness something amazing.”]