In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we want to talk about love. Or rather, how to get agents, publishers, and readers to fall in love with your book. The publishing process can feel unforgiving at times, and it can be easy to spiral into self-doubt. Writers’ block might have gotten to you. Agents might be taking a long time to respond to your queries. Maybe a similar book to yours was just published, and you’re feeling like the market is over-saturated. It’s easy to get caught up in these negative thought patterns, especially when there’s not much feedback coming in.
But this negativity won’t help you get published. Instead, think of it this way: what have you recently fallen in love with in your writing career? It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-critique, or worse, imposter syndrome. When you are waiting to hear from agents, the anxiety only grows. What if, instead, we celebrated our strengths?
“But I’m not a doctor, PhD, CEO, journalist, or expert in anything. Does this mean my chances of having a unique idea or getting signed are grim?”
This question arises in various forms from writers all the time, and we see their hearts sinking as they ask. They are hesitant that they won’t be seen as “experts,” and frankly, they don’t identify with the term. They don’t consider themselves an expert and haven’t spent years in a particular vocation.
But here’s the very good news: if there is one thing you have certainty in, it’s what you have learned—on your own path. Your lived experience is your expertise. A well-known example is what Gretchen Rubin did with her book The Happiness Project, as she tested out happiness principles in her own life for a year. She wasn’t a scientist, psychologist, or philosopher—just a talented writer who was dedicated to trying out these practices. Fancy titles and letters after your name can help, but they certainly aren’t everything. And they are no substitute for a personal connection to your idea. Your passion for your own project is what will attract agents, publishers, and ultimately, readers.
Every author is still on the journey of self-discovery when writing a book. They are going further into their expertise because they are their own first learners and guinea pigs. These ideas that are discovered first-hand tend to be more interesting, counterintuitive, and worthy of a reader’s time.
No matter what level of experience you have, remember that you have a unique set of strengths that can guide you in your publishing journey. If you truly have passion for what you’re writing, you’ll have readers falling in love.