Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Importance Of Being Critiqued

Before you send your manuscript to an agent, it is important that you allow others to read and critique your story. And by others, I don’t mean your mother, your spouse or anyone else who loves you and wants to see you succeed. The person or person who read your novel should be objective, familiar with the genre and the essentials of good writing. They should also not be afraid to hurt your feelings and rip your manuscript apart if necessary.

There are many online critique websites at your disposal. You have only to complete an internet search and a little due diligence to find one that works for you. If formalized critique websites are not your style, try using social media formats like Twitter or Facebook to find readers of your genre interested in critiquing your story.

Just as the best meals can be ruined by too many proverbial cooks in the kitchen, a well-written novel will suffer from too many critiques. If you let ten people read your story, you will have ten sets of critiques to wade through. Of course, if all ten readers point out the same flaw, obviously you should address it. But it is better to find one to two dedicated readers, whose judgment you trust to offer suggestions.

Your critique partners do not have to be writers but they do have to be readers, able to recognize grammatical, character development and plotting errors at the minimum. It is always surprising to discover what flaws other readers can find in your work-in-progress. But once found, your writing will only improve, as well as your chances of having an agent represent your manuscript.

Intern N

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tips for Query Submissions

Now that queries have reopened, it seems like a good time to discuss a few do’s and don’ts for query submissions. Keep these in mind as you consider sending in your query!

DO - Sell yourself and your work as best as you possibly can. You have about a page to really convince us that your manuscript is something we want to read, and if we aren’t captivated by the query chances are we won’t be by the manuscript either.

DON’T- Send your partial or full manuscript along with your query. If we want to read it- we’ll ask for it.

DO- Go over what genres we represent. Make sure you fit into that genre. If you think your query may be read to fit into a different genre, make sure you include something to convince us that you belong at this agency in particular.

DO- Proof read! If you cannot edit the one or two pages of your query for errors, it isn’t a good sign for the rest of your manuscript.

DO- Clearly explain what it is your manuscript is about. We want to know what it is you’re writing about, and the more clear your concept is the more confidence it appears you have in your ideas.

DON’T- Get discouraged if we don’t ask to see the partial. There are a variety of factors that go into evaluating queries, and just because it isn’t right for us doesn’t mean someone else down the road won’t like it.

Intern Emily

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Technical Glitch

We just discovered a technical glitch that was apparently deleting all emails coming into the queries account before we could read them. Don't know for sure when it started, but probably last week just as we were re-opening to submissions. So if you sent something to last week, please Re-Send.