… the idea of self-promotion, something with which a lot of writers are quite uncomfortable.
I’ve just finished writing an article for the next edition of the Australian Writer’s Marketplace on finding a literary agent … one of the points I put in there was ‘Write first, agent second’.
If you’re approaching a literary agent, you need to have a product to offer her/him. The agent is running a business, the business of selling your book to a publisher, who then sells the book to readers … and the happy outcome of all this is an income for everyone. Huzzah, puddings for all. Yet I still receive queries at least once a week from people who say ‘I’ve been thinking about writing and I need a literary agent.’
Well, why? You have no product to present. You got nuthin’, buddy. So, write first, agent second.
Similarly, I’m getting a bit perplexed by newbie writers who are creating webpages for themselves, stalking other writers on FB and the like in order to ‘promote’ themselves … when they have no writing. No publications out there for a reader to go and look at … some post their writing on the site and that’s fine … but those who don’t have anything there but are madly promoting themselves are a puzzle to me.
You need to have a product. You need to build a reputation based on your writing. If you’re a Mafia-hitman-in-training, then surely your resume should have some instances of actually putting horse heads in beds, rather than simply saying “I totally want to be a Mafia hitman and put horse heads in people’s beds, Mr Gotti.” Surely one must show a record of achievement.
Otherwise, where’s the substance of you as a writer? You’re just Paris Hilton, all surface, all self-pimping, no depth, no achievement. Why bother?