Kim Weiss Publishing Services

The Element of Magic

June 13, 2009 at 7:08 am

Ok, so I was daydreaming on my couch about my next post. I went from the proverbial platform chatter to the element of magic.

Although I’ve forewarned you about my predeliction for speaking “platform” I was moved by the grace of a sea hawk flying outside my window. I quickly ran onto my terrace to watch the brown and white speckled bird who kindly made a u turn towards my building.

You see, I’m a bit of a “sign watcher,”  a little superstitious if not down right woo woo! Somewhere along the line I adopted the sea hawk aka osprey as my power bird. The decision was made. Magic, it is.

Where does magic fit into the world of publishing and books, you ask? Why, it fits into the place where you’d expect magic to reside. It’s exactly where you left it the last time you saw it.  Neatly tucked into that place you can’t know, control or define. After all, it’s magic!

Enough of this circular conversation. Here’s how it goes. You develop a concept for a book. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, there will come a time for it to greet the marketplace.

You’ve read all the books, been to all the seminars, learned from the so-called publishing gurus, hired the world’s very best marketeers and publicists.  You’ve left no stone unturned in your quest for a New York Times bestseller. Or at least USA Today. E-blasts, radio satellite tours, reviews, interviews on the news, billboards even.

Like the osprey flying over my apartment building, you throw your bird of a book into the sky. Will it plunge to its messy death fifteen stories down or will it make like a sea hawk and soar?

Here’s the magic part. Readers have to like it. Plain and simple. They have to “vote” for your book by purchasing it for themselves. For their friends and family.This has to happen for it to sell.

Magic, in this case morphs into word of mouth. That single desirable element that everyone wishes they could bottle. All will tell you that you can’t buy it. All are in awe of it. Sure, you can help it along by utilizing the tools of the trade, make it more easily accessible by things like great distribution and exposure largely due to your PLATFORM.

But, in the end, it’s the people who decide. Hence, the real secret, I believe, in the success of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I was there. It was a runaway train. Nothing could stop it. Sure, there were a lot of talented folks behind the scenes. The people embraced it and history was made.

Some might say that the other manifestation of magic begins with the letter “O” but very few titles get to enjoy that opportunity. And, believe it or not, I have seen books mentioned on the magic show that didn’t go very far. Not often. But now and again.

So, if I were to try and advise you on how to attract magic to your work of art (yes, I’m hoping that’s what it is) I would insist that you fill your manuscript with your own magic. Believe in it. GIve it your all. Speak in your true voice. Remember all the “love of writing” stuff I said before. And, if there’s anything to this “like attracts like” thing, you may just have a shot.

Good luck. More on magic, I promise.

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