Thursday, December 16, 2004

PART II: An Editorial Response

RECAP: I received a posting recently from a businessman/unpublished writer whose remarks left me divided: one portion made good sense to me, while another set off alarm bells in my head. So I decided the best chance I’d have of dealing with them both in a semi-cogent way was to split the conversation into two halves.

The first half of that conversation ran Tuesday, Dec. 14 ("Part I: An Entrepreneurial Proposal"), and generated some heated response from other writers. Some agreed with the Entrepreneur about the value, potentially, of investing extra $$$ (or €€€, as the case may be) in the marketing of one’s own book; others were appalled that anyone w/in publishing (namely, me) might advise such a course of action (one contributor felt doing so blurred “the distinction between Vantage and Vintage”); while still others took issue with the Entrepreneur’s definition of “investment” (or “risk”), which seemed to exclude the vast array of costs associated with becoming a writer—not just material costs (“four toner drums a year…two-four computer keyboards a year” etc) but also opportunity costs, the money one might have earned via a steady paying gig—all of which are sunk by the time the writer finally boxes up her manuscript, mails it off to a literary agent, and is at least potentially in a position to recoup some actual income from her labors.

Now, about those alarm bells…

PART II: An Editorial Response

Let's start with another excerpt from the same anonymous posting. [To read The Entrepreneur’s original post in its entirety, click on the following link and then scroll down to the comment that begins, "The biggest downer about this blog, to me, isn't the anonymity. It's the debate over anonymity. So let's get back to some of that famous dialog."]
“I'm an unpublished writer and a business man. I've written my first manuscript and for the last year I've been researching the publishing industry, preparing my business plan, marketing plan, etc. My hope is to switch careers one day… I truly view my career change as a business decision and, to that end, I want to invest in my future. I hope to find an agent and a publisher that will understand my desire to invest my own capital, money out of my own pocket that is budgeted to marketing & promotion activities. My goal is to remove some of the financial risk from the publisher and create awareness for my name and my book. Rather than make any money from an advance, I plan to invest all of the advance plus $10k of my own money.

Dear Entrepreneur:

As you know, I found compelling the parallels you drew between a writer’s investing in his own marketing and a student taking out loans to get a college education, or an entrepreneur investing capital in a new business venture. Simultaneously, however, there was something about your comments that gave me pause. You talked at great length about your research and your careful preparation for aspects relating to the marketing of your book. What was missing was any discussion whatsoever about the work itself. The book, I mean; the writing

—and so we enter now into a discussion of what perhaps makes books different from other products, publishing different from other industries. Because despite my admiration for your views on self-promotion, an alarm goes off for me the instant I hear someone purporting to be a writer who gives the phrase “business plan” top billing over the book itself.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One is experience: the dumpster outside my window is filled with some of the shittiest writing of all time; and while not every item in that dumpster came with a business plan, virtually every proposal/sample/manuscript I’ve ever read that was accompanied by a business plan wound up there. In the dumpster, I mean.

OK: first let me apologize for the cheap shot. I haven’t read your manuscript, and have no basis whatsoever for judging whether or not you’ve got a writer’s chops, a writer’s heart, a writer’s stamina. [Writing is a goddamn hard job! Why anyone would consciously choose to become a writer is beyond me…] But part of the reason I structured this two-part reply as I have—“Part I: An Entrepreneurial Proposal” and “Part II: An Editorial Response”—is to convey (among other things) an aspect of how an editor thinks, what an editor does (and doesn’t) respond to, the extent to which editors, sometimes, aren’t squarely “rational” in their decision-making process. After all, the only cliché (‘and the reason they’re clichés is that they’re true,’ right?) about editors more popular than “editors don’t edit anymore” is that “editors know jack-shit about business.”

Now before we make too much of the split between the creative impulse and the professional impulse, it’s worth remembering that two of the great poets of the 20th century—William Carlos Williams (physician) and Wallace Stevens (insurance)—were also accomplished in other arenas. The two universes you inhabit—the professional and the writerly—aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive; nor is it impossible for one to be equally adept at a spread-sheet and a word-processor.

But I caution you against believing you’ve got all the angles covered, because what you can’t count on—the constant variable in this confounded equation—is the peculiarities of taste and passion. Publishing is itself a profoundly contradictory industry. On one hand it increasingly demands a higher and higher rate of return, thus suggesting that it has become (as many have insisted it is already) something like an efficient engine of commerce. On the other hand, the products it produces are to a significant degree selected not according to objective studies of “market potentiality” but according to something infinitely more subjective: individual taste.

Regardless of what the industry’s critics contend, very few acquisitions decisions of books not wholly driven by publicity (e.g. celebrity bios) or certain niches (e.g. business books, cookbooks, self-help…) are determined by some mean-spirited marketing-department council. It’s true, of course, that editors sometimes fail to get sufficient in-house “support” for books they might have liked to acquire; in my experience, however, such books (one respondent called them "unwanted-by-the-marketing-department books”) are, in fact, books that the editor himself was either insufficiently passionate about, or for which the editor failed, finally, to demonstrate—above all, to himself—that he had a vision for how to publish it effectively.

