Book Update: Unanswered Prayers?

Book Update: Unanswered Prayers?

As I continue to make revisions to my manuscript I have been sent queries/book proposals for Blasted to nine prospective agents. This is a necessary step if one is hoping for a “traditional” book deal with one of the “big five” publishers. Two of the nine passed on Blasted and the rest haven’t responded.

 Last month I attended a writer’s conference in Tampa. As is often the case, attendees are offered the opportunity to do a ten minute “pitch” to an agent for a fee. The pitch is a short (one to two minutes) hook that gives the agent a sense of the essential characters and conflict in the book. A good pitch would entice one to want to read the book and in this case an agent to rep the book to a publisher.

 I went to the conference without any big expectations but worked on my pitch and felt it was good. I read it and the agent commented, “that’s extremely well written.” I thought, okay, now we’re getting somewhere!” She then asked, “What’s your platform?”

Think of platform as the total number of social media followers and subscribers to your website. These would be people who are interested in you and your writing and some of whom would buy your book. A large platform from an agent/publishing perspective would garner more sales. I told her about my social media followers, a little over six-thousand, (but growing daily) and about my new website. She said I would need between 50,000 to 100,000 followers to sell my book. Wait, what!? 50,000 to 100,000!

 The agent seemed to lose any interest in Blasted after hearing my relatively puny numbers. We filled the remaining minutes with small talk.

Post conference I studied publishing and learned that debut author, non-celebrity memoir is extremely hard to get traditionally published. And yes, a big platform will help get an agent and probably a publisher. So, it can be done but…perhaps a small independent press in Massachusetts or New England would have interest in a Cape Cod memoir? So far, I have sent the manuscript to five small presses. Nothing yet.

 At times the process has felt like sending your most earnest prayers to an indifferent or nonexistent God/universe. The silence can get to a guy. But, I’ve learned in boxing, recovery and life to persevere, be stout and believe in yourself. I’ve gotten good feedback in my writer’s workshop and elsewhere. I’m gaining confidence in my book. The workshop leader says, “you WILL get published. It’s a good book, keep going.” So, I will. Resilience opens doors and leads to answered prayers. More updates soon!