Tag Archives: Kindle Bargain

How Marketable is Your Manuscript?

Ask Alice image 1Question: I want to be traditionally published. How do I get started?

Answer: Ask yourself this. How marketable is my manuscript?

Is your goal to be published by a traditional print publisher? As opposed to a strictly e-publisher or yourself as independent publisher? If your answer is yes you must FIRST evaluate your manuscript in terms of what the the traditional marketplace demands. This is the savvy way to start. Skip this step and your chances of publication diminish drastically.

At the same time you must also function as best you can on your own behalf – personally as well as professionally. Be aware of the realities of your choice. Do that for the sake of your own psyche. Otherwise you leave yourself vulnerable. To loss of effort. To loss of energy. To loss of hope which can be most psychically disastrous of all.

The first reality to be aware of is this. The publishing market is super cautious right now. Even more skittish than has always been the case. In MOST cases – work that veers very far from customary publishing expectations for your genre and subgenre will have a rough time finding welcome – especially if you are previously unpublished.

I did say “in MOST cases” however. The exception. A manuscript that is a truly extraordinary market-buster blockbuster bestseller masterpiece. Does this describe your work? Eliminate ego. Eliminate parental pride in your creation. Be hard of nose and heart and make a clearheaded answer to that question from an objective place. Not easy to do but imperative.

Submitting your work at this point in time – or any point in time really – is looking for a job in a low-availability environment. Looking for the job of published author. Think in terms of making yourself and your work as attractive as possible within a narrow avenue of possibility. Your quest for attractiveness always begins with the work itself.

You must always submit only your very best work. That is extra valid now. Don’t expect an agent or editor to see through your imperfect manuscript to your possibly more perfect talent beneath. Editors are looking for perfection visible – not perfection possible. Agents are the same because they look for what editors want.

Your first marketplace search is most likely for an agent. Ask yourself “What does this agent prefer to represent? Does my work fit those preferences?” Research those answers online. Go to the agent’s website. Google her name. Look for articles she’s written and statements she’s made. Find out who she represents and what they write. Figure out what all of this tells you.

I’m assigning you a sleuthing exercise. You must Investigate – Investigate – Investigate. You have your own sleuthing tricks. You will come up with new ones along the way. Please share them when you do. Share them everywhere and in every way and with everyone you can. Don’t forget that all boats rise together.

Your next sleuth project. Editors and the publishing houses where they work. Check out publisher websites. Google individual editors. Remember that the reception of an unsolicited – as in not agented – manuscript will usually be less welcome than a solicited – as in submitted by your agent – manuscript.

Some publishers declare they will not consider unsolicited manuscripts at all. My response to that is this. Send it along anyway. What have you got to lose? Except maybe that time and energy and psyche strength I mentioned. So be aware this is a Hail Mary Pass and adjust your expectations accordingly.

In the meantime – through all of the sleuthing and planning – you are making Lists and Lists and more Lists with your manuscript always in mind. Where might my work be most marketable? Who might find it most intriguing? What should I pitch most prominently to each target in order to maximize my chances of luring them into my lair?

Do all of this with high ambition and a courageous heart and you will also maximize the marketability of your manuscript. Next assignment. Always always always – Keep on Writing Whatever May Occur.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/

 

Writers’ Resolution Number One

Idea LampThis is a picture of what I call my Idea Lamp. Things I most need to remind myself about my work are taped and pinned and clamped to the shade and even to the shaft.

The boldest print is allotted to the reminder I need most of all. Though sticky notes encroach nonetheless. “SPEND MORE TIME WRITING” it reads in solid caps and purple Sharpie ink underlined five times.

Those words require that much force of emphasis for me. Especially right now for two reasons. The first is obvious. “At this time of the rolling year…” Charles Dickens would begin. I continue “… I catapult myself into everything BUT writing.

