Tag Archives: Writing Career Tip

How Marketable is Your Manuscript & Where? – Orr What? Wednesday

Market imageIs your goal to be published by a traditional print publisher? If your answer is yes, you must evaluate your manuscript in terms of what that marketplace demands. To do otherwise is less savvy than you need to be on your own behalf.

If your goal is commercial print publication you must be aware of the realities of that choice for the sake of your own psyche. Otherwise, you render yourself vulnerable to loss of effort and energy and worst of all hope – which can be disastrous to your psyche.

The first reality you must be aware of is this. The publishing market is super-cautious now. Skittish beyond its customary skittishness. Work that veers very far from customary publishing category expectations will have a rough time finding welcome.

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 judgment from that objective place.

Submitting your work now 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 that narrow avenue of possibility. This effort 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 perfect talent beneath. Editors are looking for perfection visible. Agents follow suit 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? Can I accommodate my work to those preferences?”

Research those preferences. Turn first to the internet. Does the agent have a website? Who does she represent and what do they write? Google the agent for articles written and statements made. What does she tell you there?

This is a sleuthing exercise. You must investigate – investigate – investigate. If you have your own sleuthing tricks or come up with some along the way share them with others. Don’t forget that all boats rise together.

What editors and publishers are looking for is an easier search. Check publisher websites. Google individual editors. Remember that the reception of an unsolicited – unagented – manuscript will be less welcoming than a solicited one via an agent.

Some publishers won’t consider unsoliciteds at all. I say, “Send it along anyway. What’s to lose? Except maybe that time, energy and psyche strength I mentioned?” So be aware that this is a Hail Mary and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Through all of this sleuthing and strategizing and planning – you are making lists with your manuscript always in mind. Where might it be most marketable? Who might find it most intriguing? What should you pitch most prominently to each target in order to maximize your chances of luring them into the lair of your work?

Do all of this with high ambition and a courageous heart and you will also maximize your marketability. And always – keep on writing whatever may occur.

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. It’s also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is $2.99 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. These are my 12th and 13th novels. They were written for the non-traditional marketplace which is your other publishing option. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

The City Romances Your Book – Ask Alice Saturday

Sunset Downtown NYC SkylineQuestion: How do I get attention for my little book in a big town?

Answer: First you stop thinking of your book as little. Definitely never speak of it that way. After you get over that – Persist Till You Prevail. Persist at your marketing plan which works the same way anywhere. It works from the inside out.

Walk out your front door. Look up and down the street. Don’t look at tall buildings or hurrying crowds. That’s how a tourist sees a city. A local resident sees it as a collection of neighborhoods. Each one different – like a collection of small towns.

Walk down your street. Really look and really see. Walk to the nearest coffee shop and sit down with your notebook. You did bring a notebook. You’re a writer after all. Order a java or fancy bottled water or – in my case – a Diet Coke and write these questions in your notebook. Answer them there too.

  1. What is the Spirit of my neighborhood? Trust your instincts. Don’t overthink. You might want to re-word this as – What is the FEEL of my neighborhood?
  1. What gives my neighborhood this Spirit and Feel? Be specific. You’re talking about overall uniqueness then breaking that down into these component parts. The organizations that function here. The stores and businesses that thrive here. The places where people gather here – people of all ages – including the elders. The places of worship – all denominations of worship and spiritual groups. Plus the venues that you brainstorm on your own.
  1. Where/how can I find out about my neighborhood? Is there such a thing as a paper and print yellow pages anymore? Maybe a Business to Business edition? And don’t underestimate the giveaway papers and pamphlets. Everything going on around you is in one of those. This is micro research – the Open Sesame to a neighborhood fan base.
  1. What do I have to offer that will appeal here? What about your story could strike a neighborhood note? Every situation and location will be individual to you and your place. Think – Imagine – Find your way to being noticed here.

For example my media mentor Maria Ferrer has a wonderful idea for my series set in Riverton NY. The town has a café called Ginny’s Coffee Corner that figures prominently in each story. Maria says to hold events in a coffee shop in my neighborhood and dub it Ginny’s for the day.

I’ve taken a step in that direction by offering giveaways of my favorite coffee mug. Go to my website www.aliceorrbooks.com. Sign up for my newsletter where you’ll find out how to participate in the “I Want to Share a Cuppa with Alice” coffee mug raffle.

I think you get the idea. Start from your home base to find your first fan base and reach out farther from there. Tell your fan base folks to spread the word beyond your address and your address book to theirs. And so it goes. You romance your home city. Then you and your books move on to romance the world.

RR

A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O.  Book #1 – A Wrong Way Home – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. These are my 12th and 13th novels and they’ve had a true romance everywhere from the start. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

 

Your Place of Maximum Possibility – Orr What? Wednesday

Sky's the Limit imageMy grandmother used to say “Always put your best foot forward.” She could have been speaking to anyone who hopes to be published today. I’m speaking to that very audience and as Grandma’s good girl I say “Always approach publishing from your place of maximum possibility.”

“Where is that place?” you might ask. Your maximum possibility resides in three venues. Today I address the first and what I consider the foremost of those – your writing work. I’ll get to the other two later.

To be in your place of maximum possibility for finding a traditional publisher or a readership as an independent publisher – you must write the very best work you have in you. The very best novel. The very best memoir. The very best nonfiction book. The very best story or article. That YOU have in YOU.

Anything less than your very best won’t be good enough to get you where you want to go in this extremely competitive media environment. On the traditional side agents and editors have piles of pages and a plenitude of digital submissions to select from when it comes to what they will represent or acquire.

“Choose me. Choose me” every eager writer cries. Your voices and mine are among them.

On the independent side readers have a multitude of eBooks and even indie published print books to choose from. We talk a lot about discoverability in the indie community. Those conversations have lurking beneath them our own cries of “Choose me. Choose me” as well.

Whatever your publishing medium choice may be the central question is the same. How do I emerge as one of the chosen? You write something absolutely bang-on terrific. That’s how.

You do that by getting your writer self into study mode. Study authors who are doing it right already. Study books on writing craft that can help you hone your own. Grab most tightly onto the tomes with lots of hands-on exercises. Do those exercises with your current writing project in mind. Because you must take what you learn and practice – practice – practice.

This also means going back to school. Find a writing course taught by somebody who truly knows how to teach. Listen to the jungle drums of student comment to know who that good teacher is. Then don’t miss a single class or blow off a single assignment. Take criticism with gratitude and run with it straight to the best writing you have in you.

Polish your writing until it’s a brilliant gem that will shine like a beacon to light your way from here. Because as you hold this writing gem in your hand and heart – you’ve reached the first great milestone without which the rest of your author aspirations cannot happen. You and your very best work have entered your own Personal Place of Maximum Possibility. And Grandma is really proud of you as am I.

RR

A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – Mark & Hailey’s Story. Officially launches with summer on June 22nd but is already available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. This is my 13th novel and I wrote it from my place of maximum possibility. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.