Profile of a Risk Taker

Writers are risk takers to pursue their dreams of publication. They invest hours in shaping their idea (or they should) into a book proposal and sample chapters. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, they write the concept from their minds into print, then send it to the editors and literary agents.

Publishers are also risk takers. If you don’t believe me, just take a quick look at this publishing quiz from Putting Your Passion Into Print which I posted almost a year ago. [If you wonder how I remember such things, I don’t. Use the google search engine tool in the right-hand column.]

One of the publishing community’s risk takers is Judith Regan. I alluded to her in my last post. Several years ago, I was sitting in the office of a New York City literary agent and she told me a story about Judith Regan. This agent had shopped a proposal from a leader in the skateboard community named Tony Hawk (before the huge popularity of his video games). The agent presented the proposal simultaneously to a number of publishing houses. Each of these publishers rejected the proposal–except Judith Regan. She understood the vision for the book as well as the risk. Regan Books published this book and I recall the agent telling me this title sold over 100,000 copies.

There are strong feelings about Judith Regan and how she operated in the publishing world. Just look at this article in Vanity Fair from two years ago if you don’t believe me. In this post, I wanted to point out this recent profile from New York Magazine about Regan. It’s another perspective about this risk taker.

Today writers will pitch many different ideas into the editorial and agent offices around the country. How are you positioning your pitch? Is it exactly on the target for a particular magazine or a particular publisher? Or will it be outside the range of what they publish? My encouragement is to polish your submission before you make this pitch into excellence. If you’ve worked hard on the craft of your writing and your persuasive language, it will lower the risk and gain a fair hearing.

2 Responses to “Profile of a Risk Taker”

  1. Ron Estrada Says:

    The pitch and subsequent proposal are almost as much an art as the writing itself. I’m amazed when I read about authors who work so hard on a project, then spend all of a day or two on the proposal. There’s too much at stake to take any part of this process lightly. A writer has to be a salesman. Maybe it’s not as glamorous as the creative side, but without it we’ll never have an audience.

  2. Bonnie Calhoun Says:

    Writing a pitch and a proposal are as important, and on the same level as writing a resume.

    You put in the pertinent info for the placement you are seeking. In other words, you don’t send your credentials and ideas on art to a cooking magazine! LOL!

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