4.07.2007

Heart Smart

Miss Snark,

I am finally (after several rewrites and workshoppings and more rewrites) ready to start querying a novel. I am concurrently spending time in a wheelchair due to a heart problem that may or may not be permanent. I have gotten used to the looks and the people talking over my head, and what people might think about my choice of wheel-friendly clothing won’t bother me when I attend a conference next month. I won’t be pitching, although I am curious about whether showing up in a chair would cause an immediate, if invisible to the naked eye, inner recoil in an agent.

In a mail/email query, I’d be lying by omission if I let a prospective agent believe I could undertake a lot of high-intensity publicity effort. At what point in the delicate minuet between the first ‘dear agent’ and the final ‘I accept’ should I tell a prospective agent that I might not be the best bet for a book tour or other strenuous promotional activities unless a portable defibrillator is on the table next to the bottled water?


First, focus your energy on your writing. Make it great. You can ride tandem on KY's skateboard if you write well enough.

Book tours are over rated ways to promote books. You can do a lot from home, on the phone and on the net.

You don't have to mention it at the query process. You should mention it when an agent calls and wants to sign you up.

And, a lot of authors go on tour who aren't doing backflips for their morning constitutional. Ya work with what you've got. If we need oiled and muscular pool boys to carry you about on a sedan chair, well, no problem; I have those guys on speed dial.

Write well. We'll figure out the rest.

8 comments:

Inspired said...

Wow! Thanks, Miss Snark. I'll go back to polishing my query letter with a lighter heart. ;)

(If I write really, really stupendously great, can I have my oiled pool boys doing back flips at signings? I think it would significantly boost the attendance.)

Edyta said...

What a touching post. Just think: Laura Hillenbrand, the author of the wildly successful Seabiscuit. She was equally infirmed and look how that turned out! You'll be fine.
Godspeed...

Anonymous said...

yes, you will do well... also, Stephen Hawking and Mattie Stepanek have done quite well ... you can make it happen...

Marion Gropen said...

When my company signed the Delany Sisters, they were 100 and 102. Yes, that's years old. Their inability to tour was no problem, even back in the early 90s. (That book spent 6 months on the NYT list, if I recall correctly.)

It's important to know what your book is giving your readers, and make sure that you meet that need or desire as well as possible. It helps greatly if you know who your readers are, and where they can be found in groups.

If you've done all that, the marketing department will have a much easier time that usual, even with your physical limitations.

Eileen said...

Oiled pool boys may cause some heart flutter for me...

Jackie said...

This encouraged me. I have been having dreading feelings about books tours. I am almost blind, but I can see well enough to speed dial for some of those pool boys when I'm ready.
Thanks for this post.

Heidi the Hick said...

Oiled and muscular pool boys? REally? That's how you get around on book tours?

More than ever I want to write well!!!

i said the sparrow said...

A little slow to post on this one, but I just came across this interesting site/service that I think was founded by Margaret Atwood, that seems to provide the possibility of doing a virtual "book tour" for authors.
http://www.longpen.com/lp-welcome.html
It might be something to keep in mind for down the line. Hope this helps, and good luck to you!