[The “marketing department” excuse, by the way—I’ve used it too—is a conveniently amorphous non-entity that one uses in rejection letters because, well, one sometimes gets tired of saying the simple truth: it’s quite good, I liked it quite a lot, there’s no reason someone shouldn’t publish it, but it’s not going to be me because, in the end, I just didn’t feel strongly enough.]

Does this mean that editors always get to buy what their personal tastes/instincts dictate? No. Does this preclude the possibility that editors have a built-in marketing “radar” that, whether they’re conscious of it or not, immunizes them from “falling in love” with material they don’t believe they can sell? Absolutely not. (Contrary to prevailing wisdom, editors by and large have excellent marketing instincts.) So is there such a thing as an editor making a truly “marketing-free” judgment of a manuscript’s qualities? Probably not.

Nonetheless, I repeat: in the vast majority of cases, editors buy books principally because, to some degree or other, they fall in love with them. With something about them. Which is why [and now, at long last, I circle back to our Entrepreneur, whose fist is no doubt poised in much-longed-for retribution for my aforementioned cheap shot] the business-plan approach never—rarely—wins the day. I say this despite the fact that this very forum (if you’ll forgive my pretentious synonym for “blog”) was launched in the first place because of my own desire to figure out how the hell to market my own books more effectively. So the business plan model should appeal to me; a strong sense that the author knows his market should enhance a book’s appeal. And it does—

—but first I’ve got to fall in love. And I’m an editor—so I don’t fall in love with business plans. I fall in love with words, with strings of words that make elegant sentences and create vivid (beautiful, terrifying, crisp, tender, unforgettable) images in my mind, with sentences linked together in such a way as to tell me a story I can’t stop reading. Marketing moxie is added value; an author with an innate (or learned) sense of how to reach more readers is always a good thing; and I spend a fair portion of my professional life trying to school my authors in these instincts, if they don’t have them already.

But these things are not—for me, not ever—the first thing. The first thing, above all other things, is the writing itself. And that’s one variable that cannot be accounted for in a business plan.

So write the very best book you can. Leave the business plan in the drawer.

62 comments:

Jimmy said...

I love this blog. If I were single and Canadian and homosexual, or single and a woman, or a married Mormon homosexual, I'd ask you to marry me.

Anonymous said...

At last we turn our attention from wagging on about the tail, to our loving and loyal companion himself. As Max aptly points out, what indeed distinguishes between our best friend and… well, a dog? It’s a mystical, magical, inexplicable thing boys and girls. And I would venture it has nothing to do with a diamond studded collar.

There is nothing wrong, to be sure, in wanting to find a good home, in as many hands as possible, for the little darling that has stolen all those hours away from your family, your personal time, your reading time. But if you find, in writing your career-change vehicle, you were consciously blocking out scenes instead of subconsciously folding in themes, perhaps you should have been writing a screenplay (where you might then join the ranks of every man, and their dog, in Hollywood and NY).

If I had gone into writing as a career change, I wouldn’t have an argument for anyone who might suggest I hadn’t learned anything in my MBA. I might just as well have put all those long lonely hours into a home course in taxidermy; unless, that is, I am prepared to do the writerly work of bringing an inanimate thing to life on the page.

Attend a writing conference and you will be stunned at the numbers of writers who, while they may have “sold” their work, are not making anything like a living wage at writing.

Certainly writing is a job, and best viewed as one if you are going to find the discipline to sit in your solitary office day after day. If commuting in your slippers is the appeal, why not try consulting. Say… maybe you could write business plans for budding authors? That writing is a solitary business more suited to the socially inept or the mad than the pathologically outgoing (moi) is a reality, and a tough lesson for most who might fancy they have a book in them.

We’ve all seen the hype hype hyped books that fell flat on their faces. And the little treasures nobody ever could have predicted would be sent back, again and again, for their umpteenth reprint. Does the publishing world need James Pattersons? Well, they need the rattle in the register, to be sure. If only to allow them the latitude to take chances, risks, with untried authors whose material is less down-market, less mass-appeal; not so conspicuously commercial. In the same way as TV needs the Osbornes as well as the Sopranos, I suppose.

Yes, you can be a great champion of your own career, a shameless self-promoter (ahem). Can you be both that and a writer? I have had the great good fortune of a mentoring relationship with one of my genre’s most exalted writers. A man of considerable talent; first and foremost a storyteller. And in each of our exchanges of ideas and encouragement, there was some reference to *loving the work*. And you would only have to read his to know that he does. First comes the story, the craft, the telling… then the selling.

Anonymous said...

Walking down a rainy Seattle street to the PLA conference, wearing a costume that included a big hat, a long skirt and high top shoes, I wondered about my decision to actively market my books. When I felt my tights begin a downward slide, and squinted to make out the convention center blocks away, and my writing partner, similarly garbed only taller, said there are no convenience stores or gas stations around here, I decided that making a spectacle of myself among librarians, book sellers, agents and other writers was one thing --doing it on a public street was something else again. To prevent the inevitable I learned a new skill--waddling with my knees pressed together. You can't just step out of your tights if you are wearing hightop shoes. I managed to duckwalk the distance, eliminate the problem in a ladies room and go on to sign books and talk up the fascinating history of women in the old west. From that conference came a long mailing list of librarians interested in learning about our new books and getting more information about books already in print. My publisher has that list too, because two women in big hats attracted attention to their books at a conference for librarians. We know that, beyond the intitial press release, not much will be done by the publicity department with that list -- so we do it ourselves.
Yes, we invest our own money and time in the effort: we love our subject matter, we love telling the stories on paper and in person, and we love getting a royalty check that almost covers our costs. Some day we expect to earn more than we have so far with the first four books-- that's one of our goals -- the main thing, however, is telling the stories. But what's the point of that if only a handful of people ever read them? Writers need to do marketing -- but their biz plan should include only the things that they get a charge out of doing, because its the excitement and enthusiasm that sells the product. The passion needed to research/write/sell a book to a publisher is the thing to tap when editors and writers discuss marketing. Caution: not all editors are equally excited by that discussion. Our editor(s)have encouraged us, but we get tight smiles and grudging cooperation from others...which is why we do it ourselves.

