Blogger: Mary Keeley
Last Sunday a church friend and I found ourselves in a conversation about the recent presidential election and potential ramifications thereof. They’re hard to avoid lately unless you’re a mole. The service was about to begin and we needed to get to our seats, but the short interlude of sharing diverse vantage points prompted an idea to share with writers who struggle to identify a unique angle for their books. A fresh approach is a must if you want to grab the attention of agents and editors.
Here’s why. A unique angle is one of the first things they look for in a proposal. If it isn’t apparent from the beginning, chances are it won’t get read beyond the first two pages. This is especially true for new writers but also for established authors, because there are no entitlements in publishing. Published authors have to maintain the edge if they hope to get the next contract. So treat the search with a positive attitude because the return will be great.
Your special angle is your friend for these important reasons:
- It makes your story or your nonfiction book stand out from all those other similar books out there. Think like an editor. Why should he publish your book when there are others already available that say essentially the same thing? Or tell a very similar story?
- It tells you what to include in your book and what to leave out. Knowing your boundaries makes the writing easier.
- A fresh new approach makes your book more interesting, which in turn will attract more readers.
But finding that new and different angle can be the hardest challenge in the writing process for many writers.
Here is one approach to help you. Begin by recognizing that the most exclusive part of your book is YOU. You are a unique individual with experiences and perceptions as singular as you are. Dig deep to recall people, personal and worldly events, places, and even objects that made a memorable impression on you over the years. No one else will have an identical response to yours. Use them to your advantage. Ask yourself:
- Why? Be specific.
- How? In what ways did it affect your future perspectives, likes and dislikes?
- When? Was the time and place important to the impression it made on you?
Next, think about how you can use your noted particulars to differentiate your book. Perhaps for assigning a quirk to your protagonist that affects her reactions to events in the plot? Can you also use this to add tension and crises in the story? You might be surprised by ideas that pop up about how to skew your Christian living book’s theme. Even a little bit can be enough to produce a unique angle. Or it might take more thought, but at least you have some tools to work with.
Your personal reactions and impressions are unique to you, but you are not alone in them, so don’t hold back because you think you are a strange exception from the majority. Chances are the reader following you’ve been attracting already feels a connection to your personal impressions in subtle ways.
How did you arrive at a unique angle for your WIP? If you are still working on it, what is holding you up? If you have a different method for pinpointing a fresh angle, please share it.
Your book needs a unique angle to get agent and editor attention. Here is one approach to finding it. Click to Tweet.
Here is one approach to help identify a unique angle for your novel or nonfiction book. Click to Tweet.