Welcome to the Shark Tank

If you’re a writer trying to wrap your mind around the business end of publishing, you need to be watching ABC’s Shark Tank (Fridays at 8/7c.) The show has nothing to do with publishing. But it has everything to do with understanding exactly what you’re doing when you put your query or proposal in front of an agent, an editor or a publishing committee. You’re going into the shark tank.

The program features five venture capitalists looking for businesses in which to invest. The contestants are entrepreneurs with small businesses needing capital. Each contestant stands before the five “sharks,” pitches their business, specifies the amount of money they’re asking for, and what percentage of their business they’re offering for that investment. So a guy might ask for $65,000 in return for a 15% stake in in his business; or $150,000 in return for a 30% portion of the company. The sharks get to decide whether they want to invest in the business, and they’re free to negotiate any way they want.

I love this stuff! I’m constantly noticing all the ways the whole scenario resembles publishing. When you’re trying to take your art out of the personal realm of art and into the public realm of commerce, you’re just like these entrepreneurs asking for others to invest in them.

You’re asking a publisher to invest in you. You’re asking them to put their time and money on the line, to share the risk, and you’re also offering them the opportunity to share in the reward. (You’re asking an agent to do the same thing.)

The entrepreneurs who appear on this program seeking investors are, like you, creative people. Many of them are inventors of incredibly unique products. Most of them have spent years developing their product and their company. (Longer than many of you have spent writing a book.) They’ve also spent money, a LOT of money, to develop the business. Like you, they had an idea, and they worked hard to execute it. They’ve reached the point where they can’t go any further on their own. They need a partner. (Kind of like when you get your book written and need a publishing partner to take it to the next step.)

But once they make their pitch, you should see how the sharks grill them with questions! How many have you sold? Are you sure this is a good idea? Exactly who will buy this product? What are you doing to market this product? How will people get to know your name in this competitive market? What previous experience do you have in this business? How many hits do you get on your website? How can you possibly compete with the gigantic names that dominate this particular niche?

After the investors ask all their questions, they’ll either say “I’m out” or they’ll make an offer.

“You’ve done a fabulous job. But it’s a tiny market. I’m out.” (“Your book is terrific but the potential audience is too small for us. We’ll pass.”)

“This is strictly going to be catalog, direct mail, Internet sales. I’m out.” (“You may want to try self publishing or POD. We’ll pass.”)

“I just don’t think this is a good idea. I can’t see anyone buying it. I’m out.” (“Your book simply doesn’t appeal to us. We’ll pass.”)

“There are five big brands that dominate your category and I don’t see how you’re going to compete with them. I’m out.” (The genre you’re writing in is glutted, not to mention dominated by household names. We’ll pass.)

One of my favorite exit lines from a shark was: “It’s a unique idea but not an investable concept.” I see this problem with manuscripts, too. Countless unique ideas come across my desk, but trying to determine which are saleable and therefore, worth investing my time… that’s the trick.

What’s really fun on the show is when more than one shark makes an offer to invest in the entrepreneur’s company. They’ll play off one another and even compete; the entrepreneur can then negotiate a better deal. (Like an auction in publishing.)

Sadly, many of the entrepreneurs go home without an investor. The sharks tell them that this product on which they’ve spent all that time and all that money isn’t worth an investment.

Some of these people will go on to find a way to make their business a success without the sharks. Others will cut their losses, quit that business or that product, and go on to something else. Each person will find the path that’s right for them. But I have to think that the chutzpah that got them this far will keep serving them well.

I have to think the same about you, too. The guts and courage that makes you sit in that chair and pound out those pages word by word, day by day… it will serve you well, whatever happens.

Watch Shark Tank! I promise you’ll gain insights and maybe view this publishing journey differently.

Anybody watched it yet? Whether you have or haven’t, how do you approach the business aspects of publishing? Do you enjoy learning about it? Would you just as soon pretend it doesn’t exist? Tell us.

An earlier version of this post originally appeared when Shark Tank first premiered in 2009.

If you haven’t voted in the five questions on the sidebar, it’s not too late! Please do so before the polling ends. Thanks!

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!

