Holding Pattern

Or maybe it’s just frustration. I’m not certain. What I do know is that researching and writing my book has so far been a damn sight easier than trying to get it published. I had suspicions that the marketing bit wasn’t going to be fun, but I am in need of some mojo to get it going again.

I’ve had some small successes meeting agents who were interested in the basic notion of my book – two of whom even asked for the entire manuscript. One came back a few weeks later with an email basically stating that “they can’t represent me at this time, regretfully.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, so I responded asking for more feedback, either on the manuscript itself or how to make myself more marketable as the author. That was six weeks ago and I’ve had no response.
The other agent has yet to send me anything at all, despite a follow-up email from me just checking in after six weeks of no response.
I had one book publisher to whom I sent my unsolicited manuscript tell me that they would love to talk to me about my book, but as they are a small press, they don’t have the bandwidth and are fully booked with projects through the end of 2011. The editor was kind enough to point me in the direction of another press that might be interested so three weeks ago I sent off another package, this time via the postal service.
I’ve spent time researching agents and publishing houses, really working on posting to the blog regularly, and picking the brains of people I know in the publishing industry (which are, admittedly, few and far between). Every person who asks for a description of the book gets an earful from me and I have had such great responses (“Wow! I’d buy that book! What a great idea!) that it is frustrating to feel like I’m speaking a different language than the folks who have the power to put it out there.
I’ve talked to some people about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, but I’m not sure I have the marketing skills to really do it justice. As one person put it, “Your book is what we call a ‘long-tail’ book – it will be relevant for generations to come and will probably sell books for decades. Most publishers want to make their money in the first 90 days which is why they want celebrities or controversial politicians as their clients.”
I know that this takes perseverance and dedication and I’m willing to do the work because I have such passion for my book, but I feel like I’m stuck right now. It is hard to know where to turn and really frustrating to listen to authors being interviewed on NPR when that’s where I want to be!
5 replies
  1. Wanda
    Wanda says:

    Do you know the character Turn Around Norman in Tom Robbins' book, Skinny Legs and All? Just because it doesn't look like there is movement, doesn't mean there isn't any. Hang in there. (NOT meant to be a trivial comment…At. All.)

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    As we discussed yesterday, your book represents a real need in the population, for people having to deal with this situation, for people helping those deal with this situation and for the general public to raise awareness on these always painful decisions some women have to take.

    Now I am sure that it is very frustrating when getting published is more a question of connections than the real value of the book. You are doing a great job advertising for it and creating your own connection. It will get published, hopefully soon, for you and for us.

    Remember your flying feet filled with gold. I used them quite a bit this week too 🙂


  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    One more thing my dear friend … I learn so much from you, from your perseverance, your willingness to never give up, your honesty and truthfulness. I want the world to learn that from you too, through your book.


  4. Deb Shucka
    Deb Shucka says:

    Sometimes when it seems like there's nothing else to do but pray, that's what you do. The answers are there. I know how hard this is – you're so not alone with this waiting and uncertainty. It's one of the things that makes you a real writer. Love.

  5. graceonline
    graceonline says:

    You might be interested in She Writes' Sarah Glazer's blog post today, Can Literary Agents Still Deliver? And if you don't know of She Writes, yet, you might be interested in joining and seeing what support you can garner there.


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