You wanna write books that’ll sell? Sell them to yourself first.
The more years I spend writing, the more I see the benefits of having a workable pitch before I start writing, and the more I beg others to do the same. This helps keep the focus of the project as narrow as it should be, and this has also helped me pick which project to work on first many, many, many times.
I’ve talked about this before, but just write up a list of projects, and a one to two sentence pitch. Share with a group – separately. See which ideas people are attracted to.
Keep this basic:
Boy learns he’s a wizard and goes to wizarding school where he finds friends and discovers the world’s most evil wizard is still alive.
Ask yourself – which ones sound the most exciting when I can only share one sentence? Which stories were easy to write a one-sentence pitch for? (If it was easy for you to write that pitch, it’ll be easier for the chain of people who will possibly be selling your book).
Having a hard time with this? Write up a one-sentence blurb for a few of your favorite books, and then work on your own.
You know those Publisher’s Marketplace announcements? Read a few of those. Can you write one for your novel? Does it sound like something you’d sell your favorite pair of shoes (or insert other beloved object here) to read?
NO? Drawing board. Go.
I’m going to use the one for Kathryn Purdie’s BURNING GLASS, since she was nice enough to give me an ARC 🙂 (You’ll note the title change)
Do a search for the PM announcement for authors’ books that are similar to your own. Go ahead, write your own PM announcement – that has to be good for your mojo, yeah?
Write out a full blurb or query for each project.
First, the more clear and concise the blurb, the better you understand the story.
Second, again, send your blurbs to your agent if you’re agented, or to a few writing friends.
Third, I promise that the easiest ones to blurb, are often the projects with more commercial appeal, and projects that you’re more prepared to write than the others.
If you’re still stuck… Let’s say you’re down to 1-3 ideas that you’d like to tackle next, write out the synopsis. And don’t fake it by doing bullet-points. Do a full-on synopsis. Sell that storyline as if you’re selling that storyline to your dream agent or publisher.
If you’re STILL not sure what to write, jump in and start a few different projects. One of the characters will grab you and won’t let you go. I can almost guarantee.