I had an entire series about submitting to agents and publishers a few months ago but I wanted to take a more in-depth look at some of the parts that get overlooked especially by those just starting out on their publishing journey. There are so many aspects that need to be considered and when we first begin down the path there are many times we as writers can get overwhelmed by either the amount of preparation that needs to be done or worse we are blinded by the stars in our eyes that hide it all and convince us we have all the knowledge we need already.
When I began researching how to approach an agent or publisher one of the things that stood out was how many times it was emphasized that the writers is not only the creator of the work but also must put on the persona of master salesman. You have to be able to distill down your story to a quick attention grabber with a few tantalizing details to secure the interest of your audience. That part most of us know and as writers, while it can be difficult to take a fifty thousand plus word novel and pare it down to the bones while keeping it captivating, that is nothing compared to the next step.
Once you have them on the line you have to be able to keep them there by selling yourself and your abilities as a writer. You have to present your range as an author while also demonstrating your reach as a marketer. The one way I had not thought about but it madness once I read about it was knowing and understanding where your book would fit into current marketplace. It is important to be able to tell the agent or publisher exactly where your book could be sold and why it would stand out from the direct competition. This means of course knowing why and what your direct competition is.
When I first began writing there were different categories than there are now. In fact when I began social media and online retailers had yet to come out. My debut novel would have been listed as a young adult drama. While young adult and drama are still a categories that can be found in brick and mortar stores I have also come to realize there is now a category called realistic fiction. In response to the growing sensation of fantasy novels those like me that write books based in reality have a new description. That is never something I would have called my novel yet it is an accurate category so I would now include it when sending the manuscript off to agents.
Knowing who you are in the literary world is one of the most important aspects and being able to clearly convey the story and message of your book is vital to getting accepted by an agency or publisher. It is something I am still learning myself but I am glad I know now that it is am item that never should be skipped when preparing to submit.