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Are there any bloggers that can help me out?2275

Member JWP private msg quote post Address this user
I won't be able to cover all of this tonight, but will try to respond to most of it over time.


I don't have a website. I have had some reviews and lengthy criticism published is several obscure regional or special interest publications. But the bulk of my stuff consists of dozens of apparently standard Amazon book reviews of classic American and English texts. Amazon has a way of allowing their users to view an aggregation of posts by a particular reviewer (assuming that reviewer is of interest) and to be notified when a critic has posted a new review. I have no interaction or any type of relationship with anyone who is interested in my reviews.

I honestly think the only reason Amazon allows its users to do this is to make it easier for authors & publishers to do what Philip is ably trying to do: solicit reviews from able critics/reviewers.

In any event, you'd learn nothing about me from my criticism/reviews. They are laser focused on the work and author.

It is interesting you'd want to know more about "my background" (or me) based merely on the little bit posted here. I hope if what I wrote moved you in some way, it would motivate you follow through on what I suggest:

Make reading good books a large part of your daily life. And then make writing a part of each day.

Addendum: Erik's inquiry causes me to reflect and realize that my reading and critical reviews are not driven by a need or desire to convince the public of anything or promote either a particular viewpoint or myself.

As I stated above, my entire motivation has been very personal: the desire to read, master and enjoy a selection of the great works of American & English literature. For me, the sole way to prove (to myself) that mastery is to display it via written criticism.

There is a Russian term (which simply does not translate into English) which is best expressed as "writing for the drawer". Totalitarian Russian governments over the centuries prioritized control and censorship of literary artists. (Older folks with recall Slozhenitsyn.) My guess is that the Russian term evolved to describe a wide spread Russian practice of oppressed folks expressing themselves in writing....never expecting to ever be published. They sat at their tables at night, pouring out their souls. At the end of their efforts, they filed the papers in the bottom of a drawer.

For years, that's what I've done with most of what I've written. But/And I admit that the existence of the amazon "review" system has provided me with the reinforcement that what I was doing was valid and worthwhile.

But....I do not need the reinforcement or gratification of publication or public approbation. (But it is nice to hear every now & again...)
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Member Lenderman33 private msg quote post Address this user
A pleasure to meet you!

: )

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Member philipwatling private msg quote post Address this user
@JWP Thank you, some good advice there. I have had a couple of people review the book in such a way, most notably a brain and spinal cord charity - my book was in their newsletter - and The EY Foundation where I was a speaker at their event in London a few years back. Of course I have lost my review copy!

@Belew Chill, my friend; we can all be a bit stupid at times As for my accident: it made me who I am now - and wrote me a book!
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Member KathrynLang private msg quote post Address this user
Originally Posted by eddievelez
I work with many authors and many make the mistake of thinking that writing the book is the hardest part

I was LITERALLY talking about this very thing at a conference this weekend. I had the opportunity to speak at the Mid-Winter Writers Conference in Pell City, Alabama about blogging and about writing a million words in a year - but my theme for both was similar . . . if you want to be a professional then you have to treat it professionally. That means treating it like a business (including having a business plan with SMART goals and a SWOT analysis) AND working it like you would for another employer.

The easy part is writing a book - which is what makes pursuing writing so scary

This is true no matter how or where you publish. You are going to have to make the connections with the target market and then be relentlessly helpful with those people to grow the relationships . . . selling comes from that relationship.
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Member KathrynLang private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew @jwp - I'm interested in the root of the idea of traditional publishing going to the wayside as well. I was reading last night in an article on Author Earnings that print is making a comeback (particularly in non-fiction) and that's just in "traditionally" published markets.

Looking forward to following this discussion.
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Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user
Originally Posted by KathrynLang
make the connections with the target market and then be relentlessly helpful with those people to grow the relationships

Amen! Amen!
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Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user

I have a good friend who just got picked up for her non-fiction book by one of the 'Big 5.'

It happens ... but not randomly. There has to be an introduction there somewhere.

I posted this at my daughter's site ... it's prettier there with pictures. 8-)

Why I Think Chasing a Literary Agent is a Waste of Time

I may be cutting my own throat, burning a bridge (if there were one) … or it might just be that I am a loser.

Think what you will think, most people do anyway … but here’s my story on why I think chasing literary agents is a waste of time.

Chasing a Literary Agent Wore Me Out
Putting Together a Book Proposal

I spent nearly 2 months putting together a book proposal for a non-fiction book. I created multiple iterations and had a highly qualified friend take a look and give feedback.

Question – How do I know she is highly-qualified?

Answer – Check out these qualifications:

She has 3 times successfully landed a literary agent. Twice for fiction and once for nonfiction.

She has multiple times had articles published in ‘prestigious’ magazines and online sites.

