Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Monday, July 20, 2015

Writing The Great Modern Novel?

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #43
     Remember when unknown writers sent their work "over the transom" to editors who read them with an eye toward publication?  No?  That is because, if those days ever existed, they were more than half a century ago.  Today, the watch phrase is "No one publishes strangers."  Best way to introduce yourself to an editor?  Have a following that constitutes a market.  Enter the Publication Paradox:  you can't get a readership without publication and you can't get published without a readership.

     Let's say you want to bring The Great Modern Novel into this world but you have four interrelated and insurmountable obstacles:  you are too lazy--you prefer the expression "motivationally challenged"--to finish writing it, especially in light of the fact that you are too obscure to have a publisher or a readership that might attract one.  Also, you're too modest and shy to promote your work or yourself, before or after publication.

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #81
     The situation looks bleak, and isn't helped by knowing that this is the norm, not the exception.  Nevertheless, we may have the solution to all four hurdles you face [if your writing makes the grade].

     Write three chapters of your book:  the first one, the last one, and the one that best advances the main plot.  Post them on a free blog like this, one at a time over a few days or weeks.  Post social media links to it with a nifty title and catch phrase.  In theory, at least, your friends and relatives will read it and post complimentary reviews and a desire to see the completed work.  Their acquaintances might do the same.  Soon, strangers will be commenting.  Once you have generated enough positive feedback an editor is likely to notice [with or without your assistance].  What outlet wouldn't want to produce work that already has a built-in market?¹  (See "#slam dunk" and "#fish in a barrel.")

Earl the Squirrel's Rule #90
     This is an example of wholesale script-teasing.  It differs from "pitching" in that it involves the public [essentially, as a ramp or lever toward publication] and uses cogent excerpts rather than synopses.  It differs from retail script-teasing in that, originally at least, it doesn't involve a final product.  By not withholding anything yet it tends to create less ill-will than sample chapters followed by a purchase option.  It's more like crowd-sourcing than, say, shareware, movie trailers or free cheese samples at the supermarket.  Best of all, it saves labor, printing and distribution costs;  if the work cannot generate enthusiasm from family, friends and strangers (in that order) we needn't bother an editor with it.  The Internet has served as a screener.

     In the near future we will release an experimental wholesale script-tease novel entitled "Love is a Weakness", a tale about a girl who changed the world.²  Watch for it here!


¹ - Other than Poetry magazine, of course.

² - Note the provocative title and description.  The poetry connection will be abundantly evident when you read it.

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