I’ve been following Aussie Owned and Read for some time now, so when they approached me to guest blog, I jumped at the chance. This close to the end of the year, most people are thinking of beach holidays and Christmas shopping. But as much as the year is winding down for me, it’s also revving up. You see, I’ve received an early and much longed for Christmas present: my first publishing contract!
While everyone else is pulling boxes of baubles and tinsel out of storage, I’m embarking on the first round of edits for my debut novel, a YA Paranormal Romance to be published in 2017 by Entangled Teen. To be honest, I’m still in shock, and it’ll take more than one serve of Christmas pudding to process it all, but in the meantime I thought I’d share what it was that propelled my editor to pull the story from the slush.
- The title: The first thing that grabbed him was the title (which, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to reveal as yet). This surprised me. Since titles are often changed after submission, I didn’t think they carried much weight. But the title really resonated. So think of a killer title!
- A well crafted query letter, including a solid pitch: Now, this one’s a no-brainer. If you’re a pre-published author, you’ll have had the importance of a polished query letter rubber-stamped onto your brain. If you’re rusty on how to craft one, check out Rebecca and Heather’s post here for tips https://aussieownedandread.com/2016/08/11/the-dreaded-query-letter/ What clicked for my editor were an interesting story arc, an intriguing MC and voice. It’s not easy, but see if you can infuse your query with a taste of your writing voice.
- Pace, tension and great storytelling: Okay, so you’ve hooked your editor with your title and query. They’ve started reading (yay!). They’re pulled into the story (hoorah!). They still like the voice (phew!). How do you keep them turning those pages? Pace and tension is what carries them through to the end. Make sure every scene has some form of tension and / or story question to push the action forward and keep up the pace. In a Christmassy nutshell, good storytelling is the key.
Now, no two editors (or agents) are the same, so they won’t all be looking for identical things in a manuscript, but it can’t hurt to shine up that title, polish your query and ramp up the tension and pace J
So, what makes you pick up a book and keep turning the pages?
Kat is a Sydney-based Young and New Adult author and teacher librarian who writes coming-of-age stories with a healthy dose of humour and heart. She speaks German and hopes to, one day, read one of her novels in Deutsch.