Phil: Sitting in the Rocking Horse Coffee Shop in sunny (and windy) Kenilworth, we have been pondering the path to publishing heaven. The current count of rejection letters from agents is now 5. Or 4 if you ignore the one who said they weren’t looking to take on any new authors at present so isn’t really a rejection. I know this is the sort of thing that all aspiring writers go through but it doesn’t make it any easier.
As we chatted, carrot cake was shared and very nice it was too. The only reason we had shared it was that one of us was off on holiday and needed to be in bikini form (despite saying she couldn’t manage a whole slice, honest) and the other is too polite to sit and gorge himself on a cake while being watched. It was a big slice though. Nice creamy topping and of course carrot cake IS one of your “5 a day”.
We talked over a number of options to try to get this thing in to print. There are lots more agents in the Writers and Artists Yearbook to bother with query letters so things aren’t looking too black yet. The Beatles were turned down many times etc. etc. Despite suggestions otherwise, there are even a few publishers who take on authors sans representation and we haven’t started on them.
So, the process carries on. We both believe in the book, it’s just that the same world that really should be interested in recession era stories, is facing a recession and so is less inclined to take a risk on new writers. Thus ideas for alternative marking are in order. The Writers & Artists blog recently briefly mentioned “Thinking outside the box” and this is where we are going. More on this in later posts.
All this coincided with my discovery of some clever marketing in the publishing world as I waited for Candice. A few doors away from the coffee shop is Kenilworth Books, an independent bookshop of the type that everyone says they like to see but rarely seem to buy from. I wandered in and browsed for a while before spotting “On the slow train again” by Michael Williams. I love a good train journey and had enjoyed the first book so buying this one was what they call a “No brainer”. Taking the book to the counter I was offered a freshly baked biscuit.
Since I knew there was cake in my immediate future I declined but almost straight away wished I hadn’t. They looked lovely, a sort of shortcake with vibrant pink icing and shiny bits on top. The proprietor explained that she normally baked at the weekend and brought the results in on Monday. Apparently many people have spotted this and take the time to drop in to the shop and have a chat at the start of the week. This, of course, is brilliant marketing. You can only sell books to people who come in through the door (apart from the Amazon shop but we’ll ignore that for the minute) and if that means giving away free baked products then maybe it’s worth it. Or maybe, it’s just a pleasant thing to do.
Maybe I ought to stick a sausage roll in with the next query letter ?