You have a story in your head and some (or all) of it down on paper. You dream of seeing it on the shelf at your local bookstore, with your name in shiny gold foil letters beneath the title. It’s a dream that many people have, but that few make a reality. What must you do to make your dream of being a published author come true? It’s not a mystery; there are several steps you should take to increase your chances of getting that book deal.
1. Have an Authentic Voice
Information is everywhere. Authenticity stands out. People have mostly stopped listening to things that sound just like everything else; that canned, soulless voice of weather reporting and advertising won’t get you anywhere with readers. Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, your narrator has to sound like a whole person with ideas and values and intentions, whether good or bad. Don’t try to cater to everyone in your writing. Be true to your own (or your narrator’s) voice and just write.
2. Be Original
Being authentic and being original are two different things. You may be a pro at writing like an authentic mobster, or school teacher, or self-help guru, but you still must write something that hasn’t been done before. Find the balance between working within a genre, such as post-apocalyptic young adult fiction, and rewriting a popular story or beloved character with nothing but a name change.
3. Build Your Author Platform
Mark Gottlieb Literary Agent suggests doing everything you can to get yourself out there as a writer. Attending conferences, writing a blog, being active on social media, and making connections with other writers will help you improve your writing and your understanding of the industry. Doing these things will also build a platform for your work and give you a pre-launch audience that is hungry for whatever you are working on next.
4. Know How To Pitch
For a traditionally-published book, you will need an agent to help you find a publisher and negotiate a contract. You don’t just hire a literary agent the way you hire a lawn mowing service; you have to pitch your work until you find an agent who is interested in promoting you. When you learn more about Mark Gottlieb and his work as a literary agent, you’ll find that agents read your pitches to decide whether to read your manuscript. Be sure to write a pitch that is long enough to give the agent a taste of the whole book.
Writing, pitching, and selling a book is a long process. Follow the steps above to have the best shot at being successful. Remember, though, that many books are rejected several times before being picked up by a publisher, so don’t give up.