Kevin Wignall said...

All true. I go back to my guerilla warfare analogy. The best military mind is no use at all if the cause isn't worth fighting for. The cause always has to come first.

Anonymous said...

I almost created a blogger account to post as myself, then I was reminded of the fact that authors themselves need to be cautious when they start discussing what's right and wrong with the industry for fear of retaliation.

Sort of like Hollywood. Mel Gibson notwithstanding, most conservatives in Hollywood are silent because they fear being blacklisted.

So I'm posting anonymously. I have a fabulous agent who has always cautioned me to be careful in discussions with people because things can be taken out of context. And in my former profession, before devoting myself full-time to writing, I learned that not everyone has your best interests at heart.

This is the crux of the problem as I see it. I'm a newbie, and in that role still learning and a novice when it comes to the publishing arena. I have books coming out in a year and I have great support from my editor and agent, but sometimes I worry that if I speak up with ideas or suggestions for how to market my books or me they'll look at me and think, "Hmmm, this is a new writer trying to tell us what to do and we've been launching careers for decades?"

That's one reason I love this forum. Maybe the powers-that-be will read ideas and come up with some of their own. Maybe some of the editors will think to ask their authors their opinion. I have some ideas for my own books and I'll end up biting the bullet and running them through my agent because if I don't, I know I'll regret it, especially if my books tank.

I don't necessarily think that there's an adversarial relationship between authors and editors, though I have heard of them from other authors. I have a good, developing relationship with my editor, but it's NEW and therefore we're both feeling our way around, trying to figure out how each of us work without stepping on toes. If that makes any sense.

I'm willing to put in TIME to promote my books, but I'll have very little money to do so. Even with a decent advance, I still have a family to support.

I've done the basics -- I have a website (which I paid for myself before I even got my advance) and am collecting email addresses. I have personal stationary to write thank you notes, congratulations, etc. I'm trying to build a presence in the writing community, as well as reaching out to readers -- which, BTW, is very hard when your book is not out yet. I am a member of writing organizations and try to keep involved. I subscribe to industry publications and keep on top of the business end as best I can.

If my agent suggests I hire a publicity person, I'll consider it--but it does come down to cost-benefit. Like Mad Max said in one of his posts, everything can go right pre-pub -- the editor loves the book, marketing loves the book, beautiful cover, great reviews -- and flop.

I'm willing to take risk, but not to the extent where I would risk being able to feed my kids and pay my mortgage.

Mad Max, what's YOUR opinion about how much an author -- particularly a new author -- should do to promote their book? Can giving time (which has a cost) be as effective as spending money on whatever new marketing scheme someone comes up with? And shouldn't an author wait until they know exactly what their publisher is going to do, and find the best way to compliment it?

And what do you think we can do -- authors AND editors AND agents -- to bridge the gap between us? I trust my agent explicitly with my career goals, and I trust my editor explicitly with my book (my revision letter was fantastic), and I trust me to meet deadlines. But I feel there's this gap -- maybe because everyone is so busy that there doesn't seem any downtime to talk.

Does that even make sense?

For what it's worth, I write commercial fiction -- I know there are different problems for those who write literary fiction that I might not necessarily have. But at the same time, I feel I have more pressure because if a literary book sells 5K copies it's a "hit", and I'd be dumped so fast I'd be lucky if my emails didn't start bouncing to my editor.

Kevin Wignall said...

In response to the previous poster, firstly, good luck. Secondly, I remember a survey of airline pilots which asked them what was the most terrifying noise during a flight - their answer was "silence". So it is pre-publication for your first book. If things fall silent, get on to your agent/editor and start asking them how things are going. If you simply wait to see what the publisher is doing (as I did with my first book in the UK) it will be too late to do anything by the time you find out the book is in trouble.

Dan said...

As an unpublished novelist, I've followed this discussion with great interest. It seems like a writer has to take control of his or her own destiny and participate in the marketing process. At least you can say to yourself that you did everything you could to advance your writing career, whatever the outcome.

I would never call myself a marketing guru, but I've worked in marketing for parts of my career, and I think these points are salient:

1. The writing has to come first.

2. The effort has to be sincere, or people will perceive its falseness.

3. It has to be coordinated with the publisher's marketing efforts, however meager.

4. The effort has to be strategic and not tatical. And it's not always about money. Several writers criticized the concept, saying that they couldn't afford advertising or hiring a publicist. It's really not about that, although it could be. It's about figuring out who you are and then determining the best way to present yourself to the public. Writing thank you notes or participating in online forums are marketing strategies, and they don't cost a lot to do.

