Tuesday, June 06, 2006

On pitching (and catching)

I'm pretty flexible when it comes to reading a POD (or any book for that matter). I'm willing to give stuff a shot (if it falls into one of the categories in the list on the right) if it sounds even vaguely compelling. But I am starting to see why some of these authors have had to go POD (besides the obvious horrific writing in most cases).

It is my advice, if you have interest in going the route of a commercial publisher instead of/before POD, that you spends weeks (yes, weeks) generating a compelling query for agents and/or editors.

I've had several folks (three, as a matter of fact) mention that their writing was similar to Don DeLillo (among others). While it is great that these folks (wish that they) write like Don DeLillo, I'm not sure it is something I would mention in a pitch. To me? Fine. But not to New York. If you can compare your writing to someone more contemporary--and better selling, like, say, Jonathan Safran Foer--than go that route. But to compare yourself to an author who has lost the sales impetus like DeLillo is probably not a good idea--because it suggests your book will fall to the same fate.

Don't get me wrong: DeLillo is a master and I love all of his books (except COSMOPOLIS) and I fully realize why the guy has won awards. But he will not help sell your book. The same goes for guys like Jay MacInerney and Bret Easton Ellis.

If you are blessed enough that your writing really does resemble one of these folks, I wouldn't mention it. New York is more likely to be interested in "new" and "out of the box" writing--or, sadly, derivative writing of current bestselling authors. So, you should probably go one of those routes.

In the meantime, keep the pitches coming. Eventually, one is going to get knocked out of the park.