Cynical Guide

How To Convince The Gatekeepers That Your Book Is A Potential Bestseller

Ever wonder why some books make it to bookstore shelves and some books sit on the author’s hard drive forever?

The secret isn’t the quality of the writing or storytelling. It’s not even ‘who you know.’ It’s all about one thing: Does the publishing industry believe your book has the potential to be a bestseller?

The Cynical Writer’s Guide to the Publishing Industry is a manual for playing on agents’ and editors’ preconceptions and expectations. It teaches you how to get the industry players excited about your book’s potential to become a bestseller. This isn’t about selling out or compromising your vision. It’s about generating excitement for the book you’ve written—and excitement, more than anything, determines which books get acquired and which don’t.

Here’s a smattering of what you’ll find:

On finding the right pitch for your book – “Ideally, your pitch should be quality-agnostic. You want a pitch that’ll excite people regardless of whether the book is good or is bad.”

On why editors don’t care about small profits – “…nobody’s paying close attention to the nuts-and-bolts of how an editor’s books perform. In fact, almost nobody in a house can tell you, off the top of their head, whether a given book has made or lost money for the company.”

On finding a market niche– “Unless there’s been a commercially successful book released in the past ten years that’s similar to your book, you’ll have a very hard time selling to a major publisher.”

On what veteran authors know – “[Unpublished authors] have no idea. They think they just need to ‘write better books.’ It’s only once you’ve published a book that you really understand the panicky, claustrophobic, fighting-for-the-last-lifeboat-off-the-Titanic quality of the publishing industry. This is a war of all against all, and if you survive for fifteen years, then you’ve done better than 99 percent of the people who started out with you.”

But more than anything, the Cynical Guide is about the times and places when you shouldn’t be cynical. This isn’t a book about writing a formulaic bestseller. It’s about melding innovation and insight to survive in a marketplace that can be hostile to authors and their careers.

Written by the author of two books out with major publishers, the Cynical Guide gives you the tools you’ll need to convince a big publisher that your manuscript is a can’t-miss opportunity.