Getting Your First Sale

On the Friday panel “Breaking In: How It’s Done,” a group of pros shared advice on how to make your first sale. While suggestions varied, panelists agreed that the growth of online social-networking has opened new possibilities.

There’s no denying we’re in the midst of a digital revolution. The percentage of ebook sales are growing each year, and some new authors are making a name for themselves by self-epublishing and using social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote their work. Publishing houses are taking notice of a prospective author’s online presence. Those who have a following in place may have an advantage.

But this road isn’t without potholes. Prolific author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, creator of the Saint-Germain series, warned of the danger of self-publishing online. “If you want to be a really good writer,” she said, “you need to go through the editorial process.” Author and agent Deidre Knight added, “Whatever you put out there should be your very best work.”

According to Debra Dixon, an acquiring editor for Belle Books, having a marketing platform in place when you submit your work can help. But it’s still important for an aspiring author to have a unique, authentic voice and to be willing to face rejection if it comes. Knight pointed out that if she loves a book, she’ll work with the author even if they don’t have an online presence.

Writing short stories can also help you break into the market. It’s important to network and to be polite. Everyone agreed, however, that there’s no substitute for a well-written tale.

Author of the article

Debbie Yutko lives near Atlanta with her husband and two cats. When she isn’t gardening, rescuing homeless kittens, or cramming math formulas into teenagers’ brains, she can be found stringing words together at her computer and dreaming of adventures in far-off lands. She is a lifelong reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy and a veteran of Dragon Con, where she enjoys attending panels and working with the talented staff of the Daily Dragon.

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