5. The goal has to be realistic, in terms what you want to accomplish, but also knowing that you could fail at it. My goal better be different than someone who's an established midlist writer or is one of the names atop the NYT list. We might think we know what the public will want, but we really don't. Failure is always a possibility, despite everyone's best efforts.

A book isn't a tube of toothpaste, but I think that's why we're in this business (or in my case, want to be). I'm sure the thrill is like nothing else, when everyone's hunches pay off, and despite the difficulties in getting a book to fruition, you have something that you're proud of and that people buy in significant numbers.

Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

Anonymous said...

This probably belongs in part one, but my advise to your businessman would be to hire a pr firm to supplement the house's publicity efforts - or offer to cover the cost of buying lists for your publicist.

Ads follow publicity - if you get a national hit and start selling books, your publisher will probably pony up the cash for and ad. But if you buy an ad in a vacuum you will be disappointed.

As for websites, don’t spend anything building them - spend money driving traffic to them.

And write a good book. Blah Blah Blah.
JD

Ami said...

Max...
Amen.

As a writer, I can't let thoughts of marketing plans cloud the process. The minute I even think about 'writing to the market', it all turns to crap.

That's not to say I won't do my darnest to connect with readers when my novel is launched. (face to face, on the web, my picture on the jacket flap, etc.) I believe in my art but I also believe (and hope) that my words will create an ongoing dialogue with others (my agent, my editor, and then, most importantly - anyone who picks up my book.)

Whether writers like it or not, there's a choice to be made - to write to the market or to the muse. I covered this topic on my blog a few months ago and I'll leave you with a quote from Kurt Vonnegut that I included in that post.

“Don't worry about getting into the profession- Write anyway, to make your soul grow. That's what the practice of any art is. It isn't to make a living, it's to make your soul grow.
"Don't trim your sails to every wind. Just go ahead and write and see what happens. Don't look at the market. Don't look at the bestseller lists to see what's selling. You have to write what you write or get out of the business."

For the full post see:
http://amimckay.blogspot.com/2004/07/to-market-to-muse.html

Anonymous said...

To Kevin -- great advice. I'll keep it in mind as my pub date (still more than a year off) gets closer. I can be pushy when I want to be.

Someone blogged that whatever the author does needs to compliment the publisher, and this sounds like great advice.

Another person blogged about promoting yourself. Isn't it difficult (unless you're writing non-fiction as an expert or are a celebrity writer or already branded as a NYTBS) to promote YOU as an author? Isn't is all about the book?

M.J. said...

This is a great conversation.

When I first started out I wrote the book I wanted to write. The audience was not part of any writing decision I ever made. That's still true. But when I finished it – I started to promote it.

At that time - in 98 - I tried to do it in ways few authors had tried before and got attacked for bringing marketing into the fiction conversation. By just about every writer I met.

I was surprised. In my case the marketing was second nature. It was no conflict for me because me - the promoter - was not me - the author.

I knew how to market my books because was the creative director of a big ad agency in NY and my grandfather was in the ad biz and my dad was a great businessman who taught me alot. But that's not typical. I left advertising to be a novelist only to find that I had really only left it part time.

I bring all that up because one of the biggest issues about all this is that the person who can write is not necessarily the person who can promote or think like a marketer. That's the frustration of so many authors now.

Hey listen, I teach a class that authors take to learn how to buzz their books. When I started it three years ago 90% of the authors who took the class were self published. Now?

20 students every other month all are being published by S&S, St. Martins, Grove Atlantic, various divisions of Random, HC, Penguin. This semester I didn't have one self-published author.

Is this good? Is this really what we want? I don't mind running the class but I am scared by some of it’s implications.

If you can write a great novel it does not follow that you can come up with one marketing idea or do your book one iota of good as promoting it?

Ironically since I'm one of the people who started this whole "You have to learn how to market your books yourself” I am now defending the authors who are saying, No. I don't. Not my job. Your job. You edit and you publish and you promote and I write.

That's the crisis. The best writers are not necessarily the best promoters. And in many cases - doing a great job promoting takes something out of you as a writer. (I know, I’ve stopped doing 50% of the marketing I know how to do and can do because it screws up my head as an author.)

We need to find another solution. I don't want my editor to help me learn how to market my book. I want my publisher to hire a real marketing dept to figure out economical ways to market our books.

"Oh boo hoo," you say. "Poor baby. You have to market your own work. I should feel sorry for you why? Because you are getting published but you also have worry about marketing? That is the reality of the biz today."

Right. But should it be like this?

What are we doing to our authors when we make them into salesmen too?

Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

I don't know but I'm asking.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Mr. Entrepreneur here. I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur, as I’ve never owned a business. I think of myself as a businessman. Beyond that, I’ll leave the details alone. But I’ll use Mr. Entrepreneur to identify myself on this blog.

I knew I’d rattle cages with my comments. What I didn’t expect was the quick attention to issues of craft. I probably should have said in my original post something like, “It goes without saying that the story comes first and foremost.” But that isn’t true. It DOESN’T go without saying. I hear you loud and clear, and I agree. I won’t try to convince you that my story is good, any more than I’ll try to convince an agent it would make a great movie. It’s pointless to try. But I do hear you, I really do.

