Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Best Book Ever Shot from a Cannon

My son used to work as Promotions Coordinator at the Lawrenceburg Speedway in Indiana. That means he was the guy shooting t-shirts into the stands with a cannon. Actually his job was more complicated than that. Whenever a delay happened on the track, he’d get a call through his headphones that he needed to distract or occupy the crowd for the next ten minutes. Can’t have race fans getting hot and bored. That’s where the t-shirt launcher came into play. Or a drawing for a free pizza, a tire rotation, or something equally exciting.

He had to make that last t-shirt sound like the biggest, grandest prize anyone could dare dream of winning.

That’s sort of our job as writers. With the first line of our book, or the blurb on the back or the synopsis we send to a potential agent or editor, we must make the reader think our book is the best thing they’ve ever read. Or at least worthy of continuing on to the next paragraph, the next page, and so on.

Most writers are terrible salesmen. Many of us are uncomfortable telling the world how awesome we are or how awesome our book is. We prefer to hide behind our computers and create while praying readers stumble across our work and fall hopelessly in love with every word we write with no interference from us.

That isn’t likely to happen. How does a writer go from being a terrible salesman to convincing an editor to take a chance on our story? There’s no amazing new advice here. First off, we must write an excellent story. Story truly is king.

Secondly, almost as soon as you come up with a nugget of a story idea start thinking of who will buy this book and how to make them want it. What are the selling points? What makes it unique? I guarantee it isn’t the plot. Every one out there has been done to death. So what’s you angle? Imagine your book in the launcher at a major sporting event. What could the guy say to make the crowd stand up and cheer and beg for your book to be fired in their direction? Or would they use the break in the action to head to the concession stand for nachos?

You worked too hard on your book not to have readers clamoring to buy it. Go over your pitch. Or write one if you haven't already. Then honestly ask yourself--Is this book rocket launcher ready?


Tammie Edington Shaw said...

What a great comparison, Teresa. How true that we don't like to promote ourselves. If you are going to Dallas have a great time. I'm not going this year. We'll have to have lunch together again.

Connie Almony said...

I wonder if airport security will let me bring a t-shirt launcher to Dallas? That would be way cool ;o)! I don't think so, so I better think of another way to launch. Thank, Teresa!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Good info, Teresa. Thanks.

Teresa Slack said...

I won't be in Dallas this year. Too much stuff going on at work. Have fun without us, Connie. We'll def do lunch again sometime soon, Tammie. Thanks for stopping by writersrest.