[Podcast] Advertising Iconoclast Jim Morris on Narrowing Your Book Audience and Book Agents

4 publishing your writing agents podcast post Apr 16, 2021

By Melissa Parks and Dave Goetz

The popularity of A&E's "Mad Men" is in part reflective of our cultural obsession with the world of advertising. Just think of the Super Bowl! Millions of Americans tune into it for the commercial breaks as much as for the game (maybe more, for some!).

No-one knows the world of advertising better than Jim Morris, known as Tagline Jim for his legendary work in the field. In his latest book, Badvertising: An Expose of Insipid, Insufferable and Ineffective AdvertisingJim Pulls back the curtain on the industry, revealing its posturing, narcissism and how little advertisers really know.

When he set out to write the expose, Jim wrote it for consumers tantalized by the sexy world of advertising.  But were they really interested in its foibles?

Literary agents didn't think so. Jim sent query letters to gobs of literary agents, and only three responded. To those three he sent his book proposal. The response was surprising. All three said, "Interesting idea! But your book is really more for your peers."

Jim had to narrow his book audience from general to specific.

The agent who finally took on Jim's book continued to provide feedback to help Jim narrow his audience. She was a taskmaster, demanding Jim rework his proposal multiple times before she pitched it to publishers.

"I spent six to eight months rewriting that proposal," Jim says.

Once the proposal was accepted by his publisher, Jim began writing. Some of the chapters were built on columns he had previously published in a regular monthly column for Screen. Other writing came from notes he had scribbled and talks he had delivered.

As he pieced it all together, he came up with a hook: Agents of Stupidity, the mistakes advertisers make. Listen to this episode to hear more about Jim's advice on narrowing your book audience and book agents.




Email: [email protected]