How To Increase Your Chances of Landing That Book Deal

While it may seem that my life revolves around short-form magazine pieces about vibrators and low libido, what some of you may not know is that — once upon a time — I worked full-time for a book publisher, weeding through book proposals, drawing up author contracts, and developing marketing/publicity plans.

And so, while I’ve not yet courted traditional authorship myself, I do sometimes help clients with book proposal preparation and lit agent research.

In fact, as I’ve learned from working on several ebooks for Good in Bed, it’s a pretty short leap from being a short-form freelance writer to putting together an entire book. Which is why I thought some of you might be interested in 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected {and how to be sure it won’t happen again!}.

Because perhaps you have a book in you, too?

ANYway. After receiving a review copy of 77 Reasons and tweeting it up, a friend of mine (a published author who probably bristled at the admittedly provocative title) commented that I should give the book — and anyone who rejected me — “the Middle Finger, and then start looking for other smarter publishers/agents.”

I understood where he was coming from. After all, stories like the one surrounding The Help show that sheer determination, and an unwillingness to give up, can lead to authorial success.

But aspiring authors should be aware that some level of effort is still required on their part to increase their chances of getting a lit agent and/or a book publisher to sign on the dotted line. While writing an entire book is a daunting prospect to most of us, and we admire and envy those of you who can pull it off, that accomplishment does not, unfortunately, grant you a golden ticket to traditional publication.

Enter 77 Reasons.

Its author, literary agent and former acquisitions editor Mike Nappa, doesn’t leave much to chance. Throughout the book, he provides readers with the many reasons an editorial board, marketing department, or sales team might pass on your book, and then gives tips on how to avoid each of these pitfalls. He also gives aspiring authors an inside look at the book proposal consideration process, which may make readers amazed that any book has ever made it to publication.

Some of the pitfalls and pointers may seem common sense, but I feel confident that anyone in the midst of pulling together a book proposal will find value in this book. In fact, I suggest keeping it around on your reference shelf and using it as a checklist once you’ve pulled your proposal together.

It can only strengthen subsequent drafts.

Related: Breakneck Book Report: Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing, How To Get Your Book Published Before the Age of 25, Breakneck Book Report: How To Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead

Freelancedom Book Club Discussion: The Wealthy Freelancer

Now that we’re back to business as usual here at Freelancedom, it’s time to focus on the important stuff: Taking our businesses to the next level. Elevating them beyond mere hobbies so that they’re legitimate sources of income. Becoming wealthy freelancers, no matter what wealth means to you.

I had seen lots of online love for Steve Slaunwhite, Pete Savage, and Ed Gandia’s The Wealthy Freelancer before I broke down and picked up my own copy. Why did I wait so long? Being a raging book nerd, with a particular love for self-help-y career titles, I had started to feel as if none of the books I was reading had anything new to say.

The Wealthy Freelancer exceeded my expectations by… well… a lot. As I mentioned in a related post, the book is so much more than inspirational mumbo jumbo. Rather, it contains concrete tips and step-by-step instructions for making it work.

I’m curious to hear if you loved it as much as I did, and whether or not it had anything new to teach you. Just as with last time, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post, in addition to your responses to the following questions:

1. The authors of this book assert that you can improve your business drastically even if you implement just a handful of the tips in this book. Which tips spoke to you the most, and why?

2. The first chapter of The Wealthy Freelancer (TWF) discusses what being a wealthy freelancer really means, and then challenges readers to explore what wealth means to them, and to write out their ideal day. What does wealth mean to you, and how close are you to really living your ideal day?

3. TWF touts the power of the buzz piece, and lays out what your buzz piece could possibly entail. Have you already created and launched your buzz piece? If so, how did it boost your sales. If not, let’s have a brainstorming party. What types of buzz pieces could benefit your business?

4. Secret 8 of TWF delves into the importance of focus, something I’ve struggled with myself. At times, I’ve tried to do too much, and I’ve had to take care to be sure that everything I was attempting was connected, and easy to convey to others. Do you have trouble answering the question What do you do? Is it time to start cutting items from your list of offerings? Are you trying to be indispensable to everyone? Assignment: Take a good, hard look at what you’re trying to do, and determine where you can trim the fat. Share the results in the comments below. 

