A month or so ago, I bought The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by The Book Doctors, who were promoting their book with an offer of a free 20-minute consultation with purchase of the book.
I’m almost 100 pages in, and the book has been awesome. If you’re a writer who’s serious about getting published, this book will give you a step up in your journey. I wish I’d found it years ago.
My consultation was a little less than 20 minutes. I spoke with Doc David and began with an attempt at humor by telling him I had a rough draft that I’ve been editing, but “it’s in such a rough condition, I wouldn’t show it to my mother”. Laughter. That was a good start.
Then I read him my 200-word pitch.
Doc David said he really liked the pitch. His main feedback was he wanted to know what my character looked like. He wanted to be able to picture her and wanted me to give the reader more of a reason to spend 20 hours reading my novel. We talked about that for a few minutes. I was intentionally keeping my main character nondescript because I thought it would make more people be able to relate to her and picture themselves in her position, but he had a different opinion. I liked the feedback and got a vivid feel for what my character looked like. (Incidentally, she’s a tall, curly haired red head who always stood out because of her looks and hated it. Because of that, she’s worked her entire life to avoid attention.)
I also had a couple of questions to ask. To preface them, there’s a section in The Essential Guide about social networking. The book really stresses the importance of this.
Because I have a decent number of friends on facebook and a somewhat broad network from politics (I still admin DemocraticDiva.com and write for it once in a while, and I am still on the Emerge Arizona board), I wanted Doc David’s advice on using a pen name in relation to facebook and building a network.
His first question was, “Why do you want to use a pen name?”
I don’t really want to, but I don’t think my next novel is going to be chick lit. With that in mind, I think I have to take into account the practicality of using a pen name for chick lit and my real name for the novel I want to be remembered for. Yes, I dream big.
Doc David’s response was to get busy on creating a facebook account using the pen name and to start friending people I think would be interested in reading the chick lit novel. Good advice, and he even gave me examples I hadn’t thought of before.
Next question, does social networking clout give you leverage in negotiating with a publisher?
I expected him to say yes, but I didn’t expect him to tell me that publishers now ask for this information and want statistics, like how quickly is your network growing, how many people will buy the book? Luckily, I use Google Analytics for my blog and can keep track of my growth on facebook and Twitter. Knowing this in advance definitely gives a writer something to work on.
Last, Doc David reiterated he really liked my pitch and said to rework it with some physical details about the main character. After I did that, he said I could email the pitch to him for feedback and he’d look at my manuscript.
I was floored and dismayed. My novel has a very long way to go. I reminded him that it was in such a rough state, blah, blah, blah. He said it was an open-ended offer.
A few things on this… If a professional says they’ll look at your book, you don’t leave them waiting. I now have a deadline for editing this novel, and I’m already a day past.
Despite this, my novel is in no condition for human eyes. I can barely read it without flinching. So, I am giving myself a month to edit this before I have a weekend edit-a-thon, of which, you (my friends and family) will be asked to spend a weekend with me reading through this novel. I hope some of you will help.
The other thought? Oh my god, someone not related to me liked my pitch and has offered to give me additional feedback.
I will give periodic updates on my progress (and will be spending a little less time blogging).
This is where I am tonight.
Number of pages edited: 16 pages
Current novel length: 177 pages
What do you think? Do you want to give me feedback on my book pitch? Want to help me decide on the title?