It’s NaNoWriMo time, and I thought I would share some fresh perspectives and tips for writers who are thinking of sending out some queries or are already in the process of querying agents and publishers.
If you want to become a truly successful author, you need to consider yourself a REAL author. This means you need to take yourself, your talents and your creations seriously.
Treat yourself as a business.
This is literally what you are. When you raise this bar as a writer – you step up into who you can become as an author.
If you’ve previously sent out queries with little or no responses from prospective agents consider:
- You want to work with an agent who enjoys your work and will believe in you.
- Every zero response means you are not right for what that agent is looking for (or they are just at full capacity at the moment). Every “No.” just means go right to the NEXT one. Do not let no’s stop you!
- You are only kind of, sorta selling this one book, that likely isn’t finished yet and you have no idea what you want to do with it if it does get published.
Now I told you to raise the bar and take yourself as an author seriously. This means from here on out approach your work from a higher level (as if you have already been published a few times).
When you are prospecting for a future business partner (that agent), you want to make sure who they are and what they are about lines right up with what you are all about. You want them to believe in your plans for your book and your whole vision as an author.
This means when you are querying you are not just selling one particular book.
You are selling who you are!
You are showing this potential agent:
- This is who I am.
- This is what I am doing.
- This book here is just one example of my writing.
- These are the other aspects of my platform. You can see how it is all connected.
- This is my overall vision for my career as an author.
Remember this is a business deal. It’s the creating of a partnership.
You need to have clarity and vision for who you want to become as an author (long term) and just what you’d like to see happen for your whole platform.
An agent is much more likely to give a writer a few more minutes of their time when they can see, feel and experience the vision you are working hard to create for yourself as an author. You can’t just throw out lofty dreams “I’m going to be the #1 NY TIMES BEST SELLER!”
You’ve got to have a real plan. A plan that is authentic to who you are and what you are doing with your life.
Your writing should be an extension of who you are. That is, it’s a natural addition to who you already are and what you already do.
You also need to be making progress on this vision. Have your book completely written before sending it out to agents. This shows you are serious. Be able to show the agent what you have done in the other areas of your platform and where you are at in the timeline for your goals in those areas.
You don’t need 20 years of proven success in a dozen different ventures. You just need to be able to show that you are taking the steps towards what it does take to be a successful author. Having a website, a blog, social media accounts is a start.
Agents want to see you have an understanding of the whole picture of being a published author and a professional. They want to be able to see that you are consistently seeking opportunities to grow, that you are steadily improving and expanding who you are. They need to know that you are already learning about what is required for published authors and are in the process of applying it.
If you’ve never heard of needing a platform as an author – don’t panic! You are not alone.
Let’s talk about what a platform is.
Your author platform is the whole scope of who you are professionally. It is literally what you are doing with your life. Many authors are also speakers, or teachers/instructors. Many authors also are involved in activities and organizations that relate to the topic they write about – meaning they expand out into the community naturally.
Your platform is also your marketability. Do you have a following? Are you on social media? Do you network with other writers and with people interested in the topics you write about? Do you have a website?
Some authors only want to write. This doesn’t cut it to be a successful author today.
Other authors not only go about traditional publishing, they also have Ebooks, audiobooks, YouTube videos, podcasts, a blog, a newsletter/email list, online courses, speaking engagements, coaching, and other products/services related to their other professions.
If you have a platform in the works or already going – does it all flow together and build other aspects of your platform? Or are your works scattered in all different directions?
Tip: Creating a platform in which the various components can integrate together creates a stronger following and allows you to cross promote your books/products/services to a wider audience. Plus, when you expand your platform you are also creating opportunities to create more streams of income.
Are you just a one book writer? Or are you a writer who simply can’t stop writing one book after another?
While one book wonders do happen, agents are more likely to pick up writers who are going to write 1-2 books a year regardless if they end up published. They simply have to write them. Which means they are continuously working on their writing and evolving. (Somewhere in that pile of completed works are some solidly written books.)
There is a difference between someone who struggles and spends years writing one book, and the writer who writes pages every day and can’t stop. The person who can write and write and create one book after another (or is expanding their platform based off this content they write about) is someone who KNOWS what they are writing about.
What I mean by this is when you are lined up with your purpose you are also passionate about it, which creates a solid vault of knowledge, experience, and wisdom in which to write from. In other words, you’re likely an expert about it or darn close.
You know when someone KNOWS what they are doing, writing about, and where they are going and who they are becoming. And this comes across in your query.
Tip: If you struggle with figuring out what to create books about – write about your passions/interests. The energy and focus will flow naturally and your enjoyment for the topic will be noticeable by readers.
Let’s sum it up:
As authors we need vision for our careers.
We must create a platform and build upon it.
Think of ourselves as a business and line up with business partners (agents/editors/publishers) who will support your vision.
Write what you are passionate about! This lines you up with your purpose in life and provides endless ingenuity and creativity from which to write. Plus – your readers can feel it when you fill your writing with passion.
What a difference a fresh change in perspective makes!
You might also enjoy these articles on Writing & Being an Author:
My book Focus & Value is also available on Amazon.
A great resource for writers in developing focus during the writing process and creating value for readers.
Expanding Your Author Platform is my newest webinar – you must check it out if you are working on getting published and/or really want to grow professionally!
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