I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto, to meet with people in my industry. It was an eye-opening and inspiring trip, and I am very glad that I was able to connect with key players in the Canadian publishing industry. My associate Brian Wood was gracious enough to invite me along on several meetings with editors at the major publishing houses, including McLelland & Stewart, Doubleday, and John Wiley, to name a few. And I also met with a few clients and freelance sub-contractors.
One of the common themes I heard about on my trip was the vital need for authors to have a publicity platform. If you want to play with the big kids, they need to know your name. When you submit to an agent or publisher, you need to have some media backing to boost your creditability. If you say you are an expert in the field, but you have nothing to show for it, why are they going to publish your book?
This is especially relevant in non-fiction. It's not just about the words anymore. It's about name recognition. Build your brand, publish the book. The two go hand in hand.
I receive many inquiries about proposals and query letters that are being sent to agents and publishers. Many of the notes I receive mention that they have been rejected anywhere from 20 to 200 times with little or no feedback on why they aren't getting anywhere.
One of the reasons I started my business was to make sure that writers had a place to go to have their questions answered when they submit their work. There is nothing more frustrating for a writer when after months or years of writing and submitting, you get rejection after rejection with no reason why.
Most literary agents and publishers simply don't have time to comment on any queries that are sent to them. Some agents only deal with A-list writers ( those that are in the media all the time), and publishers are limited on the number of new first-time authors that they can take on.
It's important to note that when you are putting a query letter and proposal together that it is not just about the book. It's about SELLING your book. You need to talk about all your media appearances, include links to your publications, MP3's, and PDF files so that the agent or publisher can get a clear picture of your work, and how much work you are willing to put into selling your publication.
A Publicity Platform includes all the blog sites, websites, print media, and target markets that you have either appeared on/in, or that you plan to include when your book is published. Publishers aren't able to give every new author a publicist to get them started, so either it's up to you to do all the marketing, or you can hire a publicist.
Either way, you won't sell books if no one knows who you are or where your book is selling.
If you have a question about your proposal, I would be happy to give you some tips. If you are interested in putting a publicity platform together, consider hiring gal-friday publicity to get one done for you.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org