Friday, October 31, 2008

Editor-Agent Submissions

Yesterday I promised to follow-up with specific submission requests from Rebecca French Smith, Susan Swartwout, and Anna Genoese, who were panelists at the October 25 Saturday Writers' Workshop. Here goes:

* When reading a query for Missouri Life, among the elements Rebecca is looking for are:
- How does it pertain to Missouri?
- How does it connect with readers?
- Have you writtten for Missouri Life before?
- If you are not a former contributor, send writing clips.
- A clear understanding of what you are pitching.
- A unique slant on a familiar topic.

* For the "Big Muddy" Susan wants stories, poetry, or personal essays rich in place and historical context. For Southwest Missouri State University Press, she also wants:
- Finished projects rich in place and historical context to the Mississippi River Valley.
- Books (fiction or non-fiction) with a Midwestern interest. Her best sellers have been works of historical fiction.
- Query first (everything goes to three readers who decide on acceptances)

* As a consultant for TOR/Forge and a genre editor for Paranormal Romances, Anna Genoese looks for submissions that:
- Are sent by an agent (only)
- Show conflict
- Have a strong narrator's voice
- Don't have anything too "precious" or cutesy
- Pass the reality test
- Are exciting
- Stick with POV
She also noted that "Gossip sells."

But wait, there's more . . . I'm also including some advice from Krista Goering, the agent who gave the morning presentation.

* Krista Goering is a lawyer and an agent, located in Kansas. Krista was the keynote speaker for the morning session. During her presentation, she:
- Discussed how distribution and marketing are key components to maximize book sales.
- Recommended query letters be limited to one page.
- Explained the difference between middle-grade and YA readerships.
- Talked how she works with writers to develop readership with their first book
- Sends manuscripts to six editors; if a ms doesn't sell after six editors have seen it, it probably isn't going to work. (Note: My understanding of what she said is that while she doesn't give up on her writers at this point, the six-rejection rule is usually a signal the ms needs to be revisited and either revised or reworked.)
Okay, that's about all I was able to scribble down in between my pitch sessions. Hope it is helpful. I'll be back on Monday.

Happy Halloween!


  1. Donna,
    I am so sorry I missed the Saturday Writers meeting, but glad that you posted some of those tips here. That 6 times to send out a manuscript is a new one for me. I'm not sure if that is always true? I've heard stories of people getting published after more times than that, but maybe that is one of those general rules. Anyway, I love your "pub" idea. You should post this in the Premium Green group so people know to come look at it and put it on the Blog Love page. Happy Writing! Margo

  2. Hi Margo,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    What I think Krista meant was that if, after sending out a ms to six different editors or publishers and there is no interest, that the ms has something missing and could use some rework. She did state she does work "hands on" with her writers.

    And thanks for the suggestion about posting with the Premium Group. I just did!


  3. Donna,

    If you keep this level of quality up, you'll have people interested in your blog. Good job.

    Hope Clark

  4. Hi Hope,
    Thanks for visiting and for your words of encouragement. I enjoy reading fundsforWriters and your articles on WOW.

  5. Hi Donna,

    Love your blog idea and gleaned some interesting info from your conference visit.



  6. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for checking out my blog. I will do my best to keep it interesting and informative.

  7. Nice blog Donna. I've linked to you at my blog,
    I've been writing for Missouri Life for a few years now and find them very easy to work with. Rebecca is a good and efficient editor.


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