Creative Writing and Memoir Class Notes

Carol Brennan King March 8, 2022

This week we discussed some of the business sides of writing and promoting. Therefore, because I want to leave you with helpful resources, I am going to pass on to you some comprehensive websites I have found useful.

We talked first about the path to publication with the tools that will get you to the end of that path: the publication and the promotion of your work.

First, you have to have a manuscript, whether you are writing articles or books. Sometimes you can sell an idea before you have written the complete manuscript, but that works most effectively for people who already have a reputation for quality work.

  1. Now after you have something to sell that you have written, you need a PITCH. A pitch is simply a one or two sentence hook that will tell your publishers or agents everything they need to know to be interested in your work and want more. Think who is your protagonist, what do they want, what is in the way of their achieving that, and why all of this amtters. But make it more interesting than what I just wrote. Use your best writing, and write this pitch over and over until you know whoever reads it is going to want your work, like yesterday!

2. Now take that PITCH and turn it into a SYNOPSIS.

Think adding a lot of proteins and vitamins to the Pitch. Beef it up with details that will show the writer you do know what you are talking about, and now they really want to buy it. Now I just said you add details, but you don’t wear out your reader, nor do you give away the whole story.

a. What is the main conflict?

b. What is the protagonist’s goal?

c. Who (the antagonist) is out to keep the protagonist from achieving that goal?

d. What is the setting?

e. What is at stake?

f. What is the tone of the book…you need to know that to communicate it in your synopsis.

g. And finally, you gotta do all this in a way that pops, that tells your reader you really can write in a way that will sell books.

3. BLURB: Go back to your pitch and write it the way it would show up on the back of the book cover or in an ad in a magazine or newspaper.

a. Remember, your blurb is brief and designed to whet the reader’s appetite.

b. For more, go to

4. Platform: think about everything you could use to reach your target audience (the people most likely to buy your book and you have to know that first). And parents, spouses and relatives do not count. Think VISIBILITY!

What do you have at your disposal to reach people, already! Facebook: a thousand “friends or more?”

A blog: and how many followers?

Instagram, Tic Toc, etc. The point is the publishers need to have a sense that you have enough name recognition that you are going to be a great help selling the book.

Think about what groups might be interested in or need your book and how you could reach them. Where could you speak or promote your book? Who could help you do this?

Remember all those movie stars or writers on the morning news shows discussing their latest book or movie? That’s what they are doing, working their platform to sell books.

Click on the link below and learn more about what you can do to build your platform.

Then there’s the book proposal: think business plan. This document provides an overview of your book. It also shows your marketing plan – remember that platform we just talked about.

Your platform will include a comps section that shows you know who you are competing with. Think books published within the last three to five years that are similar to your book, but yours is better because… You are looking for comparative or competitive titles. If you can’t find any, a publisher will believe there is no one who would be interested in your book enough to buy it. No buyers, no money, no contract!

Then, to pique the interest of this potential writer, you need to include your Table of Contents with more than just three-word titles. You need to give enough detail that the publisher can tell people will not be able to put your book down once they have scanned that Table of Contents. And you will need to include three sample chapters. By the way, you don’t get to pick them. Usually, the agent or publisher will tell you what they are looking for, and most often, it is the first three.

Check out this site for more:

OK, friends, as you remember on Wednesday, those of you who were in class, I told you I had finished the first draft of my current book, so you know I have tons to do. And now I am going to get started. Happy writing! See you next week.

PS, join me next Thursday on zoom if you’d like to hear more about and from my book.

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