53 Comments

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  4. Anonymous on April 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    >Love this show too. Too bad they don't tell us when the deals fall through. So many of them happen on the show, but don't actually ever happen after the sharks do their due diligence on these start-ups. Of course the contestants just say they got better offers because of their exposure, not wanting to ruin their press by admitting the shark withdrew the offer. Kind of ruins it for me when I see someone get a deal because that handshake doesn't necessarily mean a thing. Also, what's with all the sob stories and tears this year? Everyone seems to have one. I think it's manufactured (the producers trying to make it extreme home makeover) by making every contestant more desperate than they actually are.



  5. Rachelle on April 21, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    >Allison Williams: Great stuff! Would you please email me? Thanks!



  6. Allison Williams on April 21, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    >@Ishta Mercurio ("I only wish editors and agents would give even as much explanation as the entreprenuers get on the show…")

    I'm a Dragon's Den winner (the Canadian version). Bear in mind that the entrepreneurs you see on the show have already been through a process of application, audition, screening, and pre-show interview. The parallel might look like this:

    1) Entrepreneur with great idea applies to audition for Dragon's Den/Shark Tank. She fills out a five-page application and submits a video – vs – Author researches agents and sends out query letters.

    2) Entrepreneur gets accepted to audition – vs – Author gets a request for pages.

    3) Entrepreneur passes the audition and sends in a complete business plan (which the Sharks/Dragons never see, but it's a way to weed out the completely unprepared) – vs – Author gets request for whole ms.

    4) Entrepreneur does the show and gets a yes or a no with explanation – vs – Author's book is read and agent gives them a yes or a no with explanation.

    So the entrepreneurs that are getting more information have already passed several hurdles at which many others got a "no thanks" with no explanation, much like the query process.

    I won $250,000 for my business. But the part that was actually the most valuable was having to prepare the business plan. Walking in there, my partner and I felt that whether we got money or not, we were much readier to approach other investors after the show, having put serious thought and energy into our idea, beyond just "this is cool and people will like it!"

    For authors, especially but not only non-fiction authors, going through at least the basics of a business plan can be useful in focusing your work. Who will read this book? What other books is it like? What's my marketing plan?

    Is your book just a product like any other? Probably not. But you owe it to yourself and the beauty and importance of your work to think about who you want to reach and how you're going to reach them. It's not about being a best seller or writing something that appeals to everyone, but about knowing who your audience is. That way, you can say, hey, I want to be in 1000 airport book stores, shelved next to these three books that I'm in the realm of, or, I want to reach the 100 people who need this book to address this situation in their lives, and I'm going to reach them by personally handing them a copy of the book, or whatever your place is in between. But you won't know which one is a realistic and appropriate goal (and which agents and publishers are realistic and appropriate to query) without doing some research and thinking.

    By the way, Kevin and Robert from the Shark Tank panel are also on Canadian Dragon's Den. And when Kevin berates a contestant, and you're watching it at home, it's scary and funny. When Kevin does it to you personally, in the studio, it is one of the scariest and most intimidating things I've ever experienced (and I'm a professional fire-eater and trapeze artist, the idea I pitched was a circus show). I loved Dragon's Den, and after having been on it, I can't watch it any more!

    This is what we created with the money from investor W. Brett Wilson:

    http://www.standup8show/com/video



  7. Wendy Saxton on April 20, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    >I love this show! I'm also a fan of The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. I pay careful attention. Once in a while I'll turn to my husband and say, that team did a good job, but they won't win because they didn't focus on the product. I am constantly on the look-out for teachable moments in the business of "this is how I can make you money and support my cause."



  8. Terri Tiffany on April 20, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    >I love this show! I am always amazed at those who won't take some of the offered help, and won't give up more of their ownership. A little of something is better than nothing!



  9. catherinemjohnson on April 20, 2011 at 4:27 AM

    >I think I saw the Uk version once, it is a great analogy.

    It takes longer to make something totally original commercial that's for sure. I have tried to write with commercial in mind from the start, and my crit buddies never like those stories. The passion and flavour has to come first.



  10. Melissa Jagears on April 19, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    >I don't have tv, but I just watched an episode online. Oh my, I'm so glad I'll be on the other end of a email, snail mail, or phone call so when they say "no thanks" to my MS, I can hang up and cry. I'd hate to cry and embarrass myself in front of whoever it is that told me "absolutely not" when I'd just laid my heart out on the table as these reality tv people were doing.

