Anne B. Jones, author of Tides of Fear; Gold Thunder; All Around the Track; Brave at Heart; A Light on Peachtree; Tools for Successful Writing . Visit author's website.
This site is mostly for self-published authors, but with Barbara's gracious invitation, I will talk about my experience with traditional publishers and readers. I found what they are looking for is excellence in craftsmanship.
I have obtained an agent and published seven books with four traditional publishers in less than ten years. I will use Tides of Fear, my serial killer thriller, as an example as to how I accomplished this.
When I started writing Tides of Fear, I made a commitment to excellence. This meant I had to be willing to devote time and energy to learning to 1) hook readers with every page; 2) develop characters readers root for; 3) build a plot that holds readers’ interest; 4) research information to impart to readers (sonar in underwater recovery, police procedure, the pathology of serial killers, and violence); 5) use word choice and pacing to enhance the reader’s experience; 6) build a setting to reflect and intensify the story in which readers can “see” themselves; 7) use sensory details with which readers can identify; 8) create reader anticipation (suspense); 9) write reader-believable action scenes. 10) objectively submit my work to a respected published writer for a “reader” critique. The most important idea to keep in mind is, as authors, our work is primarily to entertain and/or inform the reader, while striving for excellence.
You can accomplish everything I have done. Here are steps I took and you can take too:
1. Attend writing conferences.
2. Join writing groups.
3. Find an accomplished mentor and a nurturing, competent and honest critique group.
4. Read quality books on writing (ex. Keys to Great Writing)
5. Write articles (even if at first you don’t get paid) for local papers, shopper papers, etc to help build credentials.
6. Research and read your genre.
7. Subscribe to Poets and Writers and/or Writers’ Digest.
8. Keep up with publishing and marketing technology and trends.
9. Develop a platform (Your platform includes why your book is important, to whom it will sell, your credentials, and your marketing plan).
10. Learn how to write a pitch, query letter and synopsis.
Click on the YouTube book trailer! Don't watch it alone.