Monday, January 04, 2010

What ARE Editors Thinking When They Look at Your Manuscript?

I don't often lift content from other blogs, but today is an exception. That's right, I'm gonna start my blogging New Year as a big fat stealer. Why? Because this is good stuff and if you're a writer and you haven't seen this already, I think you should.

(If you're not a writer, you might still be interested. OR you can skip to the bottom and look at this LOLcat instead, which I stole off I Can Has Cheezburger just for you.)

The following pearls are from Kathy Temean, a children's book author and illustrator who also writes a very informative blog on children's publishing. In one of her recent posts, she listed the Top Ten Questions Dutton Editors Ask Themselves When Looking at a Manuscript. Bear in mind, these are for children's books, but most of them pertain to novels for any age:

1. Who is the readership for this book?

2. Does this story surprise me and take me to places I didn’t expect?

3. Is this a main character I care about?

4. Am I personally moved by this story or situation?

5. I this a theme/emotion/concern that a lot of kids will be able to relate to?

6. Has this been done a million times before?

7. Will I want to read this manuscript ten (or more) times?

8. Is the voice/character authentic and real?

9. For picture books: Would this story be visually interesting for 32 pages? Could I easily envision the illustrations for this?

10. For novels: Does the action of the story move at a good pace and hold our interest? Does tension build as the story moves forward?

*For a book to earn a permanent spot on my shelves, it has to be one I have read/will want to read at least twice. There might be three or four out of the whole bunch I've read as many as ten times. But when an editor acquires a book, he or she is committing to reading that book again...and again...and again... Which would be a lot easier to do if you really love the stuffing out of the thing.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

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Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

Here's another one that should be added to the list (at least to my book's list, apparently): Can I sell it in this marketplace? ;-)

LOVE the cat pic!

7:13 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

REALLY true, Melissa...unfortunately, the market does play a role.

Still, as you know, we have to write what we love. If it happens to fit in the current marketplace, all the better!

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Lisa Nowak said...

The hardest one is "who is the readership for his book" because who you see as your readership may not be who an agent or publisher sees as your potential readership. You might write to a specific market only to be told it doesn't exist, or you're wrong about that market. Sigh.

BTW, isn't remote control cat kind of an oxymoron? They don't let anything control them!

10:26 PM  

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