My literary agent Lucinda Halpern wrote a nice post on what to prepare for a conversation with an agent or publisher. She offers great advice on thinking beyond some of the obvious aspects like audience – though she also stresses the importance of being specific about your audience. She points out how it is important for nonfiction writers to identify “why this book and why now.” I think that is a very important question. I’m working on my next book and I actually changed course early last year because the timing was no longer right for the topic that I had been working on. She also points out the importance of knowing the book’s big reveal.
This is an opportunity to demonstrate your research of books in your category, and make the case for how yours fills a niche. It could be that your research or writing has tapped into something that is previously unknown or not commonly believed, or that you’re shedding light on a little-known story that deserves more attention.
The book world is pretty crowded and it is increasingly important to have a strong and counterintuitive framing.