So you’ve written it, edited, rewritten, polished more and had it edited professionally, and you are ready to publish. Or you think you are, but it seems like the world may not be quite ready for you and so you are getting rejections practically before you get in touch with the publishers. You’ve checked all the websites of publishers who should want your stuff. You’ve sent them inquiry letters even though they said not to. Maybe you were at a writers’ festival and were able to deliver a concise, passionate and moving pitch about your work, but you’ve been told, “No, we’re not looking for anything like your book right now.”
Well, I hate to tell you this but if you really want to sell what you write (and we have to sell if we are going to make a living at this), you need to approach this part of the life of your book like a professional salesperson. Many writers don’t like to do this and they settle with having their hard work take up space on their hard drive, or in prettily tied packages in their den, because the idea of selling scares them to death.
Start thinking like someone who is a business person, which you will have to be to make a living. Write while you are writing, and then turn your thoughts to planning, marketing and selling to get your best work to your readers. Even if you do get really fortunate and find a publisher, you will need to sell yourself to them. You’ll have to help them understand what your name and your book brings to their business (if this sounds a little like finding a job, you’re on the right track).
The era of getting books published in being far outstripped by the number of books being self published. This too is a scary thought for any writers who thought they would finish the writing and a big house would take care of editing, polishing and scrubbing that manuscript. Then that same big house would market, sell and send royalty checks. The now nearly famous author would do radio interviews, book signings in big brick and mortar bookstores, and then win some kind of book prize and never look back. That’s a nice life if you can get it, but like I said, rare.
Be brave. Look at your work and decide whether you have a marketable product that someone else will read. Chances are that if you have gone through all that work to get it ready there is value there. Look at it again. Get your work out into the world by approaching it as a business.