I participated in a fantastic Writers Workshop with Neal Wooten and Martha Templeton. Some of the information covered was a refresher, but I did enjoy getting their insight into what gets published. They really drove home the importance of hooking the interest of readers in the first sentence and how agents and publishers are like anyone sorting through a pile of potential employees, rarely giving documents more than a passing glance before moving on to the next person.
Neal shared a photo of Snookie from “Jersey Shore” to illustrate the importance of having a platform of potential readers than an author can attract. In other words, the inferior author with the book proposal who can demonstrate the capacity to generate the most exposure online or by word-of-mouth will likely get a book deal faster than someone with vastly superior talent who nevertheless lacks the ability to self-promote.