1. The writing really stands out.  It offers me a peek into a new way of viewing the world, a new idea.  It’s sprinkled with vivid imagery that not only shows me what something looks like, but creates an atmosphere that anchors me in that world.
  2. I see a clear audience for the book.  It easily fits into a category that I know well and I already know which editors to send it to.  It meets the expected word count and any other requirements of the genre.
  3. It’s a topic/subject matter that I’m drawn to.  Even if I’m not immediately pulled in by the writing, my interest in the concept makes me more curious to see where the story goes.  Topics/subjects that grab my attention include: Victorian London, Hamlet, multicultural and LGBTQ characters, retellings of well-known stories, novels about authors/famous historical figures, psychological compulsions and disorders, stories set anywhere desolate and creepy and lonely (like the desert or the woods), unreliable narrators, and literary/psychological horror.
  4. The voice of the main character comes through loud and clear.  Whether it’s a LOL funny voice or serious, heart-wrenching one, if I feel like I know the character inside and out, it’s much easier for me to become invested in what happens to her.
  5. It offers a fresh take on an already established, popular genre, or delves into a hot topic in an unusual way.  Or it combines two popular topics in a way that hasn’t been done before.  Basically, it offers something that’s familiar, yet unusual, and incredibly marketable.
  6. The author has a fabulous platform.  They have 50,000 Facebook followers, they speak regularly around the country, and their weekly podcast has 100,000 subscribers.  Or they have a regular column with Salon.com, a TED Talk and connections in the blogging community.  Or they’re friends with several other popular writers in their field, who commit to blogging about the author’s book to their 100,000+ followings.  Or all of the above.  Or a handful of the above.  There’s no exact formula or “right” kind of platform.  It’s all about reaching the greatest number of people who will be interested in your message.
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