I just finished putting on a month long course on this subject for the American Christian Fiction Writers and it was delightful. There were over 400 people participating or lurking in the background watching. That’s probably the largest group it’s been given to and I know it is the longest time period it has been presented over.
This is a course I have given many times at a couple of dozen conferences, as well as workshops and writer’s groups. It started as a presentation aimed at helping shy people learn to come out of their shell to develop a “public persona” in order to do the things they were too shy to do.
It expanded to deal with the fact that, shy or not, it helped all writers to give some thought to the public image they wished to present as a writer, particularly when pitching and promoting. It evolved slowly, naturally, and then the focus moved on to the pitching and promoting itself. It turned to an in depth analysis of a proposal, why it was important, what should be in it and how it should be prepared.
We talked about preparing for and doing a good job of pitches to agents and editors and most were surprised when I said the primary object of the session was not to sell the book, but to sell themselves to the person they are meeting with. Ten or fifteen minutes is too short a time to sell a book. The goal instead is to impress the editor or agent that the autor is professional and capable, to convince them that they are a person that editor or agent would like to work with. Then they try to get a proposal invited, and try to insure that they bond in such a way that they will be remembered when that proposal arrives. It’s the job of the proposal to sell the book.
I took the information from this course and the previous courses and assembled it into an eBook that uses many of the questions posed during the course to make it easy to read and understand. It has gotten rave reviews if I do have to say so myself. It is available in the bookstore at my website http://www.terryburns.net/bookstore.htm