Last week I had two job interviews in one day. Why I scheduled it that way, I could not tell you. Anyhow, I survived and on the drive home I got to thinking: I just had to sell myself and my capabilities to several people in under an hour each. I say several because one of the interviews consisted of a panel. All of them had copies of my technical resume listing my skills and accomplishments. However, what I put on paper alone could never guarantee me a job. Interviews are still a vital part of the hiring process because good interaction is what seals the deal. The same is true for professional writing.
Since my whole life revolves around thinking about all things written I started to analyze why it is so important to be able to sell yourself as a writer. Every query letter, every synopsis of your latest novel, every ‘elevator spiel’ is you selling yourself for potential literary gain. A query letter is a single page informal resume in which you need to hook the reader immediately. What sets your novel apart from the rest? What qualifies you to write about this subject? What is your target demographic? A synopsis is a detailed play by play of each segment or chapter in your book. It needs to be organized and succinct; a clear outline of what happens in your book. And then there is the elevator spiel: giving a brief overview of your book in under two minutes, about the time of an elevator ride.
Because I love you all and because I am learning and sharing as I go, I plan to devote time to detailing each of these aspects of selling yourself in the near future. My first piece of advice in this series is to believe in yourself. Be very well acquainted with what you have to offer and why the ‘buyer’ has got to have it. It’s easy to sell a product you stand behind wholeheartedly.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I got the job.
- When You’re Afraid, Do It Anyway (faithsimone.com)
- “How do I write a query letter?” Notes from the Chicago Writer’s Conference, Part 5 (bostonwriters.wordpress.com)
- Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Off to Querying I Go… (princessofthelight.wordpress.com)
- Are You Selling What I’m Buying? (katherinecerulean.com)