If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a budding author hoping to pen a novel to win the heart of your reader, or you’re an admirer of literature who enjoys reading books and thinks the best way to find an answer to life’s question is through a story. If that’s the case, then I have some good news for you!

Actress and author Emma Swan offers up some tips on how to make a literary agent fall in love with your work.

The One Where He Does Nothing. Avoid This Temptation

Most debut novelists I speak to say they’ve started writing their books on holiday, inspired by a conversation, a trip, or an event. The problem is, there’s rarely anything in the novel that ties back to what sparked the idea. As a result, the novel ends up feeling aimless and unfulfilling. It’s important to have a concept behind your book and for each section of the story to advance the plot. If you don’t, it’s like putting a puzzle together with no picture on the box. You know what happens when you do that? You get frustrated. The book ends up looking like a mess. And that’s no way for an author to present his work.

Don’t Give Up

Once you’ve finished your book, it’s time to get ready for the next stage. Agents usually say it takes time to find your feet and establish your authority in a field, and it’s true. A good agent will recognize your potential as an author and shepherd you through the process. After all, they’ve seen it all before. They know what kinds of stories will appeal to literary publishers. They can help you find the perfect fit in a crowded marketplace. They can boost your profile with their connections. And they can steer you in the right direction when you get lost along the way. Remember, this is not an easy process, and it can take a while to find your feet. But, with perseverance, you will succeed.

Keep Practising

Although you’ve written your book and found an agent, you still have a long way to go before you see any results. Agents are not always able to negotiate a good contract for their clients, and, even when they can, it can take some time to get the paperwork done. In the meantime, you’ve got to keep practising your writing skills. Find some beta readers who can give you honest feedback and help you polish and improve your work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re struggling solo against the world. If you need some inspiration, why not read some of the best romance novels out there? You’ll find plenty of ideas in there to keep your story interesting and your reader on the edge of their seat. Good luck!