Saturday, January 16, 2010

Agent's role: Or a roll of the dice?

Here are a few imiportant excerpts from a Wall St. Journal article today entitled: The Death of the Slush Pile

These excerpts point out the critical value of author marketing. That's why one-third of Release Your Writing covers the marketing strategies authors need, to keep their book alive, and why I started the Pajama Marketing blog as well. Keep visiting for ideas, and keep your marketing active. Look how critical it is today: (emphasis mine)

excerpts from The Death of The Slush Pile, WSJ

Even in the Web era, getting in the door is tougher than ever
• Don't be a barista waiting for someone to stumble upon your genius. "Our editors travel, they get around. They look at writer's conferences, at MFA programs. They look at magazine articles and at blogs. That's what editors do, they sniff things out from so many different sources." —Carol Schneider, Random House Publishing Group

• Contests! "I'm always wary to recommend to writers that they go to competitions too much because there are fees and they can end up spending a lot of money. But the ones that do get industry attention are really fantastic opportunities to network and to make important relationships." —Hannah Minghella, president of production, Sony Animation Studios, formerly in development at Miramax

A primary aim of the slush pile used to be to discover unpublished voices. But today, writing talent isn't necessarily enough. It helps to have a big-media affiliation, or be effective on TV. "We are being more selective in taking on clients because the publishers are demanding much more from the authors than ever before," says Laurence J. Kirshbaum, former CEO of Time Warner Book Group and now an agent. "From a publisher's standpoint, the marketing considerations, especially on non-fiction, now often outweigh the editorial ones."

In 2008. HarperCollins launched, a Web slush pile. Writers can upload their manuscripts, readers vote for their favorites, and HarperCollins editors read the five highest-rated manuscripts each month. About 10,000 manuscripts have been loaded so far and HarperCollins has bought four.


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