My question to writers is always, “Do you know why you wrote this book and why it was important to you to tell this story?” I might not ask it directly, but in every part of our conversation, it’s the question that I’m hoping you are able to answer implicitly. When you start a project, it’s okay to not know where it’s going or exactly what it’s about, but one way of knowing whether your book is ready for an agent’s eyes is to test how clearly you can articulate the answer to that question, to yourself and to the larger world. Along the same lines: Can you explain, succinctly, in a way that piques my curiosity, what your book is about? Tell me who inspired you and whose work you hope your own will sit alongside, and then practice describing your book in one hundred fifty words, as though you’re trying to entice me, the reader, to pick up your book in a bookstore and give it a try.
—Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary