Lately I’ve been asked why I think name-building is important for writers, so I thought that I’d address it here. As always, this is just my opinion. There are a plethora of ways that a writer can build their career.
Based on my experience inside a publishing house, I learned that authors who were established, known in their industry, or good at marketing themselves, got their proposals looked at more closely than those who weren’t. Same went for when I was reading submissions. A cover letter that noted prestigious affiliations grabbed my attention. Why? Well, a publisher wants to sell books. If they have a budget to do one book and it comes down to two proposals, the book with the author who has larger connections, or more energy and interest to get behind the book, will get more consideration because there is an opportunity to sell more books through their various outlets.
I would like to write my own book someday. If not books. The way things usually go in publishing is that the bigger advances are given by the bigger publishing houses, because they have bigger budgets than the smaller indie houses. However, most big name publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. That means that you need to get an agent and have them approach the publisher for you.
So, how do you get an agent?
Or rather, how do you get a good agent? By being as big of a name as you can. Having tons of relationships through your bylines, affiliations, if not knowing hundreds of thousands of people/friends/family/fans who will buy your book. The more books you can sell, the more money everyone will make.
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To back me up, here is an agent I have my eye on. Take a look at what she’s looking for in a writer.
“Regardless of the topic, I am primarily interested in writers with credentials and experience in their fields – I look for awards won, experience on national radio and television, nation-wide lecturing, credits with large, national newspapers or magazines. These kinds of credentials play an important role in getting any author a lucrative book deal, or indeed, any kind of book deal.”
Taken from “How and what to submit to Jenny Bent”
So, in my quest to find a worthy agent (one who I’ll be able to work with throughout my career and not just the first book), write and sell a book, and encourage others to write and sell their books — I am building with my name-building blocks one letter at a time.
Tomorrow I will open the discussion to the various ways to name-build.