If you have pitched your book to multiple publishers, and received only rejections, does it mean there is something wrong with your book? Of course not. Think J.K. Rowling and the 500 million Harry Potter book sales, which the 12 publishers who rejected her are weeping about today.
So, how do you get picked up by traditional publishers? What’s the secret?
Personally, I am a major fan of self-publishing and I have good reasons. But if being picked up by a publisher is important to you, this series will help.
It’s 10-part series (*see the full list below) because the first way of appealing to publishers – Be famous for something other than writing – is not an option for most of us. Being publishable is a side-effect of being famous. Think Michelle Obama. Think Donald Trump – oh no. That is unthinkable!
So, let’s get started
Top Tip #1: Make an outrageous promise
Working for just four hours a week? I’d pay the cover price of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss for that outrageous promise.
It’s such an appealing dream.
But is it new? Of course not. Essentially, Ferriss wrote a productivity book, an update on Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ (also a bestseller).
In this self-service age, everyone everywhere is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of sh*t they have to do. When customer service died, so did our spare time. But wait. Ferriss knows how to reclaim it. He was in the vanguard of harried executives who employed virtual assistants from countries such as India and the Philippines to arbitrage the difference between the cost of living and create an opportunity for both sides of the transaction. Ferriss had other innovative ideas on how to save time.
‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece is another example of an outrageous promise. Most of us feel like pawns in someone else’s game. Carnegie promised us influence and friends to boot. That is the kicker. We assume power and influence comes at the cost of friendship. Carnegie offers both. Wildly exciting.
There’s just one caveat on this tip—you have to deliver. But remember, it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Carnegie’s tips include ideas such as listening, smiling and remembering a person’s name. Ferriss suggests not trying to read too much, escaping the office, and overcoming fear. Not ground-breaking. But well-substantiated with examples, stories and data.
DO it. Take a look at these books with outrageous promises in their titles. Could you reframe your ideas into an outrageous promise?
Stay tuned for more.
*The full list
Not really #1: Be famous for something other than writing
Make an outrageous promise
Have a pre-qualified audience
Give the opposite advice to everyone else
Be a beautiful writer
Have a message that appeals to millions of people
Base your ideas in the real world — make them doable
Do original research
Fit a genre and send your book to the right publisher
Don’t write about something your target publisher recently published
Follow their pitch guidelines.
Stick to it.
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