When I worked as Terry’s assistant he was wonderful about getting me to understand the concept…there are hundreds of GOOD books, but good isn’t enough. They have to be GREAT!
It took a bit, but he was completely right and then some. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS are out there for the taking, but there isn’t enough time in the world to handle a good book. They must be better than the best to compete in today’s market.
“So is a great book even enough?” Look behind door #4 for the answer, Linda. “NO!”
Recently, a book on a very timely topic was taken for a full read. The editor jumped on board, said she was in love with it, wanted it. “Yes, yes, yes!” And it went to acquisitions. A week later as I opened the email, heart pounding, and literally seeing the contract in my mind, my client received a rejection. The nicest one ever. I was told EVERYONE there wanted it. Loved it. Really thought the topic was spot on for today’s readers. And it was killing them to turn it down.
Well, why on earth didn’t they take it then?
The client had no platform to speak of. Her writing was stellar, her topic amazing, but she didn’t have the chops to back it up. Nothing to give the publisher to help “get it out there”, nothing to make them say as a first-time author she had the whole package.
I’ve had some clients who want to “put it together” once they have a contract, and I’ve been hitting a bit hard on the fact they need it before we even approach potential publishers.
As agents, the lines of our job are getting more and more gray. More fuzzy. Do we simply look for good books and approach publishers, or do we weed out good for great, but only for those folks who have learned not only their craft, but their promotion abilities as well?
Okay, so I’m becoming just a bit of a tyrant—not really, but it sounds so empowering. However, I am pushing my clients to develop their social contacts. Their book looks much more inviting it they can back amazing writing up with a blog or website with hundreds of followers. If they engage in more than one blog. If they are available to readers on facebook. If they speak at local and regional organizations.
And on…and on.
Yes, it helps that I’ve served in the Air Force. It gives me the opportunity to say, “Give me fifty pushups if you don’t have one hundred new followers by this weekend!”
As agents who want to see our clients succeed, I think we have to ask ourselves, “Are we harassing our clients enough?” I hadn’t been, but I am now. That contract should not have been lost to someone with a story not as strong, but who had a bigger platform.
It WON’T happen again…