I saw something on Twitter today that reminded me of an embarrassing moment everyone (particularly writers) should hear.
I had just finished writing my second full length novel. It was as bad as the first, although I wasn’t going to admit that to anyone. I was determined that this one would get published. I did my research and tracked down several publishers that dealt in similar books (similar in content and theme, not the fact that they were rubbish…)
But not for me the query letter, the polite introduction and gentle submission. Oh no, I was just going to bravely call these people and sell them my book over the phone! Yes!
I dialled the first number and asked to speak to the name I had found. I told him that I had just written a great book, maybe the greatest book of the year.
I did. And I am cringing now as I type that.
He then did the worst thing he could possibly do. He asked me to tell him about the book.
It was only then I realised the importance of preparation. I thought that, having spent months bashing out this pile of paper, that I knew the story. That I understood the essence of it, that was was aware of every nuance of my tale.
I blathered. I hemmed and hawed. I may even have gibbered. I’m pretty sure I ended the call by apologising and thanking him for his time.
Calling publishers or agents direct may or may not be a good way to get their attention. Calling them without preparing what you’re going to say is a lunatic idea that will not help you in the slightest.
That book, like the first, remains unpublished, and rightly so.