Who’s reading you?

One of the great stories of the publishing world has to be the one about how Tom Clancy was discovered. He was an insurance salesman who penned a manuscript entitled, “The Hunt for Red October,” about a Russian submarine captain who wants to defect to the U.S. Living in Annapolis, Maryland, he published it through the Navy’s press, which is located there. This was after many rejections from the traditional publishing houses. It was around Christmas time and someone put a copy of it under a very special Christmas tree. A few weeks went by and one young reporter saw a book tucked under then President Ronald Reagan’s arm as he strode out to the Marine One helicopter. “Mr. President, what book is that you’re reading?” the reporter asked. Reagan held it up telling the reporter that it was called The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy and that he’d received it as a Christmas gift. It’s “the perfect yarn,” Reagan was quoted as saying. “It’s unputdownable.”

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the “Rule of 250.” It’s the rule stating that the average person knows 250 people. Among those 250 people, you probably know someone that is influential or someone that works with or for someone influential. If you haven’t send them a signed copy of your book, you better be going to your local 99 cent store today for the bubble mailers (much cheaper than at the office supply stores) and use it to mail them a copy of your baby.

But even if you don’t know any Mr. or Mrs. Big Stuff, who says you can’t mail them a copy of your book anyway? Like any business, you as an authorpreneur need to realize some marketing expenses. Take 10 or 20 copies of your book, sign them, and send them out to local celebrities or influential business people. If it’s a book about current events, whether fiction or non-fiction, why not send a copy or two to some national news anchors or the show producers? Now, I don’t want you to land on any FBI watch lists, but you can even send one to the president and see what happens. At the very least, you may get a letter apologizing that he doesn’t have time to read it. But that letter will be on very cool stationary.

And who knows, you may just get discovered this way. Stranger things have happened. Just ask Tom Clancy.  

Thoughts? Comments? To the keyboards!


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Send him an email at mark@markfadden.com.  

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