By Julie Daines.
I just finished up three days at the Storymakers 2013 conference! It was a great event with some wonderful agents and editors, and lots of amazing authors and aspiring authors. I attended some very helpful classes--some of them taught by agents and editors.
When the agents/editors open the floor to questions, inevitably the writers start asking things like:
"What are the upcoming trends in the market?"
"What should I put in my query letter to make it stand out?"
"What genres are you looking for?"
"When is the best time of year to query?"
The agents and editors do their best to answer these questions, but they struggle. Sometimes the writers get bugged. "Why can't they just tell us what they're looking for." Even though these are all different questions, they all boil down to the same thing:
"What is that one magical thing I need to do to get published?"
The bottom line is that there is no one secret, magical, just-out-of-reach trick. They can guide you and offer suggestions on what NOT to do, but none of this is a shoo in.
The only trick that really works is to write a great story. I think is was Victoria Curran who said, after everyone kept asking for the magical secret, "Write what's in your heart, and write to the heart."
A good query is important. Not writing to the trends is important. Choosing the right agent for your genre is important. But the only sure thing that can sell your story is your story.
Write what's in your heart.
Create something that speaks to the heart of the reader.
Write it well.
When the time is right, your story will find a home. No magical tricks involved.