I liked MJ’s comments and would like to add to them.

M.J. said:

“…one of the biggest issues about all this is that the person who can write is not necessarily the person who can promote or think like a marketer.”

And the converse is true, as many have drilled into me. Both are necessary parts of the publishing business. Authors can choose to stay out of the business side of it, concentrating on the creative aspects, and that’s fine. I originally wrote my comments because I enjoy the business aspects too…and I have extra money to piss away. :)

“Is this good? Is this really what we want? I don't mind running the class but I am scared by some of its implications.”

Not sure that it’s good OR bad. It’s another choice that authors have to increase their odds of getting published. But there are other implications too…

The publishing industry goes in cycles just as everything else in the world. In recent times we’ve seen a shift: fewer publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, agents play a greater roll, and more is asked of authors (on both sides of the business/creative equation). Is this a good thing?

I think it is a good thing. Right now publishing is not a growth industry. In general, people would prefer television, a movie, or a video game to a good book. I personally believe that will change during the next decade or so, and the cycle will shift to books again. Our current “tight ship” forces writers to improve their craft. It also forces them to do a better job reaching their readers. That’s good, though painful.

I personally believe it is incumbent upon all of us (writers, agents, editors, publishers, distributors, booksellers, etc.) to reach out to readers. I read a blog recently (was it yours, MJ?) where someone talked about how great books are, but most people haven’t been properly introduced. It’s our job to reach out…TOGETHER. So when I see in-fighting it really disturbs me. I deliberately stirred the pot with my original post to create awareness and get people thinking about some issues. I had no desire to create enemies. I apologize to those that were especially rankled by my words. We need to come together. We need to focus on our common love of books. Only then will we reach and develop readers.

“That's the crisis. The best writers are not necessarily the best promoters.”

Yes. And we need to either find a way to help those authors, teach them how to promote their own books as MJ does, or find an alternative. We can debate it all we wish, but times are changing. Publishers have to concentrate more on the bottom line, cutting costs and maximizing their profit margin, and we need to find alternative that give each book its proper attention.

I'd like to see the formation of a writer’s foundation, to train and support debut authors (the business side, not craft...there are already many writing workshops available). I see it working this way: after a writer receives a contract with a legitimate publisher (to be defined later), accepted applicants receive training and resources (process undefined). Grants could be awarded for promotion efforts. Heck, I can see a multitude of areas where we could help fledgling writers (like me). I’m sure we already do this in a variety of ways, but without the concentrated effort…without the BACKING of everyone in the business. We need to pull together.

If I can establish credibility in this industry (yet to be seen…I hear ya), I’ll gladly approach the publishing houses, established authors, and booksellers to help fund such a foundation. A tough sell? Maybe. But I believe we all have a common ground: we love books. I think King, Grisham, Koontz, Roberts, et al could be convinced. It’s worth a shot anyway. Ditto for the publishing houses and other players.

I also see a great benefit to having a super-duper “Read More” campaign. I see plenty of smaller campaigns, typically run by non-profit literacy groups. They have the right idea, and I’d like to see a bigger umph! I’ll be happy when we see attention paid to books like we see for a movie release. Books deserve that attention. But it won’t happen until we reach the readers. I’m talking about those readers that don’t read – never had to and never wanted to. They’re missing out, but if they could only see…

So this is my soapbox story for today. Comments?

Anonymous said...

Thank you MJ Rose for your very thoughtful post. I think we desperately need a discussion about the questions you raise, especially the last one: "What are we doing to our authors when we make them into salesmen too?"

We also need to discuss what kind of books we will have if the only authors publishers want are those who are good at promotion. This is already true in non-fiction, where the question of an author's sales "platform" is usually as important as his or her subject matter. Do we want the same kind of criteria used in fiction? It's one thing to reject the old world image of the writer as cloistered artiste; it's quite another to decide that writing doesn't require some distance from the marketplace. What if the book is critical of buying and selling and corporate values? What if the writer rejects the vision of himself as an extension of the publisher, with the only goal to sell as many books as possible?

Of course authors want to find readers, but it is very short-sighted to assume that promotion is the only or even the best way to find an audience. Improving as writers might be a better way, but that assumes the publisher will give an author time to grow his or her readership. This is something worth fighting for, as authors and readers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Max:

I have only discovered your website, and I find it smart, honest and a brisk treat.

I note today that you say: "...editors buy books principally because, to some degree or other, they fall in love with them..."

As well as national arts editor for Canada's largest chain of papers, I'm also a well-produced screenwriter with credits in film, TV, animation and radio. I've kept my foot in both journalism and creative writing, and I consider this the best of both worlds. One info-rich environment feeds and inspires the other.

What people forget is story, story and story nowadays. You can't fall in love with a marketing plan. You can only fall in love with the people on the
page/stage/screen and how well their hearts beat, how hot their blood flows and how they overcome the extraordinary shit of living.

I lose my mind when I hear folks think that marketing can sell anything to anyone. If you've got no story -- you've got nothing to market. Punto.

Anyways, I'm now writing a couple of novels and I hope to make editors fall in love with them. If I do, then I'll worry about the hawking of the goods.

