Agent Michael Larsen Talks 12 Ways to Excite Pros About Your Novel

A novel has been called a piece of prose that has something wrong with it. Here’s how to ensure your novel has nothing wrong with it: 12 ways to get agents and editors excited about your work.

Michael Larsen and his wife Elizabeth Pomada
founded Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents and
run the Writing for Change Conference (Nov. 13-14,
2010 in San Francisco).
Michael is the author or
of How to Write a Book Proposal.
He runs
a new agent blog, as well. To see the
nonfiction topics he seeks, click here.



1. Your idea: new, creative, timely, informative, entertaining, transformative, commercial, helpful, aimed at a large, proven market.

2. Your writing: style, tone, humor, drama, inspiration, insights, voice.

3. Your irresistible first page: compels editors to turn the page.

4. Your readers: the community of readers who give you feedback while you’re writing your book and when you’re done.

5. You: your passion, commitment, track record, credentials.

6. Your platform, visibility online and off: blog, short stories, teaching, speaking, a blog, social media, networks.

7. Your test-marketing: a blog, podcast, e-book, self-published edition, serialization, website.

8. Your promotion plan: a list of things you will do, online and off, and how many of them, a budget.

9. Your book’s promotion potential: online and off, reviews, media interviews, endorsements.

10. The markets for your book: consumers, libraries, subsidiary rights, reading groups.

11. Your future books: your book’s series potential, the synopsis for your next book.

12. Your book’s spinoff potential: merchandising products, short stories, music.

There’s a Sipress cartoon in The New Yorker showing a medieval torturer in a dungeon standing in front of a guy being stretched on a rack, and he’s saying: “Don’t talk to me about suffering—in my spare time, I’m a writer.” Using these ideas will lessen your suffering on the road to publication.

(Michael previous guest blogged regarding his best tips for writers and their career. It was a three-part series and Part
I is here

Michael Larsen’s book, How
to Write a
Proposal (now in its third
edition) has
sold more
100,000 copies and
helped countless writers
sell their work.

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