My Wednesday posts have been about marketing for the past couple of months. Since my own marketing is currently on hold while I punch up the first part of my book (the better to appeal to potential agents), “marketing” is, at the moment, equating to “rewriting” in my mind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about presentation – not in terms of query letters or synopsis writing this time – but in terms of sample material: the first 50 pages of the book, and even more vitally, the first 5 pages. Don’t get me wrong; my ego hasn’t failed me entirely. I think the first 50 pages of my book is good material. But from an objective point of view, if I didn’t know the rest of the book or what was coming next, I can see that it doesn’t look like the book it later becomes. It looks like a different kind of book entirely, and if my query letter promised something that sparked an agent’s interest, and then the opening wasn’t what they expected based on my query, it makes sense that they’d turn the book down.
It’s sort of like how gourmet meals are “all about the presentation”. If you’re going to serve an Italian main course, for example, then maybe a German appetizer isn’t going to give your clientele the right impression about what’s coming next. Maybe if your thing is eclectic world fusion cuisine, you should present that from the very first dish, no matter how good that Spanish tapas dish might be as a starter course.
So it is with writing. The flavor doesn’t have to be identical all the way through (how boring would that be, in a 5-course meal or in a novel?), but it should have some consistent elements right from the start.