It happens a lot …. well, not a whole lot, but often enough. “Kurt, what is it that publishers and publishing houses are really looking for?”, they ask.

Have you ever been asked something, and even before you make any attempt at answering the question …. when you’re in that state of contemplation, trying to put some thought into what you’re going to say all within the space of a short second or two, you just come up against a plethora of things to mention, all at the same time, that render you almost speechless, before you utter something like …. “Well, that’s a difficult question to answer!”. Well, now you know how I feel when I get asked this one.

In all seriousness though, there is no hard and fast answer. It’s complex. It’s complicated. It’s not simple. But, on the other hand, well, it sort of is. Let me explain.

You know when you met that special person in your life? Perhaps even before you spoke to them, before you asked them out, before you got to know them …. you just kind of knew. They were the one. No doubts, no maybe, no “I think so”. No. 100% surety. Absolute knowing. This is how it is with publishers. They read a lot of manuscripts. But, when they find “the one”, they know. It stands out. It’s different. It’s edgy. It exists in a niche. It has its own audience, following. It’s sellable. It’s a winner.

So, how does that help you authors? Well, the answer I always give when asked this question is …. Find your own niche. Write from the heart. Put your own stamp on something that is important to you. Write from experience. Keep things simple. Don’t over complicate things. Ask a lot of people what they think …. people who will tell you the truth. And don’t be afraid of what they tell you. Use their feedback to make your work better, more refined, honed, sharpened, more appealing. And lastly, have faith. At the end of the day, having gone through the process of putting yourself out there, you have made a statement. You have gained experience. And you will have become a better writer for that experience.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. And the same goes for your success as an author. Once you’ve done your part, leave the rest to me. I’ll get it seen by publishers around the world. I’ll do all I can to get you there. And with a little bit of luck, together, we just might make it.

Kurt Wilkesmann
Literary agent for foreign markets