Imagine that your novel is a major motion picture…it’s not that hard, is it? This movie has fantastic actors, a brilliant script, breathtaking cinematography: it’s a stunner.
Now imagine the movie trailer…you’re sitting in the theater trying to ignore that kid three seats away that keeps bellowing “mmmwaaa” like a drunk lamb (it turns out that they like beer…who knew?), and alternately slipping on spilled soda and sticking on some tacky substance that releases a regular waft of tutti-frutti. The theater darkens…the room falls silent.
Except for that.
An image flickers on the screen. You gasp, dude, it’s your trailer…
“In a world gone mad…one man…one woman…one deli sandwich (extra pickle-lily no on the jalapenos)…from the people that brought you…”
The theater goes silent in anticipation.
Except for that.
That’s what your book is like if your are not…don’t have a…haven’t written a…
It probably never happened in history that some writer just sorta wrapped up a manuscript and dropped it off at a publisher’s house and went to bed to wake up the next day to find that he was a phenom and the Daily Enquirer had already saved column 1, page 1 for him. Of course not…the Enquirer is a tabloid.
All that to say that, mega publisher or no, don’t force your first book to stand on its own. Start today, right now…good heavens, you mean you haven’t started yet?!?…to build a name for yourself, make a coherent framework in your career into which the book will fit. It doesn’t have to be a huge name…the book will do that if it’s good…but it should enough oomph to fill out the dust jacket.
“Author John Reinhart lives in Ventura, CA with three dogs, four cats, five rabbits, and the ocasional sheep. He has a nifty collection of rubber bands and really likes padded socks. This is is his first novel.”
In the trailer, “from the author of nothing prior to this” just doesn’t fly. “From the publisher of Hairball dot com…” now that has something going for it.
In the good old days of Harcourt Brace, they took the nifty picture of you at the typewriter smoking a cigarette and looking authorly, and did all that behind-the-scenes Madmen stuff because they had invested a bunch of money in you.
The money’s gone, which means you, my dear, must do the Madmen stuff yourself.
“In a world gone mad…one man…one woman…one clever backstory to get you to buy my book…”