Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marly Rusoff: Deal or No Deal?

Marly Rusoff: Deal or No Deal?

One of the most interesting anecdotes Marly told during her master class was that her father was a bookbinder. This helped her develop a "deep reverence for the notion of what a book could be." Not only did he rebind books, but he also went to courthouses to bind the documents and records there.

So naturally, she became very concerned as a child when she heard her father talking about "microfiche", and lay awake at night worrying about it. ;)

She owned her own bookstore before she became a literary agent, so she has a great empathy for authors and aspiring authors. There is some good news about the bad market right now, she says: It will pass.

Have patience.


Now is the time to hone your craft, to spend time polishing. It's the time to find value in the writing process, to learn to love the journey, all very practical advice.

If you're bothered about the future of reading in this country, get involved! With your local library, or small book store, or with future readers.

As for writing query letters, she wants to receive letters that surprise and excite her. If you've done your job as a query writer, you've shown her what market this book fits into, as well.

What should you as a writer look for in a literary agent? Someone with business sense, experience, whether in editing or marketing--having connections helps. Most important is that they feel comfortable talking about money and negotiating for you. They need to be willing to fight for you.

Once you have that agent and that book deal, you will probably need to take charge of your own publicity. This is the time for branding, and even "gimmicks"--temporary tattoos, bumper stickers, recipe cards--related to your new book. Look into book groups, speaking engagements at colleges where you may be provided with an honorarium, and book signings. All of these things might be easier/less expensive if you are part of a group of authors, or if you tour with another author whose book somehow relates to yours.

Of course, don't forget, blogging, social networking, sending out review copies, and creating book trailers.

Marly Rusoff accepts queries for literary fiction.

Oh, and don't forget today's Beta Club!


Stephanie Thornton said...

Thanks for sharing all this! I think patience and perseverance are two traits a writer absolutely has to have. This is a tough business!

BTW- I have the same blog background as you. :)

Susan R. Mills said...

Ah, patience and perseverance. That's what it's all about.

Joanne Brothwell said...

Patience, Perseverence and maybe Prayer?

Tere Kirkland said...

Marly has come to the TWLF before, when I was just getting back into writing, and she is a great public speaker and very warm and relaxed. She's the type of speaker who makes you feel like she's talking across a crowded to YOU specifically, and she's very knowledgeable. Anyone who's really ready to query their lit fiction should put Ms. Rusoff at the top of the list.

Steph, I love your Egyptology posts. And apparently we both have excellent taste--I chose this background because I liked how the light colored balls look like Mardi Gras beads. ;)

Susan, it was comforting to hear her say that now is the time to polish our writing, and to enjoy the journey. Sometimes I feel like everyone I "know" is getting agents and book deals, but their craft is obviously better than mine and I need to work to make it better.

I'm just grateful I work at a place where I was able to attend these classes for free (if they weren't SRO) and hear so many inspirational speakers, but you know, Susan, I learn just as much or more from your blog in an average month. So I just hope I was able to properly replicate the experience these master classes had on me with these posts.

Tere Kirkland said...

Joanne, I feel bad praying for a sucessful writing career, when there are so many more things that deserve my prayers more--the health of my family and friends, and people I don't know who are affected by natural disasters... but it doesn't mean I don't wish and wish for it every waking hour. ;)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Good tips and I like the positive tone.

Note to self: Have patience and persevere.

Got it. ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

"Love the journey." That is not only good advice for the writer but for life itself. I would like to waste less time fretting about stuff I can't control and enjoy what I can. Thanks!

Tamika: said...

I'm definitely throwing in prayer! Can't write any other way.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. There is a lot of good stuff packed in there, Tere. And I needed to hear most of it! Thanks, girl! :-)

Christina Farley said...

I really enjoyed these tips. Thanks for sharing.