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Good morning everyone! Wow, I can’t believe we are on the home stretch of this series. Thank you to everyone who has shared 31 Ways to Snag an Agent over social media, and also a big thank you to everyone who has grabbed a phone consult. I’m so glad you’re still reading and learning, and I hope the series has been a help to you.

When you get a book published, your book directly competes with other books in the marketplace. The competition is huge. Your book competes with other published works from your same publishing house. Your book competes with other published works outside your publishing house. New books compete with other new releases, and even old titles. And every single book out there competes with the other things that a potential reader could buy with their money. Not only do you have to compete with other authors, but authors have to write stories so impressive that a reader is willing to take some of their excess cash and purchase your book with it, instead of something else.

In this same way, the competition to snag an agent is high. You are competing with authors both old and new. The goal is to write something so outstanding that it stands out to an agent. But, what about the competition among the other excellent storytellers? In the past few years, I’ve not really met any “bad” storytellers. Everyone is pretty good. But, pretty good won’t get you to the top of the stack. And excellent is amazing, but, excellent is not always enough.

Let’s look at how shows like American Idol or The Voice work to find their winner. I love what reality competitions can teach writers. There are tons of talented people who the show sends home, contestants we never even get to meet. I would bet that most people who try out for these shows are excellent singers. The show filters and sifts through thousands of people in order to narrow down to around 24 contestants, and the cutting continues. Eventually, the show over time, whittles the talent down to an outstanding four singers. All the while, the contestants are sent home for various reasons. Some have weak performances when it needed to count, some have outside forces (sickness/life issues) get in the way of their appearances on the show. Eventually, it’s the “other factors” that shift the audience to cast votes for one contestant over another. The competition gets boiled down to excellent singing PLUS all sorts of other factors—charisma, marketability, song choice, writing ability, appearance, professionalism. All of these factors come together to pick the absolute #1 winner. Were they all excellent singers? Yes. But, were they all the winners of The Voice? No.

So, where does that leave you as a writer? You need to figure out a way to showcase your “other” talents. Your PLUS attributes. Are you a superior marketer? An amazing marketer plus an amazing writer might be enough to tip the scale for an agent. Are you a former editor of a magazine? Your editorial skills plus being a superior writer, might be enough to turn an agent’s head. Are you personable and awesome at relationships, then show an agent that side of you. Sell yourself. When you sell yourself, and show case all that you have to offer as a business partner and person, then you won’t sell yourself short when it comes to trying to get an agent to represent you.

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This series is part of the #Write31Days challenge. To read all the posts in this series click here.

 

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