While the non-fiction writer needs to establish a base of expertise to go along with their book, the fiction writer must work to showcase themselves as the writer “to watch” in a similar fashion. Today we will discuss the elements that help towards reaching that goal.
Though a carefully crafted story is the most important tool in the fiction writer’s toolbox, the development of a writer’s own network reach is becoming more and more significant to landing a book deal. Of the areas evaluated by editors who are considering a work for publication is the key question they will have to answer for their team: “Who will care about this novel enough to buy it?”.
One way to build this base of future readers before your project even sees an agent or editor is to have some publishing “credits” built into your writing resume. Has your work been featured in a literary journal? Won an award for short fiction? Been previously published? Do you hold an MFA or writing certificate from a school that will help promote your book? Have you attended writing conferences and workshops that will circulate your advancements to attract new participants? All of these go a long way to help you in the publishing consideration process.
Another way to grow your platform is getting your manuscript into the hands of established authors who may read and blurb your work. Getting a great endorsement from an author with a large following is a nod that your work may be of interest to that author’s fan base. Can an esteemed writing instructor or editor add a few thoughts to your submission package on the merits of your work?
Expand your online reach: do you have a current website and growing social media accounts that are tied to the project you are working on? Showing that you are savvy enough to have these elements early is another way to stand out from the pack of the many book projects on offer to editors and competing in the market.
Continue building your influence: is there an active network of authors that you are in regular contact with who will help promote and publicize your work? Perhaps you have helped to promote their books and they are a rising star in your writing community. Reach out to those individuals and ask for help with early reading and advice.
Curating an email contact list from people interested in your work—perhaps from a blog or podcast you produce—is one of the richest streams for a database of potential readers. As is attending conferences and putting your work up for review whenever you have an opportunity.
Everything you can do to show that you have a robust number of people actively invested in you and your novel who will go on to presumably buy copies, will help build confidence that your work will publish successfully. Remember that it will be your job to promote the published book and any way you can highlight that understanding by showing the efforts you are already undertaking before the publication process will help your chances.
All of these steps take time to develop but are integral to your success as a writer. We are here to help you strengthen your brand with our platform building workshop!