A novel has been called a piece of prose that has something wrong with it. Here’s how to ensure your novel has nothing wrong with it: twelve ways to get agents and editors excited about your work.
1. Your idea: new, creative, timely, informative, entertaining, transformative, commercial, helpful, aimed at a large, proven market
2. Your writing: style, tone, humor, drama, inspiration, insights, voice
3. Your irresistible first page: compels editors to turn the page
4. Your readers: the community of readers who give you feedback while you’re writing your book and when you’re done
5. You: your passion, commitment, track record, credentials
6. Your platform, visibility online and off: blog, short stories, teaching, speaking, a blog, social media, networks
7. Your test-marketing: a blog, podcast, e-book, self-published edition, serialization, website
8. Your promotion plan: a list of things you will do, online and off, and how many of them, a budget
9. Your book’s promotion potential: online and off, reviews, media interviews, endorsements
10. The markets for your book: consumers, libraries, subsidiary rights, reading groups
11. Your future books: your book’s series potential, the synopsis for your next book
12. Your book’s spinoff potential: merchandising products, short stories, music
There’s a Sipress cartoon in the New Yorker showing a medieval torturer in a dungeon standing in front of a guy being stretched on a rack, and he’s saying: “Don’t talk to me about suffering—in my spare time, I’m a writer.” Using these ideas will lessen your suffering on the road to publication.
I’m researching material for future blogs and looking forward to writing to you soon.