Progress Report #88

I’ve been reluctant to admit it, but I’ve been a little lost in the wilderness with this last draft. I’ve been needing to put together a package that I can use to hunt for a publisher, but haven’t been sure how to go about it. Business and a knack for self-hype are not among my stronger qualities. I once gave a reading at a Barnes and Noble, and the woman who handled the readings pulled me aside to tell me that my book was good, but I needed to put some effort into “establishing my brand.” I was shocked and embarrassed to find myself on the receiving end of that. I thought she was clueless. She didn’t get it all.

Well, I have an agent now and I met with her yesterday. It was a good meeting and I know what I need to do to get back on track. She has high literary standards—that is, she’s a literary agent, not a book agent. So I have a direction and guidance. I start the truly hard work Monday. This book will be finished one day.

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13 Responses to “Progress Report #88”

  1. rainnnn Says:

    Good luck with it. I’ve been told of the brand thing also for publishing and it is tough. It’s done through things like facebook, twitter and blogs like this one. It’s not what a writer wants to do.

    • markbittner Says:

      I’m told that the new buzz word is “platform.” What’s your platform? You gotta have a platform. It turns out that I have one. My previous book and the film. They will be regarded as a good platform. But this kind of thing arises only when literature has devolved to the point that ours has. One reason books aren’t doing well is because they are putting out books that they hope can compete with other forms of entertainment. But books are hard work. They’re not meant to be entertainment. Enjoyable, yes. But not “entertaining.” Their joys are more hard won.

  2. rainnnn Says:

    Of course, that depends on the type of book as some are just for entertainment, some to teach, some to inspire. The goal of writers though is to write something that enhances the readers’ lives whatever the type of book. I know your work with the parrots enhanced mine and frankly I like your blog with bits of what you are experiencing but for me it’s richest when you speak to nature. I hadn’t heard of the platform idea but that might be more for those like you with previous work and maybe then the goal is building upon that? Brand is the word I’ve seen used so often but that does limit a writer to one genre of work and when they move into a different one, it’s starting all over… Happens to painters too with the limitation on where creativity is supposed to go, the box it’s supposed to be in.

  3. Tim Mueller Says:

    How timely! This article about “branding” yourself was posted a couple of days ago…
    http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/walters_07_13.php

    I’ll have to read it myself…

  4. joe Says:

    Good for you! Booyah! Hopefully your agent’s not “too” literary (academic/snobby) but often “literary’s” are far more willing to defend/promote their authors as they Are…don’t be afraid to use your “outsider” status,after all,that’s what you are in the present social/economic context,in fact,it may be very well timed given that people are once again considering the “old” low-tech ways of living/sustainable thinking/questioning bling! Best of luck,Godspeed,you’re almost home! 😉

  5. joe Says:

    P.S. (allan) Ginsberg would be proud! (I’ll bet he’s smiling down on you from nirvana,a great big joyfull belly laugh accompanying!) 😉

    • markbittner Says:

      He stopped to listen to me sing once when I was singing on the street. I think that story will be in the book.

    • Tim Mueller Says:

      Hopefully, you were singing something from “Astral Weeks”…

    • markbittner Says:

      Actually, it was a song from “John Wesley Harding.”

  6. Tim Mueller Says:

    Amazing what we can remember from so long ago. (And what we can’t remember from two hours ago…)

  7. Margaret Benbow Says:

    Mark, you were fortunate that Ginsberg just stopped to admire your singing! In Patti Smith’s book, Just Kids, she describes how Allen Ginsberg introduced himself and kindly bought her a meal, when she was a hungry waif on the streets. It turned out he’d thought she was an unusually pretty boy. He was a good sport about it.

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