Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Writing for Money
Since I decided to transition to writing for a living from my 34-year full-time photographic career, for reasons I will not go into here, I have been aware that the biggest part of my job is selling my writing, not writing it. I, of course, strive for excellence in the craft of storytelling, but realize that, if I build it, they will NOT come, unless I drag them to it.
The art of selling e-books, and I believe e books are the future format of all writing, is a subtle, intricate, and complex system of "working" the internet that is not immediately obvious to a novice. These systems are "out there" and knowable, but still strange to anyone who has not lived on the Internet full-time for a few years. After exploring the methodologies, and taking steps to implement a few (writing this blog every day is one of them) I have almost convinced myself that pitching an agent to rep me in the paper publishing world is easier. Publishing on paper is not the road to riches now, if it ever was, but still conveys a measure of prestige that almost makes up for the fact that it is as cruel as exploitive a world as the music business. "Screw the Artist" is the official religion of paper publishers.
So in the interest of getting screwed and wishing to avoid all the boring, technical and repetitive tasks connected with e-book marketing, I am writing to agents to rep my best work--Surfing Vietnam. It is taking me about 2 hours per pitch, as I am trying to tailor the pitch to agents as individuals. As the positive response rate, I figure is about 1 in 100, I will have 5 full work weeks in on my first 100 agent pitches to get to the point where one of them wants to see the whole manuscript for consideration after reading my pitch letter and synopsis.
And no one is paying me anything to do this. I wonder who gripes more, farmers or artists? Probably farmers, but we artists do it with more flair...!