Thick Skin Ahead: Why you must write for your audience.

reading-freestockphotosI get the impression that many writers think that the hardest part of the publishing process is getting an agent.

This is hardly the case. I know the submissions process to agents is tough. It’s an uphill email battle that makes you feel alone, sending submissions out into the abyss.

I hate to break it to you, but the submissions and rejection process never really ends.

…Once you get an agent, your agent submits your manuscript or proposal to editors who may or may not connect with it.

…Once you get an editor, your editor submits your manuscript to other authors to get blurbs who may or may not come back with some.

…Once you get your blurbs and the book is finished production, you are submitted for print and online reviews. 

The judgment process is never complete, but the good thing is that it’s up to the market (i.e. readers) to determine if your book is going to be successful.

Write for them. Write for your audience.

They’re the ones that will pre-order your book, request it in bookstores, and the ones that will support you on social media. They’re the ones that will determine how successful your career is going to be. Agents invest their time in you and help shape the direction of your career, editors refine the product and get it ready for production, and publicists and marketers make people know it’s available, but the readers will show with their wallets how much they support you.

You are in charge of your own sales track record–the only thing that will give you leverage–so write for them and show them you have staying power.

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

6 thoughts on “Thick Skin Ahead: Why you must write for your audience.

  1. Dear Carly,

    I am hoping you might be able to shed some light on the process of publishing for first time (wanna be) authors. If I have no publishing credits, is it in my best interest to submit my manuscripts directly to smaller publishing companies? Or should I try my hand at finding an agent? Maybe I should consider self-publishing?

    I know this is probably a very difficult question for you to answer, but I am lost in the process! Any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks so much for your time.



  2. I think this could be something that separates experienced novelists from novices. Our first books are often the ‘stories from the heart’ (the ones we’ve always wanted to tell) and they may or may not sell. It might be the career novelist who writes more with an established readership in mind. It’s a good lesson for the rest of us to keep in mind. Thanks for the advice. :)


  3. Hi Carly,
    Thanks for the advice! I honestly hadn’t thought about these things. It seems like each stage gets more and more difficult– when I was writing my novel, that seemed like the hardest part, then editing was more difficult, the query even more so…. and on and on. So it’s good to be prepared in advance for this trend to continue. ;)

    Take care,


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