IDEA is in the bag. You got the KNOWLEDGE for where and how to sell this idea. You’re putting together a query letter and package the shows off your PROFESSIONALISM. What’s next?
When trying to sell your fiction or nonfiction work, you have to show them that you take it seriously. Remember what I said before, your idea is only part of the battle. They want more than just someone with a great idea. You have to show them that you know how to write, that you have your own style, that you’re accessible to readers, that you understand story structure, that you are well-versed in the English language and the rules of grammar and punctuation. You have to show them that you’re a writer!
The best way to ensure your work looks as well-executed as possible is the use of multiple drafts. Editors, agents and publishers all told me they were in disbelief with the sheer number of sloppy manuscripts they see, writing that was clearly a first draft.
Writers should never, ever turn in a first draft. I can’t stress that enough. Further, the work should be beta-tested to readers within your target audience. And that doesn’t mean mom, significant others , etc. Find other writers, friends you trust to be honest, colleagues. Be willing and open to all kinds of criticism and listen to the feedback. Stay true to your work, always, but know that another set of eyes can unlock even more potential.
When you do feel the book (or at least the story) is in good shape, then have it copy-edited! Find a professional trained in both AP and Chicago Manual style. Lucky for you, I'm a trained editor! Of course there's an affordable charge, but be willing to invest. A crafted, well-executed, professional manuscript will go far in getting you to that next step of the pitching process, pushing you one step closer to a book deal!