Working for two publishers, one of my toughest jobs is to evaluate manuscripts. While I love discovering talented new writers, one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do is to send out rejection letters. I KNOW how that feels. I KNOW the impact this might have. I’ve been there.
Here’s my list of reasons why I’ve rejected or accepted manuscripts over the last year.
On the rejected side:
– The main characters are under developed.
– The plot has too many holes or it was unbelievable.
– Weak storytelling. (And one of the major issues I’ve seen are POV issues, especially head-hopping.)
– The story started off slow or not in a good spot.
– The writing needs too much editing.
– The manuscript read like a draft.
On the accepted side:
– Well developed, interesting main characters.
– Strong plot, subplots, and resolution.
– Excellent storytelling skills.
– The beginning of the story snagged my imagination and I had to read more.
– The writing needed little editing.
– I couldn’t put the book down.
Some hints before you submit:
It’s fine to have friends and relatives read your work, but most of the time you are NOT going to get helpful feedback. If you have not done so, join a critique group and revise based on feedback you receive. Join two or three critique groups. Do what you have to do to get quality feedback. Finding the right critique group is critical to your writing growth.
Read the publisher’s submission guidelines. Follow them. No exceptions!
If a query letter is required for submission, make it professional. Your email or letter is as important as your polished manuscript. Why would I read your manuscript or excerpt if your query has typos, run-on sentences, grammar issues, or other problems?
Consider using a revision checklist before sending off your manuscript.
Understand the business of publishing and marketing your book.
NOTE: Many more publishers want you to include a marketing plan as part of your submission package.
Question for today: How ready are you to submit your writing?