Sunday, September 14, 2008

3 Ways to Make Yourself Irresistible to Any Agent or Publisher (Part 3)

3. Make a commitment to your career.

You are the most important factor in your success, so you must be totally
committed to your career. Here's how:

  • Know yourself and your goals. To be a successful writer, you
    must have literary and financial goals that motivate you to write and promote your books. Set goals for what you want to write and for whom, and how much money you want to earn in a year from your writing. Then make sure that your publishing network agrees that your work can achieve your goals.

  • Reinvent yourself as an "authorpreneur". Start thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur, a self-employed professional running a small business. Practice nichecraft. Develop a specialty. Once you've had one novel or nonfiction book published, you can present yourself as a professional when you try to sell your next
    book. If you pick the right subject or the kind of novel that lends itself to a series of books that you will enjoy writing and promoting, you can create your own brand and carve a career out of it.

    Author Sam Horn advises writers to be an "authorpreneur" who makes a living by coming up with ideas and selling them in as many media as possible.

  • Be passionate about your books. People thrive on passion. If publishers believe in a book passionately, either because they love it, they think it will make money, or it simply must be published,
    they will publish it.

    Only write books that you are passionate about creating and promoting. You will know more and care more about your books than anyone else. You want all of the links in the invisible book chain between you and the readers--your agent, the people at your publishing house, subsidiary-rights buyers, the media, booksellers and book buyers--to share your passion for your books. But it's transmitting your passion and the passion that your books arouse in others that forges the links in the chain.

  • Mobilize your networks. Develop two international
    professional networks online and offline: a publishing network of people involved in and writing and publishing, and a field network of every key person in the field involved with what you're writing about, whether it's mysteries or health. They will be powerful allies in your quest for success.

  • Do everything you can for your books. Visit your publisher, track your book closely through the publication process, and be of whatever help you can with cover art, catalog copy, and publicity
    materials. Be a professional but relentless advocate for your book.

  • Promote your books.

    Two cannibals are having dinner and one says to the other:
    "You know, I don't like your publisher."

    "OK," the other cannibal says, "then just eat
    the noodles."

    The most common reason authors become disenchanted with their publishers is lack of promotion. Most books have a one-month window of opportunity to sink or swim in the continuing deluge of books. That window opens on pub date when books are in stores and reviews start to appear.

    Large houses are looking for writers who are ready to pop, who are ready for the big time. For most nonfiction aimed at a wide national audience, the authors' ability to promote their books will usually be far more important than the content of their books in determining the editor, publisher and deal they receive for them. We can tell from two pieces of information whether we will be able to place such a book with a major house: the title and the promotion plan.

    For serious nonfiction books, the ability of authors to promote their work is less important.

    The only time to approach an agent is when two things are in place:
    Your proposal or manuscript is as strong as it can be, and the promotion plan for your book is as long and as strong as you can make it. The ability to promote books is becoming as vital for novelists as it is for nonfiction writers.

  • Keep growing. Don't let your desire to be a writer turn you into a one-sided personality. Strive to develop all of your potentials as a human being. Your personal growth will enhance your writing and promotion.

  • Don't let anything--especially fear, fame or fortune--stop you. The ultimate secret of becoming a successful author is making a total, lifetime commitment.


Now is the most exciting time ever to be alive, and it's the best time ever to be a writer. Information is doubling every eighteen months, and the age of information is also the age of the writer.

There are more

  • subjects for you to write about
  • forms, media and countries for your books to be published in
  • agents who need new writers
  • options to get your nonfiction books written
  • options for getting your books published
  • ways to learn about writing and publishing
  • ways to promote your books and profit from them than ever before

Always remember that as a writer, you are the most important person in
the publishing process because you make it go.

With the right combination of talent, luck, and perseverance, you will succeed. The only absolute about writing, agenting, and publishing is to trust your instincts and common sense and to do whatever works.

The best piece of advice we have ever heard about becoming a successful writer: "If anything can stop you from becoming a writer, let it. If nothing can stop you, do it and you'll make it."

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