Friday, September 26, 2008

Hook, Line & Sinker - Selling An Idea by Robert W. Walker

It has become harder and harder over the past thirty years to gain attention at publishing houses for books of any ilke.

It seems or feels like so much has been turned over to bottomline thinking and commercial aspects, marketing ploys, and if a book has no tie-in with a film, a plastic doll, a brand name product, or an author has somehow become a household brand name in and of him or herself -- as in the case of a Stephen King or a James Patterson, then an author, no matter the quality of the writing, is going to have a horrible time selling any fiction or nonfiction for that matter in this cllmate.

Selling it is the hard part. We writers love the process in all its steps, even rewriting is a pleasure when it gives us those aha moments and answers to needling probllems inherent in the story. The hard part comes when it is completed and you drag out the Writers Market and try as you may to get an editor to give it a read.

In all my years ofexperience with selling works, and I have sold and seen published quite a few titles now, I preach one goal. Hook an agent or editor on the noton behind the book. Main character is suicidal on page one, but he postpones offing himself when instinct takes over, and before he knows it he has a reason to live--Revenge! A major score to settle.

You may be proud of having completed a 60 or 80 of 100 thousand word novel, but no one is anxious to have a tomb that size fall on his or her desk. However, as with Abe Lincoln's writing the Gettysburg(h) Address on the back of an envelope (stamp then was what a half a cent?), you have to capsulize your most telling and powerful and dramatic element in the novel to create a sudden flash of interest in the whole by way of the capsulization.

This requires an extremely objective objective objective view of your own work, to write it up as precisely what you would like to see on the back jakcet copy.It behooves you to write the most important short story of your life, the story about your story. To do this, you must set aside all emotional attachment to the story and ask what is the biggest, most blatant and exctiing detail(s) about the story, and what will blow the lid off some agent's head on hearing the line that sums up your book as beyond the pale or is that pall, or is that Palin?

At any rate imagine the response I might get from this line and then give it a go for your book before you set out to "sell" the whole. Here is the line for a manuscript on my shelf: A monster of ancient times is loose on the Titanic and is the primary reason why Captain Smith and Inspector Alastair Ransom have intentionally rammed the iceberg.Be certain to sell the whole via the hook.

In our fast paced market today, you might get a read with a hook, line, and sinker well before you get one with a multiple-page synopsis or outline, and most certainly well before you ever sell anyone on the idea of reading your whole book from page one to end. Sadly, nobody is waiting for your huge tomb to land on the desk until they ASK for it.

To get them to ask for it, you need a hook, line, and sinker.

So go fish! Happy Reading and hey take a look at the Amazing Art Work created by my son for DEAD ON, found at
Rob Walker

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