All agents, admittedly or not, have a wish list—markers that help us determine which writers are primed for our representation. With hundreds of projects flooding our inboxes daily, writers who follow these simple guidelines can catch the eye of an agent and rise like a lotus blossom out of the slush pile. Here’s how to do it.

—by Literary Agent Kimiko Nakamura

Your Platform

Think of your platform as the foundation you’re building for success. It’s made up of everything that qualifies you to write and speak about your chosen topic (even if that topic is fiction) and that demonstrates your popularity with potential book-buying readers. It comprises ongoing relationships with publications your writing has appeared in, leadership/public involvement in associations with a tie to your work’s focus, classes you teach or talks you regularly give/present and, more and more important these days, a social media presence. Publishing houses think authors with success in social media are a good financial investment because they can see that these writers have a ready-made audience. Think of your social media platform as your virtual business card. People aren’t looking for you in an office building anymore; they’re looking for you online.

Here’s a breakdown of popular ways you can effectively elevate your platform and visibility.

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