She used to do book reviews for very highly respected newspaper on the left coast.

She knows her stuff and held nothing back in telling me what I should and should not do with my book proposal.

I also got online, read a BUNCH of websites owned by literary agents and publishing houses to learn from them as well what was needed, wanted in a proposal.

I finally had a proposal I could confidently submit.

Literary Agents Have More Hoops to Jump Through

Jumping over obstacles for Literary Agents

A proposal, however, is not all that a literary agent wants.

Literary agents say they want:

1. a personalized email submission / query letter that shows I care, took the time to reach out to them because they are a match. Yeah, right.
2. a social media presence that is worth tooting about. Yeah, right again.

So, I took this advice to heart. I spent on average an hour and a half per email query.

3 Steps to Choosing a Literary Agent to Contact

I went to the agent’s site or the agency site where the agent was attached.

I read bio after bio and clicked through to read up on books they had represented.

I picked out that one agent who resonated, who said they were interested in the book-type I was writing.

Example – My book is about raising bi-cultural kids. I found a bi-cultural agent in Kansas or some such place from the 2 cultures I am writing about! I could tell from her name, and wrote personally to her … because of her name, because she said she was interested in the kind of book I was writing. Silence.

I tailored EVERY single email I sent out to each agent or agency, mentioning books they had represented and their interests and explaining how my book idea was a match. EVERY ONE!

Solid Research in my Marketing Statistics

Yes, yes … I did my market research. My book proposal was solid. No making up of numbers. Solid.

But and this might be a big BUTT, or but for most would-be authors … gotta have a social media presence. What about that?

Super Social Networker

Go Ahead – Check Out My Social Media Platform

I have two very relevant Twitter accounts with more than 90,000 combined targeted followers. That’s a big number, right?

I have a local F2F network of followers that reaches over 30,000 people. Real people. Who follow me. That’s a big number, right?

I have an online niche forum of people who follow me. My name is in the URL that they follow … 2,200 posts, 23,000 threads, the majority created by my 3,000+ followers!! Those are big numbers. Right?

More than 140,000 visitors have come to my personal site more than 200,000 times! Organically! Those are big numbers, too, right?

I included screenshots in my book proposal as proof. Did I say my proposal was solid?
I had opening chapters, outline for the project. And everything else that my coach and the many websites said I needed. Did I say my proposal was solid?

I spent a minimum of 100 hrs researching agents and agencies, writing personalized emails and sending them out and waiting 6 weeks to 3 months (are you serious?) to get an answer … one way or the other … or more accurately … to NOT get an answer.

I got one ask for more information. I got almost a dozen canned responses. And a full 80% of my queries got no response whatsoever. So, I sent them out again! Yeah, I can hit resend. But only after I further personalized the email and mentioned, that they must be busy and what not.

More zilch. Nada. Zero. Zip. No answer. Can you really get more of nothing? More silence I suppose.

Do the math before thinking Literary Agent

Pieces do NOT Fall into Place

100 hrs and one ask for more info. The way I figure, I need to get 30 asks for more information in order to finally get the agent. 30 x 100 hrs = 3,000 hrs. People don’t work that much in one year!

So, how much do I pay myself per hour. $10/hr? $100/hr? If I paid myself minimum wage I’d be spending $30K just to get an agent!?!? And I still don’t have a publishing deal or an advance. That would take even more time and revisions … and with NO guarantee. And if I got an advance I’d still have to write the book AND share with the agent.

In which universe does this make sense?

Agents are self-proclaimed gatekeepers AND lousy ones at that.

Furthermore … I think they are just dishonest at worse … or completely overwhelmed with so much trash that it’s now impossible to get noticed unless there is an introduction.

Agents say – we need this, this and this. And I provided that, that and that. Did I say my proposal was solid?

And I couldn’t even get them to read the email, much less respond.

Chasing literary agents is a waste of time. Or maybe … I am just a loser.
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Member KathrynLang private msg quote post Address this user
@belew - Literary agents are supposed to be your partner so you have to find one that is passionate about your words and about you. So it helps to meet them in an event first.

See - it is ALL about relationships!
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Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user

It's impossible to build a relationship with someone who won't even talk to you.

How do you do it?
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Member KathrynLang private msg quote post Address this user
You find an agent that is in it for the partnership @belew - they are out there. I've met several agents at conferences - some I would work with and some our personalities were not compatible.

Take time to talk with agents before contracting with them. If they aren't engaging then odds are they won't be engaging after!
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Site Admin Belew private msg quote post Address this user

Therein lies the rub... I guess I am not willing, too cheap, too proud (I don't want to think so, but ...) to go to a Writers conference and get in line with all the wannabes to suck up to a self-proclaimed "gatekeeper" ... but that might be what'll take.

After all, it's about relationships.

Thanks for your insights.
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