where the writers are
Adventures of an e-Book Bookie, 11 "Thoughts From a Candy-Ass Hopeful"

THOUGHTS FROM A CANDY-ASS HOPEFUL

 

Wednesday morning last week I read a thoughtful (and just mildly self-promoting) blog about advertising yourself as a writer on all the available social media outlets. The writer was pleased that he had received 2000 hits in one week on a stand-alone short story he’d published, but he’d only sold (I don’t know what he was asking, $$$, I really should have looked it up...) two copies. Of course he was happy with the exposure and the traffic and the attention.

            And of course he was disappointed by the paltry sales.

            He wondered (morphing from mildly self-promoting to borderline whimpering) When-o-when, Dear Internet Goddess,will my-o-so deserved sales will come???

            This is such a good question that I refuse to allow myself to ask it.

            Whether I sell books or not might have nothing to do with me. There is a possibility that my writing (as proofread and heartfelt as it is) may never attract attention and sell.

            I have always believed (and refuse to disavow) that the best marketing is, first-foremost-and-always writing well. But these days as I see some consistent numbers registering on my blogs and the stories and articles I post on Redroom (http://redroom.com/member/rob-loughran) I have a glimmer of a glimpse of a shot at hope of actually selling some novels in the near future. I contrast this with the snailmail/SASE world that I treaded through to get my first novel published.

            Back when I cheated.

            I’ll confess, but I don’t want to rehabilitate. I’m proud of how and why I cheated. For nearly five years I tried to get my novel High Steaks published. I read Writer’s Digest magazine and attended seminars on marketing your novel and laid out thirty bucks a year for an updated copy of The Writer’s Market. And I did what they told me: I wrote a cover letter outlining my publishing credits and bundled it up with the first four chapters of High Steaks; included a synopsis and an SASE for the editor’s convenience. I marked down the date, the publisher, and the editor in a submissions journal.

            The SASEs returned (anywhere from three months to a year; some are still out there in orbit for all I know) with a form rejection slip. I did, however get a bite, and sent in, along with High Hopes, High Steaks. The manuscript returned with a form rejection slip: Not For Us at This Time --The Editors. That’s okay, I’d been writing professionally for over twenty years and I know that rejection is part of the game; it bothers me about as much as the speedbumps in the Safeway parking lot.

            But then I ran out of publishers.

            This bothered me.

            Not every publisher accepts unagented submissions and there is a giant Catch-22: Publishers won’t read a novel unless it’s agented, but you can’t get an agent unless you’ve had a book published.

            What horseshit.

            So after, literally, being rejected by Every English Speaking Mystery Publisher in the World (I have the rejection slips in a suitcase my garage if anyone wants to see them) I cheated.

            I took my cousin’s name, started a new e-mail account, and using my address started the Brad Morrison Agency. I designed (easy on the computer) some BMA letterhead and envelopes and wrote a letter about me in the third person, including sample chapters of the book and a synopsis. Two things happened: the manuscript was requested and read. It was rejected—like I said, part of the publishing game—but I (rather, Brad) didn’t receive form rejection letters. I received personal letters outlining why they couldn’t use it. Apparently agents are higher on the food chain than writers. One rejection slip I have framed in my office with the phrase a bit too sexually explicit and cavalier for us.

            Yes! To slightly misquote General Patton: “You read my book you magnificent bastard!”

            I admit all this was a deception, but a necessary one; what was I supposed to do, give up? Writing a book is hard work, and I knew, in my gut that the book was good enough. Although this cheating opened the door to several publishers, High Steaks was finally published because it won a national contest—Salvo Press’ New Mystery Award—where publication was part of the prize.

            I’ve since finished and sold other novels (and jokebooks and books on writing) but if they hadn’t The BMA would have ridden again. Proudly.

            I hate to be a candy-ass hopeful who sees rainbows and freaking unicorns in my dreams, but I am so relieved and happy to be able to Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/RJPLOUGHRAN) and blog and post on Redroom and have an active hand in promoting and schlepping my books.

            It means I am once again in the game.

 

 

JOKE OF THE DAY

What is black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, and black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, and black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, and black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black-and-white, black and white, and black-and-white?

101 Dalmations.

 

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Rob “The Cheater” Loughran has a bunch of books in print and e-print (is that a word?) these days. Check them out:
www.robloughranbooks.com
www.lulu.com/rloughranjokes
www.lulu.com/product/paperback/tantric-zoo/16169196
www.amazon.com/dp/B005DTO6W6
www.smashwords.com/profile/view/robloughranbooks

http://twitter.com/#!/RJPLOUGHRAN