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I’ve been collecting questions from readers over the course of this series. I’ll spend today and tomorrow tackling these questions, and then I have one final tip for you on Saturday to close out our series.

What should writers focus more on, platform or their craft?

There are three main areas that publishers evaluate in regards to your submission: the strength of your writing voice & ability, your platform, and how unique your book idea is. Think about this:  If you are a self-published writer, you take out an ad on Book Bub, and a miracle happens…you give away 300,000 copies in a 24-hour campaign. If your craft is ready, those people will become fans. Your social media will grow, and it will be evident that your audience is growing because you wrote a great book. Do the same thing, but your craft isn’t ready—your plot has holes in it? You’ll give away 300,000 copies and you’ll never see those people again. The goal is to become a good writer, and then, word-of-mouth coupled with a consistent social media strategy will be a winning balance.

What are two of the most important qualities you want in a writer?

I want writers who are going to work hard. This industry is hard and it’s easy to give up when things don’t go your way. Agents want long-term relationships with their clients. And to have a long-term relationship, the writer has to keep writing, to keep trying, to keep working to get better. I also love someone with high creativity. I think you can study craft and teach yourself how to get better. It’s nice to sign writers with a plethora of ideas, writers with those brains that never stop thinking up new characters, new twists, and new ways to surprise the reader.

If an agent has had my submission for over a year, is that a no?

I don’t know that I have a definitive answer for this. My advice to you is that if you have been sitting in the slush pile for a while, check in once every 90 days. If you’ve been checking in once every 90 days, and a year has passed, and you’ve never gotten a response, then it might be a no. Or, it might be that the agent has not received your material. I’ve had people send me proposals, and they’ve ended up in spam or maybe my inbox was so full, I just didn’t see their material. The bottom line is, I wouldn’t believe my answer was a no until I got a written no or a verbal no at a conference. I do think when agents are interested, they tend to grab things up more quickly. But, there have been seasons where I just needed more time to review my pile.

More Q&A to come tomorrow!




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




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