Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Slush pile mountaineers

I had an e-mail today from someone in Canada asking whether I had any advice about pitching to editors and agents and... yes I do. I have my workshop notes from my workshop called 'Strategy and Tactics for Slush Pile Mountaineers' which is about how to sell yourself and your work to editors and agents. Unfortunately for my Canadian enquiry it mostly relates to my experience of the UK market, but it did remind me I did bother to put these notes together for this workshop I've given to writing groups and I should share it!

Here is my general advice about submissions:

Submission is terrifying because you are casting your work into the world and it is going to be judged and you will get rejected.

o Keep track of queries. File your rejection letters (you may need them for tax purposes).
o You can query more than one publisher or agent at a time. If your manuscript is requested by more than one, it is considered good manners to inform parties of this fact. (In fact it may stimulate their interest) Note that some publishers won’t consider a manuscript currently under consideration elsewhere, so check. If an agent asks for an exclusive period to consider your work, set a time limit on this. A month is reasonable.
o Treat any advice you are given as to why your ms was rejected like gold dust. And act on it to strengthen your manuscript before you send it out again.
o Remember that every published author has a huge file of rejections and that rejection may not mean your work is unpublishable. It means it was not suitable for that publisher lists at that time.
o If, even after time, you cannot see how your manuscript needs improvement, consider getting it critiqued professionally (ask for recommendations of bona fide critiquing agencies) or working with a critique partner or group.

If you'd like a copy of the full notes please don't hestitate to e-mail me.


Post a Comment

<< Home