February 5, 2007

The Second Biggest Secret

Write a pitchable book.

It’s sad, but if you can’t summarize your book into a form as short as the tag line on a movie poster, you are probably not going to get very far with it.

Many nice people are working on books and when I ask them “What’s it about?” they hem and haw and mutter about how complicated it is, how hard it is to say what it’s really about…that a person would just have to read the whole thing to know….

Well, that’s not going to work. Not in this “modren” age. Think SOUND BITE.

Your pitch to prospective agents has to be in the form of a sound bite. The agents’ pitch to prospective publishers has to be in the form of a sound bite. The publishers’ pitch to the book store chains has to be in a sound bite. The book store’s pitch to customers has to be in a sound bite.

Are you getting the picture?

The Biggest Secret of Writing

Start your book. Work a whole lot on it. Finish your book.

Honestly, this is the biggest secret.

Once when I was scribbling and whining, my oldest friend asked me these questions:

1. How many people do you know who THINK they could write a book or who have SAID they want to write a book? [Lots.]

2. How many people do you know who have STARTED a book? [Less than a handful.]

3. How many people do you know who have FINISHED a book? [None.]

Then he bet me $1,000,000 that if I would simply finish my book, there would be such enormous momentum behind such a rare happening, that I would easily get an agent, the book would get published, and I would get a big movie/TV series deal.

HE WAS RIGHT! [I hope I don't owe him $1 million.]