I’m about to put a new book on Amazon. The great thing about publishing books yourself is that you don’t have to box your book into a genre or sell it to an agent with an elevator pitch. The terrible thing about publishing books yourself is that by not having to pitch an agent or publisher, you might find yourself with something that’s also hard to pitch to readers. Can you describe it in 140 characters? Can you sell it to a captive audience during a short elevator ride?
What will you say when you hear the dreaded question: WHAT IS YOUR BOOK ABOUT?
My new book is called The Trade. It will probably appeal most to 15-17 year old girls. It’s set in a world like our own, pre-industrial. The main character, Jeba, begins the book as a slave, beading shoes. The problem is that I don’t want to give away any more than that!
Two themes in The Trade are beauty and sacrifice. Is that enough or do I have to tell you more? There’s a little bit of romance, but it’s not the main storyline. Is that enough? I wrote the book because I wondered “What would someone do if they found out that _______,” but I can’t tell you what’s in that blank without giving something away. Is that enough?
Am I confident that it’s a good book? I’m confident that the first ten pages are good, because they won a writing contest. As for the rest, it can’t be as bad as a few novels out there that managed to find a big publisher! (I won’t name names.)
It’s the worst thing in the world (okay, ALMOST the worst thing in the world) to have to tell people what your book is about. If I had enough money, I’d buy one for each of you so that you could find out for yourself. But I don’t have enough money, so I have to convince you to buy it. The Trade is about a slave, and it is about you. It is simple to read but deep in meaning if you take the time to contemplate. I love it, and I hope you will too.