Warmest regards,

greg

GREG KENNEDY
Arts, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Canadian News Desk, CanWest News Service

Karen Junker said...

Good point, Mr. Entrepreneur...

We actually did what you suggest. Writer's Weekend is not only a writing conference, but we're also a community of writers, editors, agents and other industry professionals who believe in sharing what we know to help each other. We value self-promotion. Nearly one third of our alumni have been published or contracted in book-length fiction within a few months of our events. We have large publishers as well as small and e-book publishers among our credits.

and Anonymous - yes, there is a lot you can do to promote your book before it's released. One of the Writer's Weekend writers started telling people about her book long before it was finished. She sold it a couple of months after our conference. She has a web site, does speaking engagements at writing conferences, she chats in online writer and reader groups. She met fantasy author Jacqueline Carey while she was here and Jacqueline blurbed her book - this is not at all a bad thing.

And whoever it was who said booksignings and other appearances don't sell books - that may be so, but I think it depends on what you're trying to accomplish. In the case of one fantasy Young Adult author for whom we did publicity there was a new surge of interest in her work. Her appearances brought out fans in the hundreds and thousands. Would she have sold those few thousand books that month without that tour? We can never know. But I'll never forget the look on the faces of those adoring young fans as they lined up with boxes full of books to be signed by their favorite author.

For myself, I don't even write under my own name. Also, I write material that has an appeal mostly to a niche market, so my book is out at Triskelion Publishing, an e-book publisher. My editor called me a week after my book was released to say I'd better start writing more of those stories, they're selling much faster than they expected. She was confused, because I hadn't even been on Triskelion's website promoting my book. What I did was target my readers and let them know about the book in a way that caused some 'buzz', as MJ Rose might say.

People who promote themselves sell more books than people who do not, it's that simple. If you're pre-published, you can still do a lot to get the notice of those people who are going to fall in love with your book. One of them might even be an acquiring editor.

Cheers,
Karen Junker, Director
www.WritersWeekend.com

alena said...

Hi, I was searching blogs, and came onto yours fantastic blog.

I have a niche site. It pretty much covers how make money with niche marketing.

Keep it up. I'll check back later im sure.

Simple 101 said...

Keep up the great work. Enjoyed your blog. I specialize in industrial property loan

Dave said...

I found your blog by accident, great info keep it up. I will be checking back often now that I know you are here!

I have been running my own site about make money from online business for some time now and I am only just getting into blogging.

David said...

Hi, I was just out blog surfing for detailed info on self esteem when I ended up on your page. Obviously I ended up a little off base, but I am certainly glad I did. If you wouldn't mind, I would like to post your link on my "favorites" page. Should you ever need it, there is valuable information on my site about self esteem.

harvir said...

Hi i am totally blown away with the blogs people have created its so much fun to read alot of good info and you have also one of the best blogs !! Have some time check my link to !!Easy ways to make money online

Mike said...

Thought you would like this. make extra money

7472 said...

Alot of interesting comments on this blog, I was searching for some doctor related info and some how cam across this site. I found it pretty cool, so I bookmarked. I'll really liked the second post on the front page, that got my attention.

My site is in a bit different area, but just as useful. I have a mens male enhancement reviews related site focusing on mens male enhancement reviews and mens health related topics.

TS said...

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
a few. MAKE MONEY NOW

jon said...

I am looking everywhere for skateboarding shoes and skateboarding shoes, while doing so I somehow stumbled onto your skateboarding shoes blog. I am happy to say I learned something and will look into this further...

Thanks for the great posts...

jon

TS said...

Nice Blog!!!   I thought I'd tell you about a site that will let give you places where
you can make extra cash! I made over $800 last month. Not bad for not doing much. Just put in your
zip code and up will pop up a list of places that are available. I live in a small area and found quite
a few. MAKE MONEY NOW

Dream Builder said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!
I have a work at home job
site. It pretty much covers work at home job
related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Frank said...

Looking forward to reading more great info on your blog, I added you to my favorites and will be checking back often.

My site is about make money at home online

If you have an interest in make money at home online I would love to hear what you think of my site.

payday loan said...

Does that make any sense to you? -the cash advance guy

Anonymous said...

Hey great blog,

Here is a great site for Sexy Letters

Have a great day

jon said...

We are trying to find good download full movie to take the kids this weekend. Good download full movie reviews are hard to find

I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL

Thanks

jon said...

I was searching for dog breed picture info and found this post. I agree totally!

Paul

Jason said...

Hi there, Nice little blog you've got going on there. Keep it up! This might interest you if you're after some more web site traffic The contents of this site will explode your more web site traffic

PolarTrader said...

Great Blog, check out this business. This is the Goose that lays you Golden Eggs! based business home online opportunity work
Submit your Articles and get lot of backlinks: http://articles.for-your-website.com/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Search Engine Optimization Tips said...

I've just spruced up my blog with relevant content and I'm looking for comments from
bloggers with smilar interests.

Could any bloggers out there suggest a good site for
articles?

Would you like to swap links? Just post a comment somewhere on my blog and I will be in touch.
I won't delete it. Thanks and take care,

John
online degree programonline degree program

Cyber Financial Corporation said...

Hi,

I liked your blog. I found many interesting information here.
I also give free info about adult free site traffic web. You can seen it on my adult free site traffic web site.

