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I am an author and a poloyglot. I speak several language and Im adding more every year. Im an American living in Brazil and I am offically a webtrepeneur and a n amateur MMA/Submission Fighter.BJJ trying to turn pro.

I mention all this becaue I am always writing but I am worried that a some point agents consider you too old to be marketable? Is this a factor? I am aware of the MMA making me somewhat marketable, and I will self-publish or try o solicit an aegnt for 3 non-fiction books I'm working on that are mainly informational guides regarding my foreign langauge ability and my MMA professsion.

At heart I am a novelist and writer and I know nothing of how to market myself. Of course this is not even beginnining on discussing quality level of writing, which of course has to be on the money. I'd apreciate any advice.

Even in my fighter career I am making it an issue o pick the right tournaments to be seen in and to market myself. All opinions, put-downs, pick me ups nad ideas are appreciated. Anyone can feel free to reach me at
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OK, no rush, get in line, I can only answer one question at a time

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>>>>I mention all this becaue I am always writing but I am worried that a some point agents consider you too old to be marketable? Is this a factor?

dmaswary: Legally, agents and publishers can't discriminate due to age. Of course, there's a big difference between an employer firing an effective employee due to age and an agent or publisher simply declining to represent/buy a book. No one can force them to take you on. On the other hand, plenty of successful authors publish well into their 70s and 80s. It might only be an issue if you're that old and trying to get your first book published.

Realistically, how are they going to know your age, if you don't tell them? My 78-year-old mother had the same fear, so she didn't tell the publishers she submitted her first novel to what her true age was. When a publisher bought her book and asked for a jacket photo, she sent one from when she was in her 40s. Of course, when the publisher asked her about personal appearances she had to make up a story about a disability that prevented her from getting around. <g> (Oh, what a tangled web we weave....)

Honestly, I don't think it's that big an issue. Publishers want two things from an author: 1) a book that they think will sell well, and 2) more books to follow, if the previous one was successful. So unless you're so old they'd be afraid you'll keel over next month, I don't see a problem with age. (Heck, you could step in front of a bus when you're 22. There are no guarantees either way.)

>>>>I will self-publish or try o solicit an aegnt for 3 non-fiction books I'm working on that are mainly informational guides regarding my foreign langauge ability and my MMA professsion.

Okay, I have no idea what an "MMA/Submission Fighter.BJJ" is. Is that like kickboxing and the like? Regarding finding an agent or major publisher, again, they make their money on volume sales. If you're writing a sensational expose of the sport, they might be interested. On the other hand, if you're writing something they think is focused on a small niche market (say 1,000 sales or less), they'll probably pass as the opportunity is too small for them. On the other hand, there are plenty of small publishers for whom 500-1000 sales is a typical ebook. You'd probably have better luck there. If these "informational guides" are more along the lines of brochures or resumes/CVs of your talents, you're best off self-publishing. I suspect the potential market for sales would be very small.

>>>>At heart I am a novelist and writer and I know nothing of how to market myself.

Fortunately, in this age of the Internet, there are literally thousands of ways and places to market your own stuff, most of them for free or very cheap.

For example, you can set up a web site devoted to yourself and your books. (Most writers today probably either have a site or are planning one.) It's a great place to post jacket blurbs and sample chapters so readers can see if it's something they'd be interested in. You can even set up a store online to sell your books directly, and cut out the middle man. (Of course, you're probably better off also having a middle man who has more visibility than your site would, at least until you're well-known.) Web sites can cost anywhere from nothing (, for example) to quite a bit, depending on the bells and whistles.

It's also advisable to start a blog--again, for the purpose of talking about yourself, your books, and your sport. Try to write at least a few paragraphs a couple of times a week, to develop a following of people who will want to tune in each week. Blogs cost nothing (, or hosted by your website), and are easy to set up. The great thing about a blog is that once you post it, it's "out there" for the whole world to see. If they google "submission fighter", for example, one of the hits they get will be for your blog, if your blog entry is about submission fighting. (Of course, it might be one of 50,000 hits, so it won't necessarily "percolate" to the top of the search list. Adding appropriate keywords to your blog will help target your audience.)

There are also bound to be websites devoted to your sport or your fiction genre. Some will have discussion groups you can join. These are good places to drop plugs for your books. But don't swoop in like a spammer and blanket the groups with ads. You'll want to join, carry on discussions about the sport or the genre for a while until you're accepted as a member. Then when an appropriate topic comes up, you can casually mention that you've written a book/guide on the subject, if anyone is interested. And then post the details about how to find a copy. This way, instead of appearing to be a "damn spammer", it more a case of one of their own making good. The other members are likely to order a copy just out of curiosity. If they like it, they'll tell others on that and other boards and word will spread. This sort of "viral marketing" can be quite effective.

After your books are published, you can use some of these sites for more formal advertising. Many for-profit websites offer banner space for a reasonable monthly or annual fee. (It might be as little as $10-$50/month, versus hundreds or thousands for a print magazine.) So that's another option, but it can get expensive if you do this on a lot of sites.

It's also great if you can find sites that review books of the type you've written. If they'll agree to review your book and they like it, there's some terrific advertising for you. It'll be posted on their website, which will be picked up with search engines, plus you can post the reviews (or links to them) on your own website and blog. The more positive reviews you can garner, the better. A casual reader looking for a book on your subject might come across one review and be intrigued. But if they find six or eight positive reviews, they're probably more likely to buy. Fortunately, many sites will accept ebooks, which cost nothing for you to send them--no printing costs and no postage. Just an e-mail.

