Note: This is the last post in a series of four posts: 3 Things a Publisher Must See.
Let’s say your proposal has convinced an editor that your project has a wildly unique premise. You’ve even demonstrated a viable audience with a felt need.
There’s just one more thing…
The questions a publisher is asking about you, very possibly in this order:
- Does she have a platform?
- Can she write?
A publisher needs both.
And this is the difficult bind of many editors—who love great writing, and want to publish great writing—today. It’s not to say that editors don’t ever stick out their necks for someone nobody’s ever heard of who can write really well. They do sometimes.
I’m saying that a publisher’s decision is always a complex one, and the more you can convince them that you have a platform to influence others, the more consideration your proposal will receive.
If you can write compelling sentences that make people laugh and cry, and string those together into a fabulous manuscript, and if your platform is so big that Oprah, Donald Trump and Diane Sawyer want to be your bestie, congratulations.
If one or both of these is not the case, then…
- Improve Your Writing
- Read great books
- Write every single day, and then write some more
- Join a manuscript critique group, locally or online
- Attend a writer’s conference (See one you like from 2015? Google it!)
- Build Your Platform
- Pitch articles to the publications your target reader is reading
- Develop an audience for your blog by writing consistently and meeting readers’ needs
- Pursue speaking opportunities—at church, MOPs groups, etc.—in the community
- Be a great friend on social media by celebrating others’ work
Very few writers have fairytale stories of wild success with little effort. (Honestly, that was my plan when I started writing. It didn’t work out that way.) Most writers invest time and energy to improve their writing and build an audience.
Cheering you on,