If you have time please visit my web site to get some free adult free site traffic web information.

Kind regards,
Nick

Anonymous said...

Why would you want to marketing list your business hare at marketing list"\? With all the good ebook here you can't good wrong.

joy said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. In fact, I've bookmarked yours!
Visit my work at home e-book site

Anonymous said...

Great Blog
For More Marketing Secrets

Advanced Business Marketing

blogdollar3 said...

I like your blog. Its really good.
I have a website about owner finance note Stop by and visit some time.C
Ciao for now..
D

Anonymous said...

Great Blog, check out this business. This is the Goose that lays you Golden Eggs! based business home internet opportunity.com

Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is excellent - keep it up! Don't miss visiting this site about computer hardware

Get-A-Free-House said...

How would you like to own a custom-built house at a 42% to 100% discount? Find out how today by visiting Get-A-Free-House.com

Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a best home based business idea site. It pretty much covers ##KEYWORD## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Jason said...

Hi There! Cool Blog.I realy like it. Here's something you all might be interested in:site tracking traffic web It's perfect for poeple who want more site tracking traffic web

credit cards now said...

Cute blog there cutie, why don't you make money web site with google ads? i can't stop make money web site now that i know how..lol

blaze said...

You have a very good site on based business home internet opportunity This is something I also have a large interest in and have set up a blog about based business home internet opportunity please visit and let me know what you think.

Clickbank Mall said...

10% off car insurance online car insurance uk

Anonymous said...

I did not realise that blogs could be so informative. I have browsing and reading all day -- Very addictive.

I am going to set up a blog for my own site easy ways to make money tomorrow! I have a lot to of information to share. The link to read should be
live soon. If you have an interest in easy ways to make money I would love to hear what you think of my site :-)

Jason said...

Your blog is briliant! Keep it up. Here'e something for you if your looking for some free advertising:free ezine advertising
Check it out for some great free ezine advertising solutions.

Anonymous said...

You have a great blog here! I will be sure to book mark you. I have a address book site. It pretty much covers address book related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)

WorldTrader said...

Hi!

I really enjoy your blog aimed at VoiP Solution.
This VoiP Soulution is based on P2P and I'am very impressed of all the options. It must be some of the best Voip Solutions Architecture on the net.
As an Affiliate you get a very lucrative income potentials, Total company payout: 90%
architecture solution voip
and
architecture solution voip

Regards

Trond K.

Rich Molumby said...

I have an E-Cash Machine site/blog. It pretty much covers Making money on the web.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

gesticulatively resources said...

I totally agree!

Submit Your Blog

luckpoo said...

Your blog is excellent - keep it up! Don't miss visiting this site about make money online now. It pretty much covers make money online now related stuff.

jobs123 said...

Nice blog, keep up the good work!
I have a blog/site toomortgagemavericksonline.com refinance refinancing
It's a free information site on on home equity loans and refinancing. It can help you save money if you are in the market for a loan.
You should check it out if you have the time :-)

girljane said...

I definitely like your site, bookmarked!

I've got a anal sex oral sex related site. It covers anal sex oral sex related articles.

Drop by when you can.

Marian said...

Hi, thanks for this very informative blog. I'm a fan of making my residual income from home. I'm thankful for every information that would increase my sales...Thanks again! money making ideas

Rob said...

Cool blog, you have a good one going. I'm surfing blogs today and came across yours, keep up the good work :)

regards,
alabama business health insurance small

Rob said...

Hey. I was just out blogging and stumbled across yours, I like it. Keep up the good work!

regards,
health insurance small business nh

sexy said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,按摩棒,跳蛋,充氣娃娃,情境坊歡愉用品,情趣用品,情人節禮物,情惑用品性易購,A片,視訊聊天室,色情聊天室,聊天室

免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,免費AV,色情網站,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人影片,成人網站,A片,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,情色網,日本A片,免費A片下載,性愛

A片,色情,成人,做愛,情色文學,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,視訊聊天室,言情小說,愛情小說,AIO,AV片,A漫,avdvd,聊天室,自拍,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,色情A片,SEX,成人論壇

情趣用品,A片,免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,色情網站,免費AV,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,成人影片,情色網


情趣用品,A片,免費A片,日本A片,A片下載,線上A片,成人電影,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,微風成人區,成人文章,成人影城,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,臺灣情色網,色情,情色電影,色情遊戲,嘟嘟情人色網,麗的色遊戲,情色論壇,色情網站,一葉情貼圖片區,做愛,性愛,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,美女交友,做愛影片

av,情趣用品,a片,成人電影,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人影城,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,情色電影,aio,av女優,AV,免費A片,日本a片,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,聊天室,美女交友,成人光碟

情趣用品.A片,情色,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,情色視訊,情色文學,色情小說,情色小說,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,情色電影,色情遊戲,色情網站,聊天室,ut聊天室,豆豆聊天室,美女視訊,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊交友網,免費視訊聊天,免費A片,日本a片,a片下載,線上a片,av女優,av,成人電影,成人,成人貼圖,成人交友,成人圖片,18成人,成人小說,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人影城,成人網站,自拍,尋夢園聊天室

sm said...

