Is Your Manuscript Ready for Prime Time?

I guess Blogger wants me to use the new interface–it refused to save my post today. I was trying to post about finished manuscripts–whether your novel or memoir is really ready to shop.
Writing Tip for Today: How can you get your manuscript ready to shop?

  • Five Good Readers. You can get feedback from five readers of your genre, but remember, if these folks are your friends or relatives, they’re already biased. Print out your manuscript and load it into a binder or make a pdf and load onto an e-reader. Ask for specific feedback: where did your interest flag, where were the best parts, how did you like the character, etc. Most readers who aren’t editors (and some who are) will do line edits no matter what, but that’s OK.
  • Knowing is Doing. You’re probably going to get a lot of nos before you get a yes. If you attend a writer’s conference this year or next, go ahead and pay to pitch a few agents. Maybe not your dream agent, but ones who rep your genre at least. Use their reaction as valuable feedback.
  • Find a Mentor. Sometimes you can get better results from a mentor than from an editor. There are good editors out there, but many will fix the cosmetic stuff and completely overlook the structural issues. You shouldn’t pay someone to edit a novel that needs help in the story department or a complete reorganization. A mentor can help you learn the elements of story.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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