And yet, the majority of authors spend countless hours insuring that plot is golden. They insure that all of the "T's are crossed and the I's dotted." When they work on their pitches and develop their queries, they too spend countless hours making sure we know the story.
But again, it is not the plot that sells.
Is the plot important? You better believe it. If your plot has holes in it, or the plot is unrealistic, doesn't fit with a time period, or simply all over the place, I can promise you, the book is not going to sell! We still want you to spend the time making sure the story is solid. But when agents and editors look to your story we look for something else. When book buyers look to a story and then talk it up, they do not talk about the plot. They talk about other things:
- The Characters and how they are relatable to the reader.
- The "true" emotional impact of the story
- The "voice" of the author as it flows off the page
- The quality of the writing that makes it seem natural.
When I talk about books like Endangered by Jean Love Cush, I talk about her command to bring out the emotional impact of racial tension in today's society. When we talk about Little Women, Old Yeller or Where The Red Fern Grows, we talk about the emotional impact of those single events and the journey we took with each of the characters.
As you think about your story, you query letter, or your pitch, think about what makes your story special. Sure, tell us the plot of the story, but focus on the things that truly make your story special.
That will sell your story!