5. For me, wealth means being able to pay the bills without having a panic attack every month. It means being able to work at a leisurely pace, and still have time for things like yoga, and Netflix, and lunch. It means being able to prioritize my health instead of burning myself out with an around-the-clock work schedule. The authors of TWF seem to agree that “a wealthy freelancer is a healthy freelancer.” What has kept you from achieving a healthy work-life balance? Which tips from Secret 10 (pages 191 – 194) could you implement now without freaking the eff out?

And finally, what else from TWF leapt out at you? What inspired you? What have you implemented already, and how has it worked for you?

Freelancedom Book Club: The Wealthy Freelancer

The very first session of the Freelancedom Book Club didn’t go as I’d hoped, but I saw it coming. As soon as I opened my copy of The It Factor and started reading, my first thought was : Oh crap. What have I done!? This man is insufferable!

But this month will be different. I promise you. I’ve already started reading my next pick — The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle – and it has me excited. Twenty-five pages in and I’m already 100 percent sure I’m going to love it.


Because it’s about so much more than inspiration, motivational speeches, and make-you-jealous case studies (though it has those, too).

Like all the best self-help books I’ve ever read, it contains concrete, step-by-step instructions for taking your freelance business to the next level.

Even better?

You don’t have to put every idea in this book into action in order to rock the house. Picking and choosing even a handful will (allegedly) make a huge difference to your business success.

And in case you don’t believe me, this book and its authors have already been championed among other freelancers I admire: Carol Tice. Thursday Bram. The folks at both FreelanceSwitch and Freelance Folder.

I’ve already started some of the exercises in the book, and I’d love it if you joined me. Come on, you guys. I’m already brewing a pot of coffee for our end-of-the-month book chat. Don’t make me drink it alone. (I totally will. I have a debilitating caffeine addiction.)

Freelancedom Book Club Discussion: The It Factor

When I chose The It Factor last month as our first book club book, I didn’t really expect to be so put off by it. The Amazon reviews were, for the most part, overwhelmingly positive, and its subject matter was one that — as an introvert with social anxiety — I couldn’t get enough of.

But the book  made me angry. Why? The author seemed to have little respect for the readers he was trying to help, blaming their inability to connect with other people on arrogance and laziness.

Is it just me? Is my resentment warranted? Am I just not the intended audience for this book?

Either way, I still felt as if the book contained a lot that was worth discussing. So without further adieu…

1. The author seems to believe that those reading his book suffer from an abundance or arrogance and laziness. He thinks we have a voice in our heads, telling us that what we have to say is worth its weight in gold. But I feel as if the opposite is true. I’m an introvert who loses energy quickly in social settings. I have social anxiety, which makes me feel awkward and self-conscious. And while I have no problem asking people about themselves, I have problems talking myself up, because I fear coming across as a sleazy self-promoter. I also worry about being boring. What do you struggle with when it comes to finding your own It Factor?

2. Wiskup writes that we should talk about the “why” (why does what I’m saying matter to the listener?) early and often, and this I agree with. In fact, I believe that knowing your “why” is the key to creating marketing copy that sells. Have you effectively pinned down your own “why”? How?

3. In Chapter 4, Wiskup writes about painting pictures with your words. I myself have found that using personal anecdotes, and peppering them with personal details, can help an audience connect to you and your message. How have you used storytelling for your freelance business? Do you hesitate to use personal anecdotes when it comes to your networking and copywriting? If so, why?

4. In Chapter 7, Wiskup gives step-by-step instructions for creating your own elevator pitch, and reminds us that “not every pitch is right for every elevator.” His instructions are useful, demystifying the process of putting together a good elevator pitch, and his advice to prepare many different pitches is spot-on. Using his instructions, put together at least one pitch of your own, and share it in the comments section below.

5. I was intrigued by Wiskup’s steps to successful small talk in Chapter 9. I know of many introverts who hate small talk, partly because it makes them uncomfortable, and partly because it feels so phone. But, as Wiskup writes, the best networkers know that small talk is “just a step in the connection process.” Do you feel comfortable with small talk? What did you think of Wiskup’s small talk technique? What has helped you become better at small talk?

And is there anything else that leaped out at you while reading this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Related: Freelancedom Book Club: The It Factor