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Pitching a book to a publisher? Chances are you'll emphasize two things: 1) your big idea and 2) your credentials -- your talent, expertise, experience, etc....

But if that's all you're doing, you're missing the third, most important element -- your market.
Consider this story:
You may have heard of David Meerman Scott, the guy who got a lot of buzz with "The New Rules of PR" e-book he offered for free from his Web site (the offer still stands). Well, it's about to become a dead-tree book in a matter of months.
Just a few months ago, he pitched the idea to an agent via e-mail. Here's the amazing part: 20 minutes later, David got a reply from the agent; by the end of the day, they signed a contract.
Unheard of! In just two months, David had a book deal, backed with marketing support that's unprecedented for this publisher.
Why? Why was the agent so eager and how did David land such an attractive deal?
Because his book proposal came with a built-in market. In his initial e-mail to the agent, David explained that "The News Rules of PR" had racked more than 100,000 downloads, had been featured in more than 200 different blogs and had been commented on by more than 1,000 people on those blogs.
In effect, David's book was pre-sold. That's why the agent wrote back in 20 minutes and why the publisher is so eager to run with the book.
So sure, next time you pitch a book, describe your idea and articulate your credentials. But if you really want prompt attention and a lucrative deal, bring a market to the table. Demonstrate your book's viability -- that there are thousands of readers already primed to buy it. Because in the end (and in the beginning, too) that's what publishers really want to hear.

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Kranz

Twitter: @jonkranz