12 Ways to Excite Pros About Your Novel

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.


16 Responses to 12 Ways to Excite Pros About Your Novel

  1. Camille says:

    I’m slowly building on a few of these things. I was especially interested in your number seven. I can’t help but think the growth of self-publishing on Kindle, along with blogs and such, is the new magazine market – a place for us to gain experience.

    I am very interested in the serialization idea. I haven’t decided what I’m going to try yet, but I’m thinking hard….

    • Blogs are an easy and excellent to build a readership and get feedback. Do it!

      • Camille says:

        I have a blog – what I’m thinking about is serializing a novel. I have one YA novel that isn’t in my main genre. I published it on kindle, but it’s also really suited for serialization – and others have said they have great luck promoting ebooks by publishing them free on the web.

        I’ve been saving my mysteries for the traditional route but I do have one that really suited to serialization. I’m considering sacrificing that to build an audience for future stories in the series.

  2. Simon Hay says:

    This is a great list, and timely. I’m hoping to excite a pro in two weeks. I’ve got 1,2,3,5,6,7,9,11 covered.

    I hope you don’t mind, I’ve some questions. How do you find sales figures for competing titles? For an unknown writer, how do you design a promotion plan? I can see the potential market, but I’m lost regarding the planning.

    Thank you, Simon.

    • Editors will find sales figures if they need to. For info about a promotion plan, visit larsenpomada.com, check elsewhere online, check books (including mine), and see what other authors are doing.

  3. You won’t be sacrificing your book. You’ll be building an audience for it.

  4. dramy says:

    Love your blog! I have a couple of questions regarding self publishing—#7 on your list. How do agents and publishers view self-publishing and posting work on places like Amazon? If I decide to do this, any suggestions on how to include this information in my query letter? Thanks, Michael.

    • Glad you’re enjoying the blog! If you sell enough books, publishers will come looking for you. If you approach them, impress them, if you can with what you’ve done. Provide the number of copies you’ve sold, quote from reviews, whatever you can tell them.

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