Pigeons looking

Silent Pigeons Coo

When I agreed to write the memoir of a man who is deaf and blind but remains unbowed in his seventies I had little idea the book title, Silent Pigeons Coo, would work on a number of levels.  One example is that it echoes the plight of  writers who struggle to secure representation.

Silently Cooing

These are people who write and yearn to see their work published but find the doors to representation firmly bolted.  They are the unknown pigeons who silently coo.

If writing is their motivation, selling their work to an agent which is a highly skilled activity is a distraction. So, the easier answer is to self-publish. Easy at the start. One of the big hindrances is establishing provenance since virtually anyone can publish anything. Therefore if quality doesn’t hinder self-publishing how do readers separate the wheat from the chaff?  This was my concern.

I decided to bask in reflected glory and seek endorsements from people whose opinions carried some weight.  I sought those who would not want to tarnish their reputations supporting a book of dubious quality. My hope was that  one or two quality sources would provide confidence from similar sources and then I would seek to stimulate Word of Mouth (WoM) marketing.

My one indulgence was to approach a graphic designer with typesetting experience with publishers who would provide the necessary shelf appeal any book needs when stacked against dozens of loud competitors. The typography needed to be instantly easy on the eye. I remember the old ad agency argument to clients. ‘The quality of the advertising reflects the quality of the product’.  

In defence of agents and publishers they are not all buoyed by trust funds they can afford to burn. Book publishing is an incredibly competitive sector with more than 800,000 books published every year. So your proposed book will compete with around the 70,000 that will be published this month including more than 10,000 novels – every month.  Each book requires a marketing budget of around £25,000 if the title is to be taken seriously by booksellers. It’s understandable that agents and publishers will only focus on writers and new entrants who they deem to have the ingredients for success. Assuming you can maintain high writing standards how will you build a loyal readership?

Are you a new writer who secured representation or a silent pigeon struggling to break through the sound barrier? 

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