I quite often receive emails from aspiring writers from around the world. Many are just starting out with an idea and are merely looking for an island within the ocean of the written word. Others have completed a novel and now find themselves lost within the publishing jungle that rises out of that final statement: The End. Most of them are genuine, with dreams and aspirations, although without a path to follow.
Some of them are far less serious than others though. I mean, how should I reply to somebody who sends me a couple of paragraphs in an email and then asks if I thing he/she is good enough to become a writer.
That’s a difficult question to answer, somewhat of a dilemma. Perhaps it is the curse of the author… are we ever really good enough…tough call. I have asked myself this question a thousand times and based on my past, the ones who so enjoyed putting me down and telling me I would never amount to anything, I have wondered too if I would ever amount to anything. When it comes to ‘are we good enough?’ I think we have to judge that for ourselves. We have to sell what we write. The reader has to like what we write, but we have to convince them that NOT reading our work would be the biggest mistake of their lives. We have to convince ourselves that we are selling a product that is far superior to any other. As long as we (the authors) are convinced, we are doing our jobs. Of course, at the end of the day we either make it or we don’t, sell lots of books, makes lots of money, become famous…or… You get the picture. Whatever the case, we are on long roads, creating something that is individual to ourselves…a one off.
An author is an artist, stringing words together to make sentences. Not everybody can do that. Not everybody gets their work published either, but your manuscript is your manuscript and it’s your belief in your manuscript that will determine how well it sells or if it publishes.
You must PR your manuscript with pride. Get a front cover made up, get calling cards; make up some T-shirts, bookmarks, coffee mugs. Invite your friends for coffee. Let them see the front cover on the mug. Get them interested. Things happen by word of mouth. Get it out there. Keep your interest letters short, but well-packed. Don’t ask them if they would like to read your manuscript. Tell them it would be a mistake not to read your manuscript. Don’t be deterred if you get a bad reply. You might get many. Keep at it and don’t give up. Life is a gamble anyway. When you are old and gray you will either have a book published and some great memories or you will not have a book published and some great memories. Consider self-publishing ten to fifteen copies, giving them to libraries, asking if stores in town might be interested in selling them for a little profit. PR the hell out of it!
This is a copy of the advice I gave. It is somewhat a type rope walk, but then what in life isn’t?
Until next time