I tell myself I’m doing it for family or for the sake of the season and its spirit or simply because I enjoy the leap. All of these are true but they don’t tell the entire tale or warble more than a few verses of the entire carol.

I’m on vacation to be sure. Vacation from what? Vacation from the problems that writing never fails to impose. Those problems are the second reason I need a resolution with the power of a well-aimed boot behind it to catapult me back to SPENDING MORE TIME WRITING.

My current challenges involve the in-progress fourth novel in my ongoing series. The new story is titled A Villain for Vanessa and it poses special problems. As special as your problems with your current project whatever it may be.

These are the boulders that make up my particular roadblock. We each have our own boulders and our own roadblocks. You and I and everyone else who has ever written down words we hope will be read – from Bob Cratchit’s pen nib to now.

We each have a story of what our individual boulders may be and how formidably they’ve been stacked in our personal path. The common element among us is that all of our boulder blockades are cemented together by doubt.

We doubt that we know what to do or how to do it or even if we can do it at all. Doubt is a killer disease and for us there is only one cure. SPEND MORE TIME WRITING. Write up one boulder and over the next and through the fissures between when we find them.

Write so furiously forward the doubts can’t overtake us – and when they inevitably do – write straight past them and beyond.

Meanwhile keep your Idea Lamp burning bright at this and every other time of the rolling year. I resolve to do the same. Happy New 2016.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn is Alice’s Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 3 – A Holiday Season Novella. Just 95 cents. The Best New Year’s Bargain Ever at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017RZFGWC.

 

The Best Pageant Ever

Christmas Pageant imageWhen I was growing up the church Christmas pageant was a serious event. There were auditions – musical auditions – and even though I sang in the choir and thought I had a lovely voice I never made the cut.

There were rehearsals too. Lots of them as I recall stretching through Advent month with anticipation rising as the weeks passed. The strange thing is I don’t remember a single one of those most likely impressive performances.

Decades later – way past my Northern New York girlhood – my husband Jonathan and I moved to an island in Puget Sound a twenty-minute ferry ride from Seattle. Many things were different in our new home place. Including the Christmas pageant at our small island church.

First of all nobody said anything about auditions. A pageant was listed among the planned holiday events. I waited for an audition schedule to be listed as well but none appeared. I hadn’t even told Jonathan of my intention to try out but eventually I had ask somebody.

“We don’t audition. Everyone participates.”

I had no idea what that answer meant but I didn’t want to appear too eager so I kept quiet on the subject until Christmas Eve. The pageant was at seven in the evening because that was a better time for the children of the parish than the later service near midnight.

Jonathan may have thought midnight was the more adult choice but he’d detected my eagerness as he often detects my secrets. At my insistence we arrived early with home-baked cookies in hand as suggested.

“Are you an angel or a shepherd?”

The question was so unexpected I answered without thinking.

“An angel of course.”

I’d intended that as a rather nervous joke. It was honored all the same and soon a pair of wings was pinned to my back and a halo of silver tinsel garland circled my head.

“This will tell you what to do.”

My dresser thrust the bulletin that was our script into my hand. The line of people behind me was pressing forward so I moved on without asking more. Meanwhile Jonathan was carrying a wooden staff and had a blanket draped over his shoulders. He’d become a shepherd.

Everyone was in a festive mood – much more jolly than reverent – and the following hour was just as joyful. We went forward to the altar when our scripts directed us to do so. We sang carols in unrehearsed voices – “Angels We Have Heard on High” from my contingent.

Wings were askew. Shepherds’ blankets slipped off shoulders. Children giggled and the baby Jesus slept through it all. Eventually most of the congregation was on the altar singing and listening to the familiar nativity story being told by the priest whose halo bobbed over one eye.

A few timid souls still in the pews were our only audience. I was especially glad not to be among them this time because it was the best Christmas pageant ever. And afterward we ate cookies.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn is Alice’s Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Christmas Novella. Just 95 cents. The Best Price Ever at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017RZFGWC.