If I remember correctly, it all began with a phone call.
A friend calling to tell us about another friend’s story. Felt like a long-shot, to be quite truthful. “Just hear him out – that’s all I’m asking,” our friend insisted.
It was a good story alright. Even ending up on the New York Times Best-Seller list for months on end. A first-time author and an unknown name. Not necessarily the typical experience, I grant you, but why not?
Yes, why not.
If you’re wondering if you have a best-selling book in you as well? And interested in getting it traditionally published?
Here are 5 things I’d definitely do if I wanted to write a best-selling book:
1. Put together the perfect pitch.
Write it out, memorize it, and practice it until it’s perfect. And, frankly, I’d have two versions ready: the short 2-minute one (for quick “elevator” encounters) and a longer 10-15 minute one to share over lunch.
2. Get a second opinion.
Request 10 people to look at your manuscript: 5 whom you know (and trust) and 5 whom you do not. Then beg them for honest feedback. Not that you necessarily have to change anything for them, but at least seriously consider what they have to say.
3. Press forward in confidence.
Don’t be intimidated by publishers. Or agents. (Or other writers, for that matter.) They actually need writers like you to make it. Remember, you are what they are all about. You’re the one with the talent and the goods!
4. Expand your network.
Make new friends. This can be a challenge for us generally introverted-writer types, but you just have to push through the pain. Introduce yourself! Call them up cold-turkey. Message them and meet them.
5. Find a literary agent.
Yes. It’s fairly necessary. Why else would all the best-selling authors have one? Try asking around. Find out who your friends are using and what they think of him or her. Be picky. It’s going to be an important relationship.
So I’d definitely try all five of these. Plus start praying for God to open doors.
Then be ready to walk through those doors when He does. Because you never know what might happen!
Sometimes one phone call can take you straight to the New York Times.
Photography: Hannah Acheson