The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion

Someone has probably used that title before. No matter, my post probably won’t resemble their’s in the slightest.

The thought occurs to me to write about getting the word out about your novel because a lovely friend has been singing my praises in her own blog. In Other Pages, she has told the world, (or at least the people who read her blog) about my novel Old Dogs. I couldn’t be more flattered. After all, I’ve greatly enjoyed beta-reading her novel Carey On, and seeing behind the scenes of the world of rock music and guitar gods. She’s a fantastic writer, editor and cheerleader. You can’t ask for better friends than Page.

Still, this leaves me with the ‘what next’ question. Page is telling the world that it’s going to be a best-seller. God, I’d love that! But, to get from a first-and-a-bit draft, to something to submit. All the finest writing websites say the next step is a query letter to an agent that handles work in the genre you write. Okay. How does one find such an agent? In my hopeless fumbling around the Intarwebz I’ve unearthed a few possibilities. I know nothing about the legitimacy of such resources; hey, I’m just reporting what I find.

About.com’s writing advice is good. Finish something before trying to send it out. Take classes, get other writers to read it. Been there, done all that. I’m currently awaiting notice about getting into UF for a degree in English. In a perfect world, I’ll get an MFA in creative writing and my employer will foot the bill. It may take another 30 years…

They also recommend trying to build credibility by winning writing contests, getting published in literary journals. That is something I haven’t tried, but the writing contest route is something I’ve thought about. Guess I need to think a little harder about it. After all, exposure is exposure.

Then start researching agents. Now that’s going to be the hard part, since I don’t know anyone published for a recommendation, and I’m not really sure what to look for. I’ve read that a reading fee being charged is a sign of disreputableness (is that a word?). I don’t know, but I will avoid those anyway since I don’t have any disposable income to spend on reading fees.

Now, about that query letter. Of course I’ve already written a synopsis that hopefully is intriguing enough to make someone want to read more.

” Following a bitter divorce, Valerie Roark goes back to her Florida hometown and her family with only a few boxes of belongings and a German Shepherd dog, finding that nothing is so wonderful and frustrating as starting her life over with the help and hindrance of her siblings and an intriguing new next-door neighbor.”

Sounds kind of sappy, doesn’t it? I know, but that’s just how things get started. I don’t write books about people saving the world from nuclear holocaust or finding the cure to the common cold, or even solving a murder case. My mind doesn’t plot that way. My books are about people, the things they love and hate and what happens in their life. Sounds boring as hell, but according to those who’ve read it, maybe not.

Next time, I’ll report my finding on writing contests and maybe enter a couple to get my name out there.

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One Response

  1. Aw…I love you, Debi!

    As for the query process, I have two words: Janet Reid. If you don’t already, I’d suggest following her blog, Query Shark at http://queryshark.blogspot.com/. I’ve learned so much from that site. No, I don’t have my query letter written yet, but thanks to Janet, I now know what NOT to do. (Plus, I have a huge mental block when it comes to writing the thing!)

    Hugs,
    Page

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