Anita Aurit shares her 2013 NCWA Renewal conference experience.
If you think that a book proposal is simply an elongated elevator pitch, I urge you to run, not walk, to your laptop and order W. Terry Whalin’s CD from the recent Northwest Christian Writer’s Renewal, “Editors Read Book Proposals, Not Manuscripts” (click here to order conference CDs).
The theme of the workshop could be stated as, “The writer as active marketing partner.” This is not good news for some authors as they bemoan the fact that they can barely carve out time to write. Adding marketing to their “to do list” overwhelms them. I would suggest that we turn that thinking around. If we’re not vested enough in our work to find ways to promote it, how can we expect any publisher to expend time, money and effort in promoting it? Who better to craft the original marketing plan for our piece than the creator of the product?
The workshop prompted new thinking about the proposal process. Rather than viewing proposals as venues to highlight our brilliant storytelling, we learned that proposals are an invitation into the publisher’s office, pitching not only a brilliant story but a brilliant way to move people to buy that story.
Terry provided many specific tips that can keep our proposals out of the reject pile and on an editor’s desk. He stirred our thinking and challenged us to form ideas to create specific marketing plans for our own work, including sustaining a marketing momentum. His workshop stressed the importance of high profile endorsements and how to make it easier to get them. Ideas for special sales and sales outside the bookstores which can give an author a leg up were presented. The importance of a “must have” title was a key component. Each step presented came in a clear and logical fashion, along with links and referrals for more assistance after the conference.
Also included in the seminar were insights into the questions editors ask when they receive a new manuscript, the main reasons book ideas are rejected and a checklist for authors to use to ensure their proposal is polished, shiny and glittery enough to attract the attention of book editors.
This seminar helped me understand the complete process for creating an outstanding book proposal and that gave me great confidence. I will never face a proposal with the same amount of fear and trepidation again. Twenty-first century writers have an amazing opportunity to take an active part in the creation of their careers by promoting and marketing their own material. I can’t think of a more enthusiastic marketing representative for my work than myself, can you?
Anita Aurit has published in a myriad of venues including devotionals (in magazine and book compilations), travel articles, short humor, blogs, websites, scripts and even an article in a sports publication (a woman’s guide to the fantasy football draft).
Her writing passion is fiction and she is currently working on a series of novels about women in the shadows of the pages of Scripture. A frequent speaker and teacher for women’s groups and events, Anita has also founded and managed a number of businesses including an internet pet radio station where she created, produced and hosted her own show called “The Scoop” (logo was a litter box and scooper). Anita is married to an internet software engineer and both are self-professed geeks.
When she’s not at her computer or a podium, Anita loves spending time with her family (two and four legged), reading, crafting, cross-country skiing and kayaking in her home in Northern Idaho. Click here to visit Anita’s website.