Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Put Your Best Foot Forward

thumbs upMost publishing houses make acquisitions decisions by committee.  Having been a fly on the wall at a lot of those meetings, as well as having made acquisitions decisions myself, I know that agents, editors and publishers often won’t read past the third page if a manuscript feels overwritten, under-developed, overly derivative or out of touch with the marketplace. And let’s face it, before you sell your manuscript to the world, you have to sell it to an agent or publisher.

With that in mind, it’s imperative that you make sure your manuscript is in the best possible shape before you even think of submitting it for publication or representation. Here’s how:

1)   Join a writers group. Get honest feedback from fellow writers on an ongoing basis. Find one in your area, or start one yourself.  It’s all about getting together on a regular basis – usually weekly – and reading each other’s work aloud, then feeding back.

2)   Take a writing course in your genre. Whether in a classroom, as part of an adult education program, or online, a good writing course is an opportunity to further develop your material. MediaBistro.com has online courses for authors, and many university writing programs will accept non-matric students.

3)   Hire a freelance editor. I know I’m biased – but this is really key. The Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators (wwwSCBWI.org) maintains a terrific list of freelance professional children’s book editors. You might also check out EditorialFreelancers.com, Elance.com and Guru.com. Whether you go for a simple evaluation or a comprehensive line edit, it’s worth every penny – and will save you so much money, time and heartache down the line. A good editor will not only help you polish your current manuscript, he or she will also help you be a better writer on your next one.

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