Write with your reader in mind. You want to keep things simple. Over the top flowery sentences belong in poetry, not in novels. Run on sentences that are a paragraph long, or clumsy writing that is hard to understand, makes your writer aware.
Aware of what you might ask? Your writing. You don’t want your reader cognizant of the fact that they are reading a book. You want them focused on the story to the point that they are walking beside the characters and experiencing their every move.
You want them to continue reading until the end, accepting every coincidence and slightly questionable storyline written. We often refer to this as the suspension of disbelief. If the reader is focused on the story and not the writing, they will accept most of what you throw at them without stopping to question its plausibility.
Remember: Clumsy writing that’s hard to understand makes readers aware. Don’t let your words get in the way of a great story.
Something to think about.
Yes!!!!!! Especially if this is your first book. If you’ve already written a best seller, your agent and editor may cut you some slack. If not, that book better be pretty close to perfect, or nobody is going to look at it. I know you’ve heard this before if you’ve done any type of research, but agents receive hundreds and sometimes thousands of queries a week. They don’t have time to read everyone. If your manuscript is full of grammatical and structural errors, that’s all the excuse they need to toss it to the side and move on to the next one.
I sent my first manuscript out to five different agents. I was very excited and a little anxious to hear what they had to say. I expected some rejections, but not all. I had put over a year into that novel. It was my baby. Well, two didn’t respond at all, one said no thanks, and another said it wasn’t what they were looking for. The fifth one responded with a rejection, but also included a why. While she thought I had a really good premise, there were numerous grammatical and structural errors and the dialogue dragged. In short, she said it wasn’t ready for publication.
I was disappointed, but I did take her advice to heart and began the process of editing and correcting structural and grammatical errors, as well as addressing the dragging dialogue. I never really thought about dialogue moving a story before, but I see it now and have a pretty good understanding of what the agent was trying to say.
Truth be known, I was ashamed of myself for sending such poor work to an agent. I never realized how bad it was until I began the arduous process of making corrections. I definitely didn’t make a good first impression.
You’ve spent the last year or so writing your first novel. It may be a great story, but it takes more than a great premise to sell a book. Great stories with a significant number of structural and grammatical errors get tossed to the side every day. How’s your dialogue? Does it move your story forward or just sit like a rock slowing things down and encouraging the reader to skip it completely. What about your platform? Do you have one? Great manuscripts of first-time authors get pushed to the side every day because the aspiring author doesn’t have a solid platform.
I was rejected by a literary agent because of my lack of a solid platform. I spent years editing and rewriting major portions of my manuscript to address the issues mentioned above. I was confident with my work and looked forward to a request for the complete story. Well, what I got wasn’t a request but a rejection. The reason had nothing to do with my novel. I had focused so much of my attention on preparing it for publication, that I failed to do one of the most important things, build an audience of potential customers.
Is a platform really that important? Unfortunately, yes, especially for first time authors. The agent who rejected me apologized for not giving me better news, but said it was really hard to place new authors and especially those who did not have a solid platform. While she recommended that I send it to other agents, she also emphasized the importance of building a platform.
You may be an introvert, but the good news is building a platform it is a lot easier than you would think. Google ‘Building a platform’ and you’ll find all kinds of information. I would personally recommend looking into Michael Hyatt. He is an author, blogger, speaker, and a former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, so he knows a little bit about what we are trying to accomplish here. I would also recommend his book ‘PLATFORM GET NOTICED IN A NOISY WORLD’. He provides all the information you need to get started, including websites that assist with the creation of your online presence.
I hope this helps someone out there on their quest to being published. I have to admit I was upset and discouraged after receiving the news from the literary agent. I just didn’t know. I could have been working on building my platform all along, while preparing my novel for publishing.
Maybe you’re not looking for an agent but self-publishing. You still have to have a platform. Who is your customer base?
Something to think about.