How to seduce a publisher


I’ve been writing a series about how to win publishing deals, which is very nice of me because I’m a big advocate of self-publishing. But if you really want a publisher, I’m providing some tips on how to win them over. There are 10 tips and you can see the full list here, and then check out tips 1#, #2, and #3 in more detail.

Which means we are up to tip #4. Be a beautiful writer.

Ok, this is a hard one. I maintain that you can write a brilliant book without being a beautiful writer. How? Make your ideas are strong and relevant to your audience. And structure them so well that you convey the power of those ideas. Clarity trumps beauty.

But if you happen to be a beautiful writer who is also clear, like Dr Jason Fox, author of Game Changers and How to Lead a Quest, you are at a big advantage. Fox’s description of himself as a “wizard-philosopher masquerading as a motivational speaker and leadership advisor” demonstrate his way with words. (Gees, why didn’t I think of that?)

Fox plays where the rest of us labour. He is funny, self-deprecating, whimsical and vivid. His rollicking approach to writing lulls us into floating along on his ideas until, SNAP, just like that, we are convinced by them.

Chip and Dan Heath, authors of one of the most influential books I’ve ever read, Made to Stick, are beautiful writers of a different kind. They are crisp, conversational, and reflective. They skillfully weave in data and stories to back their case. They are not poetic, like Fox, but they are memorable. The name of my newsletter, Sticky Content, was inspired by their book.

Becoming a beautiful writer takes time. And you don’t need that skill to win a publishing deal (see comment above). However, if you are a beautiful writer, you target the right publisher and you provide evidence in your pitch, you are more likely to win a deal.

Stick to it.




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