    And glad that I didn't spend 2 million on one MS! I got several MSs to pitch, so I just gotta find the right one to start with. 🙂



  11. heartscape on April 19, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    >Great analogy! I'm setting my Tivo now! Thank you for the valuable insight.



  12. Naomi Rawlings on April 19, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    >Do publishers really say, "The genre you're writing in is glutted. We're not looking for more?"

    I keep hearing, "Write what sells. Publishers don't want that story you wrote that's set during the French Revolution. They want stuff set in the late nineteenth century US."

    So say I write the MS set during the late nineteenth century US. Then the publisher will tell me the sub genre is glutted and dominated by household names, so they're not willing to take the risk?

    If I can't write what sells, and I can't write what isn't selling, what am I supposed to write?



  13. Sarah Forgrave on April 19, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    >I've seen this show and love your comparison to the publishing world!

    As a former member of Corporate America and as the wife of an entrepreneur, I totally 'get' the business side of publishing. That's not to say that rejection doesn't stink. But I do tend to be pretty pragmatic about it. Just like my husband doesn't let one failed business idea keep him from dreaming up another, I don't let one "No" keep me from improving my craft and seeking a better story to write.

    Great post, Rachelle!



  14. Dana on April 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    >I love Shark Tank! My favorite contestants are the ones that hold their own with the investors. They are the investors favorites as well. They know their stuff. I get so uncomfortable watching the people that don't have answers for the investor's questions. You're right in comparing it to our writing/publishing world. I want to know my craft and have a good product to promote.



  15. leigh@leighdansey.com on April 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    >Dragon's Den is the UK version. I loved it. Sadly, only get reruns now.



  16. Kristin Laughtin on April 19, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    >I don't have TV service so I can't watch this show, but I think more writers need to start thinking about the business side earlier in their careers. There's nothing wrong about writing a beautiful novel for only yourself, but if you want other people to buy it…well, it has to be something people will want to buy. The publishing companies aren't cruel for not wanting to publish your beautiful manuscript with no audience; they're made of people who need to pay their bills and are going to look for something good AND saleable. It's the simple facts of life and applies to any business.



  17. jesse on April 19, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    >This is a very useful way of thinking about the industry side of the biz. Thanks.



  18. Beth on April 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    >Thanks for your post, Rachelle. I loved it because it brings the writers back to what is really at stake when they're sending out stories. It's not about them. It's not personal. It's all about the bottom line, because publishing is first and foremost a business. Publishers have to make money. If too many books don't bring in the money, they have to close their doors.



  19. Barbara Watson on April 19, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    >Every time I see this show, the contestants' bravery screams. And I want to run and hide as the sharks attack. When my querying time comes, I will put on the breastplate of bravery and prepare.



  20. Val on April 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    >Hi Timothy,

    While I completely respect your point of view I must disagree because perhaps my meaning was lost in my little diatribe. Let me clarify. There are very few original stories being sold but there are several being written and never read. Rehashes of formulaic stories are the norm now, a tried and true marketing strategy used to control and manipulate the consumer by taking one type of story and dressing it up to look different. Eye catching book covers in every fashion color with best seller stickers slapped on them. It doesn't take talent to be a best seller now. Occasionally a few talented writers like Sara Gruen with Water for Elephants will appear but by and large it's pulp fiction masquerading as something it isn't.

    I'm far from an elitist. I grew up stinking dirt poor but writers like Steinbeck, Dickens, Woolf, Twain,Plath etc, taught me to think about my circumstances by telling me a fantastic story that took me somewhere else. It's sad to think that there are very few writers of their caliber who will be given the opportunity to fill that void simply because they inspire free thinking.



  21. Dina Santorelli on April 19, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    >I have never watched SHARK TANK, but I can definitely see the similarities between the show and the publishing industry, as you describe them. I am an aspiring novelist, working on my second book, and find the business of publishing fascinating. I'm looking forward to the day when a publisher "makes the offer to invest" in my "company." 🙂



  22. Kristy K on April 19, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    >We love Shark Tank! My 9-year-old has been able to call almost all of the outcomes… whether the person will be sent home or will be given money.

