The Mountains of Success Part 1 with Laura Zats

Squeeing, Matchmaking, and the Agent Fist Pump

When I talk about an author platform, I’m not usually talking about reach. For me, it’s not about how many potential readers you can get to with a tweet, or a blog post. Instead, I am more concerned about creating real, lasting fans.

The most successful authors don’t have audiences—they have communities. I like to say that they’ve evangelized their audience, turning the readership into more than just fans, but advocates.

As an agent, I’m the very definition of an evangelized fan—I love a book, so I try to put it into everyone’s hand. But the first step to world domination is getting it into one person’s hand: the perfect editor.

When I’m on submission with a book, I think of myself as a matchmaker. I want an editor to fall in love with a book enough to go to bat and fight for it, convincing the sales and marketing teams that acquiring it is a good financial decision. Indeed, most of my interactions with editors involve me asking what they’re in love with or obsessed about.

So where does the squeezing and fist pump come in? When I get that email or that phone call from an editor, telling me that they have fallen in love. That initial burst of enthusiasm, that love, is something that is so, so special. For a long time at the beginning of the process of selling a book, I’m alone in my obsession. When I convert an editor, it’s not just a triumph for me because I have found someone else who is part of my pack. And it’s not just because it means I’ve sold a book. It’s a triumph because that second fangirl (or fanboy) is going to help me evangelize thousands of others.

And that’s a pretty cool thing.

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