I’ve briefly mentioned my time working in a comic book store before.
It was back during my classroom teaching years and it was only one day a week, but those were the best times. Not only was the shop a positive experience for everyone who wandered in (which was no accident, as the store’s owner wanted to buck the trend of unfriendly comic boo stores), it was during the comic book renaissance of the first half of the 2010s, when Marvel released smash movie after smash movie and DC, well, they were also there, and people were discovering comic books were actually great.
And it was my job to sell them.
How did I do that? I pitched the books to customers.
Before we talk about that, let’s talk about momentum.
Weeks ago, I began sending out Project: GREY to agents for consideration. This means I’m putting my entire writing future in the guiding hands of someone who will look at my writing and either go, “Yes,” or, “No.”
It’s not that hard. They either like the writing or they don’t. I’ve already done all the hard work. I spent months writing a book, editing it, polishing it up to make it as good as I possibly could…
Now all I have to do is send an e-mail? Suddenly, that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
I lost my momentum.
When you’re in the thick of things, working every day, filling up notebooks, chasing down the idea that grabbed you by the shirt collar, spit in your face, and screamed, “YOU. MUST. WRITE. ME!” it’s easy to get lost. To get taken away, like wandering, entranced, in a fairy forest you never want to be taken from. Everywhere you turn is exciting and different and thrilling it would be impossible to stop.
You need to artificially create that for yourself when you query agents. Ask any writer, even the professional ones, and they’ll tell you the worst part of the job is pitching to agents or publisher. Think about how awkward it is, for writers, naturally shy, inward creatures, to tell someone they barely know, “MY BOOK IS BEST PLEASE BUY BOOK PLEASE.”
It’s awkward. Really awkward.
But if you do it once…it’s easier to do it a second time right after.
Obviously, do your agent research. Find someone who’s represented books in your wheelhouse, who might have written a book you enjoyed, or seems to have a positive track record. Then, find someone else just like them. Two agents. When you send your query letter to the first agent, the sweat breaks, your muscles relax, and you feel like you’ve just pushed a boulder up a mountain.
Now, here’s the key, submit AGAIN.
One more time. Send it out to a second agent immediately after you send that first one. What you’ll feel is less fear, less panic, less worry. Suddenly, it’s become mundane, the act of pitching to someone, because you’ve done it once. And if you can do it once. then you can do it again, so pitch again the next day. Don’t make the mistake that I made, where I submitted to two agents, felt amazing, then decided to take the rest of the week off then, oops, it’s been over two weeks since I pitched to an agent.
Keep it going, rolling, moving. When I was working in the comic book store I didn’t even think about how to sell comics to customers. It just happened. I had to do it for a job, so the luster of the act was wiped off. You don’t really think about if you’re selling the book in the most optimal way possible when you have to do 40-90 times a day.
Do it more. Do it often. Keep the momentum going and you’ll be pitching more often.
Thanks for reading,