This Wordsmith Stars post reminds that agents and editors must choose a special few manuscripts from thousands received each year. How do they decide? Here are insights I’ve gained from the Associated Writing Programs Conference & Bookfairs.
As explained in the video below, agents and editors hunt through piles of submissions every week looking for quick reasons to say, “No.”
Erin Cox began her publishing career in publicity, then became an agent and publicist. Of selecting a book, she reminded that agents often receive material no one has seen except the writer’s mother and, perhaps their writing groups. Of the first five pages, she asks: Do I want to read the next five pages?
David Graff had been an editor at Crown and became an independent editor. He advised writers, “to make sure material is as ready as possible.” Graff added that the first sentence and the power and the authority of the writer is what grabs. What market and readers demand is suspense.
Of those opening pages, Graff reminded that every novel is a mystery novel. There really has to be a sense of a major question being posed from page one. If you can thrust the reader into the midst of something, suggesting what could happen, then you could have a reader or an editor miss their subway stop because they’re engrossed.
Writers Relief offers five valuable ingredients for those first five pages, including skipping a prologue, focusing on characters, showing where the story happens and more.
Write me with your story goals or questions.
Succeed and Soar!