Never give up. That’s a mantra my good friend
William Goldman in his book, Adventures in the Screen Trade is credited for saying no one knows anything in
The same thing goes for publishing. A friend of mine recently recommended a novel I had never heard of before: Richard Zimler’s The Last Kabbalist of
Zimler asked several of his friends in the writing community in
Another anecdote about persistence is Donna Woolfolk Cross and her successful marketing of the novel Pope Joan. Originally it was published in hardcover in 1996 by Crown Books, but they did very little to promote it and subsequently it had only a modest print run of 13,000 that quickly went “out of print.”
Cross vowed the paperback by Ballantine would have a different fate. In the back of that version was a set of discussion questions as well as a the address of her website and an invitation to speak with reading groups by telephone. People send requests via the website and arrange to have her call their book clubs and answer questions via speakerphone. She has spoken to over 1500 groups; each one being a potential source of word-of-mouth recommendations and future sales. This has been far more lucrative to the continued success of her novel than traditional signings at bookstores. This successful marketing strategy has caused the paperback version of her book to be in its seventeenth printing. She spent seven long years of writing and researching and did not want her story passing quickly into oblivion by entrusting things to the standard marketing treatment by publishers. This demonstrates that if you must be dedicated and passionate about your work. Moral of the story: never give up.
Never give up when you have difficulty finding an agent or publisher. And never give up when the publisher’s marketing department does not give your work the emphasis and attention that you feel it deserves. If your work is important and you feel passionate enough about it, you can find an audience for it. That is if you never give up.