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An Agent's Secrets to Selling Your First Novel

Discover insider secrets for selling a novel from literary agent Irene Goodman. You'll get pro tips on selling a novel, eight reasons why your novel may be rejected, and why it's important to know the genres of writing before you start writing.

Want to know the secrets to selling your first novel? Listen to the OnDemand Webinar, An Agent's Secrets to Selling Your First Novel, presented by Irene Goodman. She is a literary agent with more than 30 years of experience in the publishing industry. Here are a few tips she has for aspiring authors:

selling a novel | irene goodman

To succeed, you must be willing to do your homework. Goodman recommends spending time browsing online writing websites for information as well as visiting bookstores.

  • Learn the genres. In order to establish what type of book you will be writing, you must learn the writing genres. Is your book a romance, adventure, mystery, or something else?
  • Learn the conventions of each genre. For example, most historical fiction is set in European countries--know the time periods readers are interested in. If you want to write a mystery, you should avoid using futuristic settings. If you're writing urban fantasy, it's all about voice and world-building. It needs to make sense and be believable.
  • Learn to hone an instinct for what is commercial and what is not. What appeals to you? What is in style? What will your readers want from your type of book?
  • Learn the weaknesses of each genre. Some genres have strong characters but weak plot. Another example is if you were writing young fiction, you have to hit the right voice, otherwise it won't sell.
  • Learn the market first before you sit down to write. What else is out there that is like this? You want it to fit on the shelf. What does your book have to offer?

Choose the Right Subject

You want to choose a subject that is commercial enough. What things jump out at you? Learn what they are. Your book must be original, yet offer readers something new and be marketable. If you decide to do something completely different, then do it in a big way.

Create an Outline First

A book is like a road trip -- it has starts, dead ends, and times when you can speed ahead. The outline is like a road map because it can keep you focused. If you are one of those authors who can't outline, do what works for you instead. At the very least, know your conflict and your ending. Also, realize that all outlines change in the writing.

Act Like a Professional Author

If you want to be a professional author, act like one. Imagine you had a contract and a deadline. Make a commitment to write X number of pages per day, or schedule a specific time to write. Set goals for yourself, and meet them.

Respect your space, time and craft. Expect this type of respect from others as well. When you have finished writing a book, let it sit for a while. Know when to stop. Don't work on the same book for 12 years. At some point, even if it's not perfect, you have to move on. Additionally, learn how to face the blank screen and keep writing, even when times are hard.

More Agent Advice

When you purchase this OnDemand Webinar, you'll also learn:

  • Eight reasons why Goodman or another agent might reject your pitch or query
  • The professional organizations you should join
  • Examples of writing blogs and websites
  • An overview of major genre-based conferences/writer's workshops you should attend
  • How to get an honest evaluation of your manuscript
  • The best social media tools for aspiring authors
  • A quick overview on indie e-publishing

Want to know more? Buy An Agent's Secrets to Selling Your First Novel now!

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