I write with the philosophy “Hook ‘em fast, hold ‘emlong.” Basically that means to “hook‘em” with the first few paragraphs and“hold ‘em” for the duration of the novel – between 280 to 350 pages, althoughsome novels are considerably longer.
I don’t know how many times I let readers read the first fewchapters of The Banshee and the Archangel. If after the first couple of pages they aredrawn in to the point the rest of the world disappears I know I’ve done myjob. They ask me when it’s going to hitthe bookstore shelves so they can read the whole thing. I smile and say in the near future, but whenI sent my 10th query out and received another rejection letter itwas like the rug was pulled out from underneath my feet. It was more than disheartening. I believed in my work. A few choice mystery readers believed in mywork. So why – after the 10threjection – couldn’t I find an agent or a publisher?
Your voice has to find the right ears and your manuscriptthe right reader who will accept it with enthusiasm. But how does one go about doing that? The solution is the same as when you go outand promote a book. You have to promoteyourself as well.
“How do I do that?” you may ask. Sometimes the simplest and most economicalway to promote yourself and your work is by word of mouth. Or in this digital age by social media. Social media may have begun as an avenue forpeople to meet and chat with each other online, but it was quickly picked up bybusiness minded consumers.
Establish a social platform. Networking is of paramount importance. If you don’t have a Facebook account, get one. If you don’t have a Twitter account then goto the Twitter website and sign-up. Network with other professionals by signing-up for a LinkedInaccount. Establish yourself online withyour own blog; and you can post your work at sites like Writing.com for publicdiscussion and critique. (You canestablish a portfolio for free with five examples of your work, any more than fiverequires a paid account.)
In retrospect – establish your persona online and develop aplatform. Don’t be afraid to putyourself and your work out there. Andabove all, never stop believing in your work, because if you don’t whowill? Never give up. Continue to push forward and eventually yourwork will find a home and an audience.