As a new publishing student getting my first introduction to the acquisitions process at Ooligan, I can’t help but feel a bit traitorous at the prospect of contributing to more of those infamous letters. If there is one thing I can say that might benefit a talented author who just isn’t the best fit for Ooligan right now, it’s that the rejection often has nothing to do with measuring an author’s skill. Instead, it might simply be a matter of not being in exactly the right place at the right time.
There’s no doubt that the world of social media can be daunting for writers who want to establish that online presence many publishers push for, especially if the author has never had a social media account before. But there is no denying its necessity and value when it comes to reaching target audiences. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can all help you promote your blog and your books and can connect you with other people, but Twitter—in itself a form of microblogging—is a great way for writers to build an online presence and stay informed on trends in the industry.
The scene opens on a classroom. The students’ eyes are glazed over from the glow of the computer screens, half of them open to D2L, the other to some Instagrammer’s latest post. The professor asks the question, “What is metadata?” and one person, with a fox-like grin on their face, raises their hand and calls out, “It’s data about data.” Everyone breaks out in applause, confetti rains from the ceiling and cupcakes are served. This has happened to me more times than I can count, and yes, a quick hand raise asking for clarification could have solved all my problems but then I wouldn’t have had a blog post idea. So come with me as we take a journey on self-education and find out what all the fuss is about metadata and why you should actually care about it.
As a writer, the process of designing books can be overwhelming. You already know what good book covers and interiors look like, and you probably already know some of the basic concepts of design, but you may not necessarily know the right terms to use.
As a self-published author, it may be intimidating to start with all of the online outlets claiming they can make your book the next bestseller. After all, you’re a writer, not a designer. To help make the process a little less intimidating, here is a brief list of options that can give your book the beautiful face it deserves.
The most important element of a successful pitch is to succinctly explain the concept of the book. This is high-level thinking that shows the benefits and emotional payoff of reading the book for the agent, publisher, and reader. It is not about the beautiful sentence structure that took years to realize. So if you’re tempted to say “but if you just read it you’ll understand,” then work harder at articulating the overall concept. You have five minutes for the pitch. It’s the merit of your concept that indicates a strong book, and that should take a few seconds.