"For Sale By Owner - As Is"
If you watch Home and Garden TV (HGTV) for any length of time, you will eventually see a program that involves getting homes ready to sell. You'll see real estate agents walk through the sellers house and point out what's wrong and what's right. The home owners are advised to change this and remove that and those comments can sting. I’ve noticed how some folks are kinda hurt by the comments, but real estate agents, truthfully, are not thinking about what the owners think. They are thinking of what buyers look for, and what needs to be done to make this particular house sell. That's their job - listen to them.
The owners who do the work and successfully sell by the end of the show. They admit surprise at how much better the place looks with only a few changes. If you’ve ever gone through the experience of selling your home, you know the hard work that was needed to make it as perfect as possible. You cleaned out the closets and cabinets that were considered messy clutter to the new eyes of your agent. They know how important first impressions are; so the initial glance from the front door must excite, not dismay.
Selling a house is a business transaction. Your house is just another commodity in a marketplace of hundreds or thousands in your city. For you it is home-sweet- home, but for a buyer it is simply listing # 253. When there are so many to choose from, the seller knows his must stand out as special to catch the attention of buyers.
Some owners may not want to do any more work or they think it doesn’t need any, and so decide to sell it themselves - By Owner - As Is. I noticed that no one is featured on the program whose hearts were so attached to the old-fashioned porcelain sink that they couldn't bear to replace it.
I was watching such a program the other day and it brought to mind how similar this scenario is to an author trying to sell a book. To love your 'babies' so much you're unwilling to change this or remove that is understandable to me, but I think we have to curb the emotion and treat it as a business transaction at some point. Consider the similarities.
Selling a book is a business transaction. Your manuscript is just one more piece competing in a marketplace with hundreds of others. Editors and agents see many manuscripts in any given day. Are there errors that you hope the buyer will choose to fix? Why would they do that when there are so many others available that don’t need work? Write with your heart, then prepare to sell by using your head.
Always show your work to the impartial new eyes of a few good reviewers before presenting it to agents or self-publishing. Reviewers have the job of pointing out the scratches on the wall, the dozens of loose, plastic lids in the junk drawer, and the sticking door in the upstairs bathroom. They will see all the clutter and recommend you clean it out. Assuring yourself that your work is as error-free as possible before sending it to an agent will help your confidence too, and what’s wrong with that?
Once an agent receives the manuscript, he probably will also recommend changes. If you really love the story as it is, keep a personal copy for yourself and revise a copy to sell. Don't be afraid to change something to make it fit the market. You might be surprised at how much better it reads with only a few changes.
Literary Agents and editors know what readers want and what keeps a book from being accepted. It's their job - listen to them.
Even if self-publishing, be diligent in presenting the cleanest work possible. Your reputation as a writer is at stake, and you don't want to be remembered as an "As Is" writer.
© Copyright 2007