    I never considered myself to be like those poor inventors, but now that you mention it, I am SO MUCH like them that's it's scary. Sometimes I wonder if I could ever hold my own if someone asked me to really prove WHY my book should be published. I guess time will tell.



  23. Cynthia Herron on April 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    >Hi, Rachelle,

    I haven't watched this show, but it sounds interesting.

    Wish we didn't have to approach writing as a "business" but realize, too, that's a big key to success. To learn, understand, and then implement is a great stragegy applicable to just about anything in life!



  24. Laila Knight on April 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    >Yes, I have watched that show. It makes me want to go harpooning. It's a great comparison. Publishing is a business, and we are dangling bait and hoping it appeals to the sharks.



  25. Melody Valadez on April 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    >I love this show! Haven't watched it since the first season, though. Good job tying it to the publishing industry; great analogy! 🙂



  26. Timothy Fish on April 19, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    >Val,
    There are always been people who want to read the “gourmet” books that awe them with their well crafted prose and that make them think, but the fact is that most people just want a good story. If more people wanted the “better” books, I figure it would make the book connoisseurs very unhappy because they couldn’t talk about these obscure novels that are supposed to be better than everything else. There’s a place for the caviar and snails of the book world, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for other people to want a hardy meal of meat and potatoes.



  27. Sharon A. Lavy on April 19, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    >I am an unashamed fan of James Patterson. Loved his series about the bird children. I got the first one free for my Kindle, got hooked and had to buy all the rest.

    I could never write si-fi or whatever genre this series is, but I liked the way he wrote it.



  28. Shelly Goodman Wright on April 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    >I think writers/authors should see the business as just that, a business, if you want to outshine the competition. 🙂



  29. Val on April 19, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    >The business end of publishing is important but when there is an imbalance and the money people are in charge of judging the worth of a book based on a bottom line profit margin, standards plummet.

    We now have a sound bite generation thanks to these people and the mental fast food that passes for quality literature makes me weep. People are allowing themselves to be dumbed down by what is being churned out. It's a little like trying to pass off a Big Mac as gourmet meal. It tastes good, people will become addicted because it's easier but it will make you fat and destroy your body if it becomes your only source of sustenance. The same can be said for far too many books that people buy in heaps; a quick and readable fix with absolutely no substance that is merely a rehash of the book beside it by another 'popular' author, but with a different setting and new character names. One dimensional trash.

    Society needs to get off the Big Mac addiction and bad book addiction or we'll all be so fat and stupid that we will become incapable of getting off the sofa or formulating a complete thought.

    I've worked in industries that were commerce based and there is NO creativity in money making. NO room for the type of progressive or innovative thinking that pushes the human race forward. It is about supply and demand and if you want a constant and healthy demand for your product you must 'train' your buying public to buy what you can produce cheaply, thus fattening your profit margins. You do it through clever marketing and a lack of other options for the consumer. Based on this, it should come as no surprise that one of the biggest selling authors, James Patterson has a background in advertising. This is a perfect example of the souless approach to literature. It is a mammoth devouring the art form and if we aren't careful we'll be dragging our knuckles to the nearest cave, grunting, scratching ourselves in the wrong places while clutching our hot off the presses copy of some assembly line drivel that looks like a book and it will probably have James Patterson's name on it.



  30. Patricia Raybon on April 19, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    >Love your analogy, Rachelle. Reminds us that publishing, in the end, is a business. We writers forget that at our peril.



  31. Richard Mabry on April 19, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    >This is one of our favorite shows. Another analogy that can be made is with how the contestants value their product. They ask for $100K for a 20% stake, which means they think their enterprise is worth half a million dollars, yet their sales and potential don't add up.

    Unpublished authors shouldn't expect a huge up-front advance when there's no track record to assure a publisher they'll recoup their investment. Or if they're previously published and sales haven't been great, it's unrealistic to expect the publisher to ignore that when offering an advance.

    Anyway, thanks for telling your readers about the show. We love it.



  32. Timothy Fish on April 19, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    >I can see the similarities, but I haven’t watched the show. It’s interesting that this show originated in Japan before they began producing versions of it in the UK and the USA as well as other countries.

