March 10th, 2005

books

Today's rant sponsored by...

Suzanne McMinn and her recent post on Romancing the Blog.

I hate marketing. I hate the necessity of it. I hate trying to cram the brilliant books by my talented clients into a one-line description to fit into the agency catalog for this year's London Book Fair (and the BookExpo thing, and probably Frankfurt, too). Writers think they hate query letters? I hate marketing letters more than that. Such a small amount of paper on which to remind the editor of the sparkling, energetic, passionate pitch made over the phone and the high points of the writer's background. Of course, one realizes that all one might accomplish is separating that submission from the rest by using one's stationery, name recognition, and clever summation of the appeal of said project. In the end, it's all in the writing. (So, get out there and write your little hearts out, client-types and potential client-types!) And -- I hate cover copy. I hate covers. I hate feeling like the person who designed the packaging of the book did it without reading it and from a preconceived notion of what might make it sell better. It doesn't happen with every book. Sometimes they are absolutely lovely and I can tell the team behind the book have become fans of that book. Those are the coverflats one wants to hang on the wall or the door or the 'fridge (like early crayon drawings by one's god-daughter). But they don't come along every day. As an agent, I can almost wrap my mind around the why of it. Books are products (blah-blah) and the more copies sold, the better the career trajectory for the writer (and incidentally, for me). On a really good day, I can even sound convincing about the advantages of good marketing. In fact, I have an entire workshop based on the concept of labels and why they are important. But today would not be that day.
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