威而柔,自慰套,自慰套,SM,充氣娃娃,充氣娃娃,潤滑液,飛機杯,按摩棒,跳蛋,性感睡衣,威而柔,自慰套,自慰套,SM,充氣娃娃,充氣娃娃,潤滑液,飛機杯,按摩棒,跳蛋,性感睡衣
情惑用品性易購



免費視訊聊天,辣妹視訊,視訊交友網,美女視訊,視訊交友,視訊交友90739,成人聊天室,視訊聊天室,視訊聊天,視訊聊天室,情色視訊,情人視訊網,視訊美女
一葉情貼圖片區,免費視訊聊天室,免費視訊,ut聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,影音視訊聊天室


辣妹視訊,美女視訊,視訊交友網,視訊聊天室,視訊交友,視訊美女,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,視訊交友90739,免費視訊聊天室,成人聊天室,視訊聊天,視訊交友aooyy
哈啦聊天室,辣妺視訊,A片,色情A片,視訊,080視訊聊天室,視訊美女34c,視訊情人高雄網,視訊交友高雄網,0204貼圖區,sex520免費影片,情色貼圖,視訊ukiss
網頁設計,徵信社,情侶歡愉用品

色情遊戲,寄情築園小遊戲,情色文學,一葉情貼圖片區,情惑用品性易購,情人視訊網,辣妹視訊,情色交友,成人論壇,情色論壇,愛情公寓,情色,舊情人,情色貼圖,色情聊天室,色情小說,做愛,做愛影片,性愛


情惑用品性易購,aio交友愛情館,一葉情貼圖片區,情趣用品

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣

網頁設計,徵信社,RICH178投資理財論壇

A片,色情A片,免費A片,成人影片,色情影片,a片免費看,情色貼圖,情色文學,情色小說,色情小說

Anonymous said...

豆豆聊天室 aio交友愛情館 2008真情寫真 2009真情寫真 aa片免費看 捷克論壇 微風論壇 大眾論壇 plus論壇 080視訊聊天室 情色視訊交友90739 美女交友-成人聊天室 色情小說 做愛成人圖片區 豆豆色情聊天室 080豆豆聊天室 小辣妹影音交友網 台中情人聊天室 桃園星願聊天室 高雄網友聊天室 新中台灣聊天室 中部網友聊天室 嘉義之光聊天室 基隆海岸聊天室 中壢網友聊天室 南台灣聊天室 南部聊坊聊天室 台南不夜城聊天室 南部網友聊天室 屏東網友聊天室 台南網友聊天室 屏東聊坊聊天室 雲林網友聊天室 大學生BBS聊天室 網路學院聊天室 屏東夜語聊天室 孤男寡女聊天室 一網情深聊天室 心靈饗宴聊天室 流星花園聊天室 食色男女色情聊天室 真愛宣言交友聊天室 情人皇朝聊天室 上班族成人聊天室 上班族f1影音視訊聊天室 哈雷視訊聊天室 080影音視訊聊天室 38不夜城聊天室 援交聊天室080 080哈啦聊天室 台北已婚聊天室 已婚廣場聊天室 夢幻家族聊天室 摸摸扣扣同學會聊天室 520情色聊天室 QQ成人交友聊天室 免費視訊網愛聊天室 愛情公寓免費聊天室 拉子性愛聊天室 柔情網友聊天室 哈啦影音交友網 哈啦影音視訊聊天室 櫻井莉亞三點全露寫真集 123上班族聊天室 尋夢園上班族聊天室 成人聊天室上班族 080上班族聊天室 6k聊天室 粉紅豆豆聊天室 080豆豆聊天網 新豆豆聊天室 080聊天室 免費音樂試聽 流行音樂試聽 免費aa片試看A片 免費a長片線上看 色情貼影片 免費a長片 本土成人貼圖站 大台灣情色網 台灣男人幫論壇 A圖網 嘟嘟成人電影網 火辣春夢貼圖網 情色貼圖俱樂部 台灣成人電影 絲襪美腿樂園 18美女貼圖區 柔情聊天網 707網愛聊天室聯盟 台北69色情貼圖區 38女孩情色網 台灣映像館 波波成人情色網站 美女成人貼圖區 無碼貼圖力量 色妹妹性愛貼圖區 日本女優貼圖網 日本美少女貼圖區 亞洲風暴情色貼圖網 哈啦聊天室 美少女自拍貼圖 辣妹成人情色網 台北女孩情色網 辣手貼圖情色網 AV無碼女優影片 男女情色寫真貼圖 a片天使俱樂部 萍水相逢遊戲區 平水相逢遊戲區 免費視訊交友90739 免費視訊聊天 辣妹視訊 - 影音聊天網 080視訊聊天室 日本美女肛交 美女工廠貼圖區 百分百貼圖區 亞洲成人電影情色網 台灣本土自拍貼圖網 麻辣貼圖情色網 好色客成人圖片貼圖區 711成人AV貼圖區 台灣美女貼圖區 筱萱成人論壇 咪咪情色貼圖區 momokoko同學會視訊 kk272視訊 情色文學小站 成人情色貼圖區 嘟嘟成人網 嘟嘟情人色網 - 貼圖區 免費色情a片下載 台灣情色論壇 成人影片分享 免費視訊聊天區 微風 成人 論壇 kiss文學區 taiwankiss文學區

A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."


PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]

"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."


PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]

"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."