If you want to write a book and have it published by a reputable traditional publisher, then you need to demonstrate to an agent and publisher that your book will sell, and there is one very specific piece of information that you need to share in order to help prove your worth in terms of generating revenue.
That one thing is different for nonfiction authors than it is for fiction authors, and of course, there are a lot of other aspects of your writing and experience that play into an agent or publisher’s decision to offer you a contract or not. However, that one thing still stands out as the most important thing you need to get published.
So what is that one thing?
Let’s take a look at that one thing for both fiction and nonfiction aspiring authors.
For fiction writers, the most important thing you need to get an agent or publisher is a phenomenal story idea and manuscript. Your story needs to be well-written and fill a niche that is either untapped but could be extremely well received or add something to an existing, popular type of story. In other words, the most important thing to an agent or publisher is that your story is great and it can fit into a viable place in the market.
For nonfiction writers, the most important thing you need to get an agent or publisher is a platform. Not only do you need to demonstrate that there is existing demand for the book you plan to write, but you also need to prove that the market isn’t already saturated with books on the same topic. You need to show in your proposal that you’re bringing something extra to the table that will motivate people to buy your book rather than all the others on the shelf in a bookstore. However, all of that ‘s secondary to your platform. Agents and publishers need to believe that you have the ability to reach large audiences in order to sell your book. Much of the success of book sales is in the hands of the author who needs to get in front of people and try to convince people that they need to read the author’s book. The first thing an agent or publisher looks for when a nonfiction query and proposal lands on their desk is the writer’s platform. Who is this person and do they have the ability to reach large audiences of people to help sell their book? If you can prove your ability to reach large audiences and move copies of your book and that there is room in the market for your book, then you have a much better chance of selling your manuscript than a nonfiction writer with a great idea but no platform to support it.
Bottom-line, fiction writing is about the story, and nonfiction writing is about the platform. Yes, there is more to it than that, but without those critical elements, you’ll have a very difficult time finding an agent or traditional publisher who wants to work with you. Fortunately, both of those things can be improved with research, effort, learning, and time.