Mark Terry

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hot Money, a little marketing history

October 7, 2010
As I mentioned yesterday, I e-published Hot Money, which features Austin Davis, a political consultant. The book itself sort of resembles a PI novel with a first-person narrative, and in many ways I think of Austin as a PI whose clients just happen to be U.S. senators and representatives. Austin is many things, including intelligent, articulate, funny, arrogant, wry, a clothes horse, an appreciator of fine wine and fine foods, manipulative, tough, charming...

Anyway, when I wrote Hot Money I sent it off to my former agent, who loved it. And in a way that wasn't always the case, she marketed it quite aggressively. We got many very positive rejections, the most telling from an editor at Kensington who wanted to publish it, but when it went to the marketing department they said they felt it was too much of a caper novel and they had not had much success with caper novels (probably, one rather bitterly might muse, because they've decided ahead of time that they'll fail, so they don't market them; or publish them).

Around the same time, we put an announcement in Publishers' Lunch about one of the Derek Stillwater novels and/or contracts. These almost always resulted in film agents and/or scouts contacting my agent to read manuscripts. One of them asked to see that manuscript, and my agent mentioned Hot Money. The film agent loved Hot Money. Wait, wait, wait... back up.

She wasn't an agent. She was a strange Hollywood mix, a sort of itinerant producer. She would find projects she like, then take them to studios and/or production companies and try to get approval and funding to develop projects. And yes, she did have a track record. Anyway, she loved Hot Money and went to her contacts at various studios or production companies and tried to generate some interest.

What happened was fairly common with Hollywood (in my experience), which is they invariably got all excited about it for about 10 minutes, promised to read it RIGHT THIS WEEKEND, and then they disappeared into the gaping maw of Los Angeles never to be heard from again. But Hot Money did get shopped around and it did get read, often favorably, although to me "I really love it" in Hollywood is as common as "does not meet our needs" in New York. In Hollywood I'm inclined to believe that the only "I really love it" that matters is a signed check that doesn't bounce. That may be true in New York or elsewhere as well, but the LA crowd seems like the most disingenuous bunch on the planet, for whatever reason.

Anyway, somewhere in there my agent developed (or had) a relationship with another supposedly hotshot Hollywood agent, this one with a very serious track record. She showed him Hot Money, he liked it a lot and agreed to shop it around some ... until he discovered the deal with the producer, which is when he sort of blew up and cc'ed me in on his rant at my agent where he, among other things, accused her of being unprofessional, one of the key terms being "amateur hour."

Moving on a while later, I pressured my agent to come up with more markets for Hot Money. I suggested a couple. She sent them off, to no avail. At least, she said she did. At one point I got rather testy about this because several months would go by and she would not hear anything back from the editors and she told me she'd emailed them, but they had not responded. To which I suggested there was an interesting device called a "p-h-o-n-e" that was far harder to ignore, although why I should be teaching my...

Anyway, I digress. Again, we got some nibbles, but no bites. I spoke with my editor at my current publishing house about possibly them taking a look at it with the potential for it being published under a pseudonym. After my editor discussed it with the publisher (they had not read the manuscript), they decided they weren't a big enough publisher to be expanding in that fashion (take that any way you want, but I know they publish 2 series by at least one author and told me there were some difficulties in the marketplace with confusing the two...). She'd love to read it, etc., but they had no intention of publishing it, so I didn't bother.

At which point I decided to put it up on Kindle.


Blogger Linda Pendleton said...

Kindle is probably the best place for it ... and in having it there you don't have to play the games of NY or Hollywood.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Either that or in a drawer.

12:05 PM  

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