There are also promotional items you can have printed up cheaply to hand out to people you meet or an public appearances: business cards with your name, the names of your books, and URLs for your website and your blog; postcards that have a book cover on one side and the jacket blurb on the other; bookmarks with your name, title and book cover on one side; and so on.

There are plenty of other ways to promote yourself and your books, but most don't make sense to talk about until after you've sold one or more books. But feel free to ask again later.

The more time and effort you can put into promoting your books, the better. If people keep tripping over your name or the title of your books, after a while they'll associate you in their minds with other "known" writers and won't be as afraid to pick up a book by an unknown. It's all about familiarity.

Good luck!

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Mark has provided you with some great advice. Age is no problem. As he pointed out, who knows how old your are. Clark just died at 93. He produced hundreds of SF books during his life.

The key in my mind at least is to write, and continue to look for publishers or magazines to buy your works. Your rejects will become less and less as your learn you craft.

Now it is time to get back under my rock,

Spence, who needs to finish a column and bailout a flooded basement...danged spring storms anyway
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Thanks. I know nothing of the business of writing. I am writing an industry specific portuguese to english and vice versa dictionary for a niche subject right now and I have two similiar books in mind. I am a fiction writer when I am not fighting and trianing etc... for my professional career and I wondered how superficial book marketing is in comparison to the nightmarish marketing of my profession, the MMA world.
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I really can't answer your questions about superficiality of the two disciplines. I have to think writing in whatever nitch you work in, has to have a bunch more competition than the MMA world.

In my world of outdoor writing, competition is high and the pay is low. For example I'm receiving, for my columns and articles, what I received in the mid-80s. Editors can pick and choose with lots of want-a-bees trying to break into the industry.

My advice to new outdoor writers is to not quit your day job and keep writing and submitting to newspapers and magazines...and now the Internet.

Time to go back under my rock,

Spence, who is watching the Big-12 continue toward the Sweet 16.
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What do you mean by outdoor writing?????

I have two levels of writing

1 - Is writing about my industry for money which is one dimension of publication

2 - The second is writing as a literary and creative individual creating ficiton and writing articles. I have no idea on how to submit articles, how to get payed, where to even try to submit or where to find editors to proof-read. If you could write me at and maybe we can talk. I know jack about marketing. I know how to write and I'd like to keep doing it for some money and for the fact that beyond my fighting life in MMA, I have an artisitic life as well. All info is appreciated;
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Let me try to answer you here on board. I suspect others might be interested in our comments.

First, Outdoor Writing covers a multitude of sins. I write about outdoor recreation, hunting, boating, shooting, dog training, environmental subjects that catch my fancy...If you will pay me I will write for you <grin>

By background, I worked as a research biologist for just short of 30 years where I designed studies, carried them out, and wrote up and published the results for my agency and for other biologists. Writing as a professional in any field you learn the styles required by the field and you learn to present your results in the form or style.

In my case passive writing under a very strict scientific structure was used. My editors were older biologists who had little or no editing background other than checking for typos and using the style they learned when in the same position. Most scientists are very poor writers. Early on in my career, this caused problems because those editors didn't like a writing style that disagreed or differed from what they had learned.

This changed beginning in the late '70s.

While working as a biologist/research scientist, I also had a group of friends who were professional writers. They wrote for the popular market, including articles, short fiction, and published several books. Where the final arbitrator of the writing were editors purchasing and publishing your article or book. They coerced/shamed/edited my writing to improve my writing skills and forced me to attempt a sale or two to the popular market.

It worked...I was relatively successful selling several articles a year to regional magazines and newspapers, enjoyed the process, and my old editors suddenly respected my writing even when it differed from what they learned.

I retired as a biologist in the late '90s and have enjoyed a moderate freelance writing career since. I write what I want and don't have to support myself and family from what I receive.

Okay, you asked how to break into a field. My perspective is for the outdoor field. All magazines will send you a style sheet that outlines what types of articles the editor(s) are looking for and what they pay. More importantly, look at recent issues. This will help you see the style and organization of the articles and what the magazine is looking for monthly or weekly. All editors have a group of writers they purchase from because they know the writers can and will produce a quality product for the magazine and the editor will not have to do a lot of editing when the article is submitted. Your first challenge will be to break into this group.

In my field, and I suspect in other fields of writing also, what is published each month is the same...only the writers, photographs, etc. change. The editors at the beginning of the year outline each issue for the year, then look for writers to fill the slots. If asked most will send you an outline of what they are looking for each month. For example I'm currently working on an October article on turkey hunting due at the end of the month. Every October the magazine publishes a turkey hunting article, a deer hunting article, a duck hunting article, a fall fishing piece, a column about regional events, letters to the editor, and a page or two of reader photographs. Remember, they work 4 to 6 months ahead of publication.

In my opinion all writing is literary and creative. Magazines and newspapers pay either on acceptance or on publication...and yes you have to be careful. There are unscrupulousness publishers. I sell only First North American Rights to my articles.

As a new writer in any field, I'd submit a one page query letter or email to the editor with photographs. If you have other publishing credits, I'd outline these also...Goggle is an editor's friend.

Finally become involved in a local or regional writers group. I belong to two groups, one local and one national. You'll learn a bunch from associating with successful writers and having them editor your material...develop a thick hide.

This is enough for a start.

Now back under my rock,

Spence, who is not an editor nor does he play an editor on TV
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