    I have a pretty firm grasp of the business side of publishing, but I find that I would rather ignore it. The thing is, I have a good day job that I enjoy most of the time. I can’t write about that because the company owns that stuff. And I have no desire to write about that stuff because I need time away from it. Then there’s the church stuff and that’s important. I can write about that stuff and sometimes do, but I struggle with taking time away from doing those things that directly fulfill the Great Commission by turning more of my attention to activities that are more about selling books. I realize books play a part in the fulfillment of the Great Commission and I realize that it is honorable to help people who work for publishers make a living, but it’s hard to convince myself that my books are more effective than touching people’s lives personally.

    But I am able to touch people’s lives through my writing, so I continue to do it, even though don’t want it to reach the point that it takes away from the more important things. So, I tend to ignore the business side because I’m not going to do all the stuff publishers would like for me to do in order to drum up readers. I’ll gladly leave my publishing success in the hands of God. If he wants me to be successful in publishing, so be it, but it not, I’m okay with that too. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing the stuff I think he would rather I would be doing.



  33. Angie Mizzell on April 19, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    >I love that show. This post reminds me of when I was in my first TV job, producing the 11pm newscast. The producer who trained me said, "Whatever decision you make, you need to be able to back it up." She warned me that the news director may come barging into the control room, shouting at me for dropping a story or whatever. She said, "Own your choice, and he'll respect you. Even if he disagrees." So this is a reminder to own my story. And be able to "back it up."



  34. Karyn on April 19, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    >I knew this in theory (the way agents/editors hunt for projects) but you paint a vivid picture of reality. It's discouraging. I know I should be thinking "My book will be the one to make it through!" And on some days I do think that. But today it's raining (again), the only noise in the house is the refrigerator's dispassionate hum, and I'm slogging away at my computer.

    Oh well. I'm going to pour another cup of coffee and dive back in. 🙂 Because although there must be a dash of luck involved, it's the product that gets you to yes.

    I hope.



  35. Olivia Newport on April 19, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    >I have not seen the show since the new season started recently but I used to watch last year. What struck me was how many entrepreneurs came in with an inflated value of their product. They would ask for huge money and offer a small percentage of the company in return–completely overvaluing the company. And then they would not negotiate. That led to a lot of passes. It made me think about authors who try to play hard ball with a nerf ball. Who is out then?



  36. Darke Conteur on April 19, 2011 at 6:51 AM

    >Yes! Yes! Yes!

    CBC has this show too, (Dragon's Den) and every time I read a query on Query Sharks' blog, I always hear Mr. O'Leary's voice asking "How can I make money off this?"



  37. james on April 19, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    >If you truly want to write, throw a brick through your TV.



  38. Sue Harrison on April 19, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    >I think about the publishers and the marketing angle when I develop the first concepts and storylines of my novel. Then I purposely don't think about those things while I write the story. One of my rewrites is dedicated to the "who will buy this" idea, and when the ms is polished I begin marketing. I get excited about the "shopping process" but also frightened. A great agent is the key!



  39. Sharon A. Lavy on April 19, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    >We don't own a tv. But that show does sound interesting.

    I am interested in learning about the publishing industry, and I appreciate your posts and your instruction very much.



  40. Juliette on April 19, 2011 at 6:22 AM

    >I watch the UK version, Dragons's Den, and it is really helpful in working out the business side of things – I've used pearls of wisdom from it to help price my Mum's art work as well! 🙂



  41. Heather Webb on April 19, 2011 at 6:12 AM

    >Great analogy, Rachelle. When I stepped into the writer's world, I had no idea what I was getting into- business piece included. I've been doing my homework and luckily, I enjoy a challenge. With guns loaded, I'm ready to tackle the next part of the great "quest for publishing" adventure.

    I love your theory that chutzpah will serve a person well. It's guts and heart that change the world!

    Bring it on! 🙂



  42. Janet Oberholtzer on April 19, 2011 at 4:52 AM

    >Love that show!

    I find the risks that the contestants take invigorating … (well, most of them, there's been a few contestants that drove me crazy)

    I'm hoping their courage stays with me as I get ready to pitch my memoir soon.



  43. Jackie on April 19, 2011 at 3:51 AM

    >It's heartening though that occasionally even the big powerful dragons (I too watch UK Dragons'Den)get it spectacularly wrong. The entrepreneur who came up with the concept of sit-on-and-ride children's suitcases in the shape of animals, couldn't get an investor on the den. And anyone who's ever been through an airport knows the sequel to that one!



