Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Penguin Ireland / RTE Guide Publishing And Marketing Day

As promised, some nuggets gleaned from a very full and very enjoyable day...

  • The market is not what it used to be, editors are buying fewer new books. 
  • On the other hand, it's a really good time for short story collections, both in mainstream publishers and in 'boutique' outfits. (Submissions should consist of 3 or more stories.)
  • Faith O'Grady (agent) take on very few novelists. She judges a manuscript quickly, usually in the first 20 pages,  get a sense almost immediately, in the first paragraph. But it's about personal tastes, so if you're rejected, keep going.
  • The importance of the pitch was emphasised by several speakers on the day, though Faith added that despite its importance we shouldn't spend the rest of our lives working on it!
  • What is unique about your book? Go to the bookshop and figure out where yours fits.
  • Your novel should have international appeal (but then, fiction should be universal).
  • The story is the most important thing. If you're writing literary fiction, language is really important.
  • Hooks - again emphasised by several speakers.
  • Writing takes inner confidence, discipline and talent, and it takes time to get all these right. 
  • Writers' groups can be very useful.
  • Having an online presence unanimously accepted as a good idea. Advice on blogging: blog about your dog (or cat, if you must). So, here's Tess one more time... Or something you're interested in. 'Buy My Book'- style pushy social media is no longer enough/tolerated by soc media consumers. 
  • The public needs to hear about something 4 times before it sinks in.
  • Manage your expectations; there's a lot of competition out there.
There was much, much more, positive and cautionary, but I'll save it for another post.

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