Friday, April 15, 2011

Take the GRRWG Challenge

by Tanya Eby

author of "Pepper Wellington and the Case of the Missing Sausage"


Recently, I attended a conference in New York called the Algonkian Pitch and Shop. Basically, it was a four day conference where we worked on a one minute pitch (description) of our novel. Then we got to meet with four editors and try to get them interested enough in reading more of the novel.

It was exhausting, brutal, exhilarating, and disappointing. In other words, another average day in a writer’s life.

A few things I learned at the conference:

1. A pitch is like the back cover of a novel. Work on it. It will be your main tool for marketing and querying agents and editors.

2. Publishers want authors with an established platform. That means they want writers who blog, have a following on Facebook and/or Twitter and are actively producing work. First time writers do get published, but they’re more impressed if you come in with some kind of following. A blog is an essential tool to a writer.

3. The days of a publishing house promoting you are gone. Every writer has to promote herself. This means you need confidence and a healthy dash of cockiness too. (I have one of those.)

I got two bites on my manuscript but I have no idea if it’ll work. Because I also realized that there are thousands of writers out there. Everyone has a book and everyone thinks theirs is a best seller. It’s an hard market to bust into if you’re looking for a mainstream publishing contract.


The thing that struck me the most, though, was that it is possible. It’s possible to get published and build a following. But you can’t do it alone. Let me repeat that: YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE. You need friends, people who read your work, talk about your work, promote your work to others. Get enough people loving your work and publishers will eventually follow.

So. I’m doing my part now by supporting my friends who are writers. It’s a karma thing…but it’s more than that. I want people I know who are talented to be successful. And I’m hoping if I read and promote their work, they’ll read and prmote mine, and all of our ‘reading circles’ will get just a little bit fatter.

I just bought a Kindle and have added three books from our group to my lineup. Here’s the lineup so far:

“Immortal Curse” by Bronwyn Green

“Sucker for a Hot Rod” by Joselyn Vaughn

“Punished” by Brynn Paulin

I’ll be adding more titles as funds allow.


My challenge to you is to purchase and read one book from a writer in our group. Just one. Then tell your friends about it. Blog about it. Facebook it. Tweet it. Whatever. And if you’re not in our group but read the blog, I invite you to take on the challenge too. As a group, we help encourage each other and hold each other accountable. Now let’s also move to promoting each other.

If we’re loud enough, eventually, those publishers in New York will listen. New Yorkers don’t respond well to whispers. They like shouting, preferably with a little profanity thrown in.


(visit me on for more blogs and to read my reviews of our GRRWG writers.)


WS Gager said...

Tonya: You are right on the money. You can't do this in your vacuum. The day of the reclusive writer is gone. If you can't be found on the internet, blogging and other activities, buyers can't find you. I hope you will add a Mitch Malone Mystery to your list soon. I need to get yours on my kindle. I've had it since Christmas but only now starting to buy books and figure it out. I'm old, it takes me longer. My fingers are crossed for your manuscripts out there in the mile-high slush piles waiting to be read.
W.S. Gager

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post, Tanya. I agree that talking about books after reading them is so important. The dream for every writer is that their story will go viral. We can definitely support our fellow authors by blogging, tweeting and FBing about the books we've read.

Thanks for the suggestion/challenge!

Joselyn Vaughn said...

I've been trying to read at least one book by each of the GRRWG authors, but I need to do more with posting reviews. We all need the support. :-)

Bronwyn Green said...

Tanya, have I told you lately that you're brilliant? Because you totally are!

Also, thank you!!!

(I've got my copies of Blunder Woman and Pepper Wellington. Now to find time to sit and read!)

Tanya Eby said...

Thanks guys! And thanks for joining me in the challenge.

Wendy and Suzanne, I'll put you next on the list. I'm going to commit to one member book per month. It's hard to find time to do all the things I want, all the reading, writing, etc. But one book per month I can handle. :)

And I think it makes our group stronger to know each other's 'voices' as well as our faces. Know what I mean?

J.C. Hanks said...

Love the challenge! And I do need to get reading my fellow writer's books.

Does anyone have a good cloning device? I need either another one of me or many more hours in the day. Winning the lotto wouldn't hurt either. :)

Mike said...

I just found this group and I am a new author and I just completed my rough manuscript and I have trying to find a group to gain insight. I live in Belmont/Rockford Michigan area.. please advise me to a group or insight
thanks so much for any info
Mike Mudgett