Sunday, March 3, 2013

In Search of Ink

Now what?.  I'd written the manuscript and scrubbed it squeaky clean.  Now I needed a publisher. Thousands of books die at this point each year. The unpublished book cemetery is huge: so many writers, so few publishers. Don't bother sending unsolicited manuscripts. Their recycling bins are already full. Unless an agent recommends you, editors won't give your work a first glance.  I went looking for an agent.

I wrote a book proposal.  I emailed it to dozens of potential agents.  I pondered the sounds of silence as my mailbox rusted shut. I knew this rejection was coming, but it still hurt. My only response came a year later from an agent who advised a complete rewrite before she would consider representing me. What now?

I signed up for a writers conference.  That felt good. Communing with fellow writers might reveal a new plan.  I'd learn more about the book industry.  I'd receive valuable pointers for finding ink.  Agents also come to these conferences.  They let you practice pitching your book to them.

My first conference was a disappointment. Successful writers tell hopeful writers why they haven't much chance being published. They attempt humility, but it sounds like gloating. Agents advise not wasting their time with unmarketable offerings. Before agents salivate, writers must build a solid marketing platform : speaking engagements, website, blog, social media, newsletters, media interviews. Holy macaroni! I thought the publisher did that for you.

The only consolation was meeting lots of budding authors, all in search of publishers ink.  We cried in each other's beer and went home discouraged.