June 19, 2019

Be the Exception

By W. Terry Whalin

It’s easy to feel lost in the world of book publishing. Experts say there are over a million proposals and manuscripts in circulation at any given time. With the proliferation of self-publishing, there are over 4,500 new books published every day. The average self-published book sells about 200 copies during the lifetime of the book.

With these discouraging statistics how can a writer stand out and be the exception?  Some people are amazed that I’ve written over 60 books for traditional publishers and my writing has appeared in over 50 magazines. It is not because I am one of the best writers in the room. I am one of the most persistent and consistent writers that you will meet. As an editor, I’ve been speaking and attending conferences for years. I will listen to a writer’s pitch, then with sincerity say, “That’s a great idea, write that up and send it to me.”  I’ve learned that if you do what the editor or agent asks, you have put yourself in the top 10% of the people at that conference. Many writers never send their manuscript or proposal or query.  Here’s four simple yet important ways for you to be the exception.
  1. Submit your requested material. Your writing and storytelling has to be excellent but it will never be considered if you don’t send it. I still get rejected as a writer but I seize the opportunity and submit my material.
  2. Build Your Platform or Presence in the Market. Editors and literary agents are looking for writers who are connected to their readers. I’m not talking about Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Do you have a direct connection to your readers or fans of your book? Do you have an email list? Are you working to grow this email list and increase your reach? It is one of the greatest tools any writer can start and build. I have more details in this free eBook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author.  Also, I have an inexpensive eBook on list building called The List Building Tycoon.
  3. Follow-up and meet their deadlines with editors and agents. Writers are notoriously late on meeting their deadlines. New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins who has also been an editor says only one writer in 100 will meet their deadline. If you deliver quality writing on the deadline, it is a way for you to stand out in the market.
  4. Develop habits so you are in the top 10% A recent Pew study showed that 80% of tweets come from about 10% of users. I meet many writers who have a small Twitter following and post something once or twice a week.  I am probably in this top 10% because of my frequency of tweets, the diversity and providing excellent content.  If you create a habit and then execute your plan over and over, you too can be in this top percentage. Your consistent action will move you to the top of the stack.
Your persistent efforts will pay off in the publishing community. If you take consistent action, you can be the exception.
W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free eBook, Straight Talk From the Editor. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

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