Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Love/Hate Wednesday


Pay-it-forward marketing

Check out this awesome series by author Jonathan Auxier for an example of this (especially this one on surviving no-shows at a book event). It doesn't have to be this in-depth or focused at writers, either; think of ways you can help your readers, too (what would be interesting to THEM?) or help a fellow author with promotion!

Pay-it-forward marketing drives a heck of a lot more traffic and interest than constant selfie marketing.


When my clients sign up for editor critiques or pitches at conferences

This really could vary by agent, but personally, I advise my clients not to sign up for these (read: CLIENTS. Not speaking here to unagented authors). I can submit to editors any time - and honestly, it's tough to beat a first impression. Yes, sometimes an editor will be intrigued by opening pages of a manuscript, but that's my job when I pitch - to get an editor salivating to read! Particularly with a critique, an editor is going in with the express intention of finding something to critique. Why add that negative impression as the first?

I would SO much rather send a polished version for consideration, not just because of first impressions, but also because it's also possible that something an editor has already seen, even if they're interested, will sit longer on the desk for consideration. They know what to expect; the element of mystery and surprise is gone.

It also puts me in an awkward situation of having to send to that editor to consider if he/she said "sure, send it to me!", even if I think a different editor at that house would be a better fit.

There's plenty an agented or published author can do at a conference besides pitch - learn, network, teach - far more valuable and relevant to that stage of his/her career!


  1. Hmmm. Perhaps whenever I get agented, I'll feel differently on this (but I sincerely hope not) but as an un-agented writer who is trying to get and agent, I look at this and think 'WHY??? Why, if you're lucky enough to have an agent who believes in you and your writing, and who will got to bat for you, would you EVER get in your agent's way and inhibit their ability to represent you to editors by flinging yourself in front of those editors?'

    Obviously, I agree with you that this applies to AGENTED writers. But even if I wasn't agented, I find the very idea of presenting to an editor as daunting. If I have an agent on my side who knows the ropes and all the editors and their tastes, etc. the hell I'd go stick my finger in that pie and muddle it up.

  2. It's been years since editors would deign to talk to unagented writers, so invited them to critique an unrepresented manuscirpt is basically an exercise in literary masochism; in spite of all the talk about standards and lofty expectations, in all too many cases this business is about the shifting winds of blind whim, and an agent is the only factor that can move that along. Kevin A. Lewis

  3. Afterthought here: It's a lot more useful (if you're looking for "critique") to be able to translate the sometimes enigmatic rejection every novel gets on it's way to the market. (the ones that actually say something, not the too-busy-to-do-more-than-glance robojections, that is) If you get, say half a dozen read requests in as many months and they're all over the map as to why they're passing, don't change a thing. If they all object to the same thing, fix it. I was lucky enough with the project I'm fly-fishing around to run into an agent who broke the 4th Wall and honestly admitted (after a long string of superlatives and the opinion she thinks the book will sell quite well when it's eventually signed) that she was passing because she's terrified of anything having to do with WWII and/or the 3rd Reich. (Too much History Channel, I guess) Begs the question of why she asked to see the manuscript in the first place, but that's for whenever the Wednesday post talks about query letters, I guess...............Kevin A. Lewis

  4. I love what Jonathan Auxier is doing for his blog tour. Thanks for the shout-out.

    I shall have to consider something similar sometime later.

  5. I have a published friend whose successes came from editor contacts she made at conferences. She makes the connection, get the request, then tells her agent to send it. It always seemed backwards to me (like she should focus on writing and the agent on the pitching) but that's how things get done for her. I'm glad to see that's not the norm.

    1. Nice work if you can get it, but once you're agented/published, you're in a different category. As witnessed by all the autopilot rejections piled up by every book on the bestseller list whose authors started out from scratch. It's a knee-jerk reaction on the part of a lot of gatekeepers and a basic fact of life. Sort of thing one expects going in. "OK, in spite of the fact you're not on the invitation list, this is real gold. On the other hand...The way the bars are stacked really doesn't work for me." Having an agent isn't an automatic pass to stardom, but it's sort of a Simon Says card that sidesteps a lot of this. Kevin A. Lewis