Yesterday, I spoke on the phone with a literary agent for almost an hour. I had sent her a proposal for my book, Can You Dig It?, and she was calling to ask me a few questions and give me some feedback. Overall, she liked my book, believed in my ability, and thought I had a great story to tell. She also told me that my book needed some work and gave me a whole list of things that I needed to do. Thankfully, she also asked me to submit it again once I make some changes. I agreed with her critique and she gave me some really good advice.
Probably the best advice she gave me wasn’t even about my actual writing though. These tips focused more on the business aspect of writing. During our long phone conversation, she told me three things that will almost guarantee a writer gets published.
- Have endorsements – There are different levels of endorsements; those from well-known people on a global-level, national-level, and even a more local-level. All of these endorsements are important, but the more recognizable the name, the better. Getting endorsed from other authors is also a plus. The agent told me she is working with a writer who has three major endorsements, from authors who are all NYT Bestsellers. Here’s the kicker: this writer is a newbie and his writing stinks. She said it, not me. He got endorsements by sending emails and building relationships. Now, even though his book stinks, he has publishers considering him only because he has endorsements from three major authors. Robert Kyosaki echoes this idea in his book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, when he says, “It’s not called New York Times best-writing author; it’s New York Times best-SELLING author.” I know this can be tough for writers but it’s not all about what your writing.
- Have an audience – Today, if you want to get a publishers attention, it’s important that you have an audience. Agents and publishers want to know that you have followers/readers already. How do you do this? Well, the internet. Blogs, Facebook author pages, Twitter and more. After I initially sent my proposal, this agent looked it over, and then sent me a form. On this form I had to give her exact numbers concerning my Twitter followers, blog viewers, Facebook Likes, etc. She reiterated during our phone call that one of the best ways to get a publisher’s attention is to have a preexisting online presence. I’ve read it a thousand other places too. It must be true!
- Have buyers – This was one of the tips I had never heard before, but it makes sense. The agent told me that having a few ministries, organizations, or groups that will buy copies of your book in bulk will show the publisher that this book has some backing. For instance, she asked me if the groups I mention in my book will be buying the book. I assumed some would and she said that I needed to get a number of how many they would buy. She suggested that a couple buyers of 500 to 1,000 books would really get the publishers attention. Here’s the kicker: she told me that sometimes a publisher will ask the author to buy his or her own book, to see if they are serious about selling it. I told her I am ready to buy 1,000 copies of my own book. My wife will love having all those boxes stacked up in the house somewhere, I’m sure.
So, the three tips to getting published: have endorsements, have an audience, and have buyers. If you’ve finished your book, the real work begins!
Do you have any tips on getting published? Share your wisdom and thoughts in the comments below.
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