  44. Rosemary Gemmell on April 19, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    >That's obviously the American version of the UK Dragon's Den (with different entrepreneurs). My husband and I watch our version each year. We're full of admiration for some of the ideas, cringe when some are given a reality check and applaud when someone gets the deal they're looking for. But we know the hard work is just beginning.

    Now why didn't I see the analogy with the writing and publishing world? Very similar! And it's good to be aware of it.



  45. Melissa on April 19, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    >Oh, goodness — stop! This blog is making me want to run and hide under my desk, LOL! It doesn’t help that I caught up on my blog reading over the weekend, and apparently, anyone who pursues traditional publishing is “dense.”

    ::headdesk::

    This will be me: "You've done a fabulous job. But it's a tiny market. I'm out." I’ve already researched and informally surveyed the market (thank you, grad school!) and know the pool of female readers I can potentially reach. It is, however, a strong niche, and it’s projected to grow in the coming decade. This demographic has distinctive characteristics that make them very easy to write to. Instinctively, I believe I’d do quite well if I either self-published or went with a smaller publisher.



  46. Anonymous on April 19, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    >This is such a rip off of the bbc show dragon's den.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dragonsden/

    If you haven't seen this show on BBC America, I suggest checking it out.



  47. Donna Hole on April 19, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    >I like the analogy of the Shark Tank. It does seem a lot like the publishing busineess.

    …..dhole



  48. Andrew on April 19, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    >No thanks! While I appreciate knowing how the business works, if I dwell on it I'll start writing with certain agents (or publishers) as my target audience…but I'll always be a few months behind the trends.

    No.

    I'm going to write the best stories possible – the kind that I'd like to read.



  49. Michael Offutt on April 19, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    >Absolutely great comparison that you've got here. I saw an episode where this guy had an idea to create some nose plug filters that would cover the nostrils instead of the whole face (similar to a mask to filter out bacteria). He pitched it to the sharks and came ready with a multi-million dollar proof of sale for his idea to the United Arab Emirates and bam…he got heavily invested in.

    The thing I took from the show is that you should already have your sale, you should already have a finished product that people want, and just need that extra ummph to make it a home run that only deep pockets can provide.

    So if the comparison holds true in publishing, the author (like me) should already have basically sales in the bag from people that want the product. Hence the importance of marketing and establishing name recognition and platform way prior to the querying process.



  50. Tana Adams on April 19, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    >I've seen this show before, but not recently. I remember it was heartbreaking at times and heartwarming.



  51. Bryce Daniels on April 19, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    >I have no problem with the marketing/business side of the industry. Seems an odd statement coming from me, a newbie in the social media arena. I understand why publishers would want a writer to have a platform, a head start in the promotions of their products. So I'll pay my dues. My problem is this trend towards e-publishing.

    To use the Shark Tank program as an analogy: A person walks in with a great product, has a few stores up and running, and now needs help going national or global. Big dreams, right? He or she negotiates a deal with one of the sharks, who can't wait for the credits to roll so they can start building this same dream.

    Suddenly, in walks some stranger. "You know what," he says. "I don't need you. "I'll sell my product for a buck. Heck, I might just give it away!"

    So then it comes down to the product itself, right? And that brings me back to where I THINK I should be. Worrying about syntax and grammar, making sure I deliver a good story, leaving my readers with an experience they will remember.

    I'm confused. Heck, I'm scared.



  52. Ishta Mercurio on April 18, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    >I have watched Shark Tank, and I think it's fascinating. Writers have a lot to learn from it in seeing how the entrepreneurs choose to pitch themselves and their work, and in seeing how resilient you have to be in any business in which you aren't the only one producing the goods.

    I only wish editors and agents would give even as much explanation as the entrepreneurs get on the show. So often, the only part we get is the part that goes, "We'll pass," without the one-sentence explanation that precedes it in your examples.



  53. Janet on April 18, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    >Sounds like a show I used to watch a few years ago called "Dragon's Den". I think it was on Channel 7. You're right, compulsive viewing!



I love words.

I love books and publishing and talking incessantly about them.

I love authors and all the intricacies of managing a writing life.

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