Thursday, February 24, 2005

Speed-dating manuscripts with David Long

Raise your hand if you've ever wadded up a rejection letter and screamed, "What, exactly, do those editors want?"

Yeah. Some of you have both hands up. But don't surrender just yet. Maybe editors aren't quite as inscrutable as we have assumed.

Bethany house editor and blogger David Long drew a fascinating parallel yesterday between "speed dating" and editors' evaluations of manuscripts.


Apparently, women who engage in "speed dating" end up being attracted to men with qualities other than the ones the women say they are looking for.

Do women really know what they want in a man? Do editors really know what they want in a manuscript? Each enters the market with a detailed shopping list, but what do they actually take to the check-out register?

If you asked any editor to describe their ideal book, you’d get a variety of answers. I’ve spent over a year partially talking about what I’m looking for in a book. The fact is, that I’ve not yet acquired that ideal book. And yet I’ve acquired books I’ve been thrilled with.

The reason isn’t that I’m looking for the wrong thing. The reason is because when faced with actual manuscripts, my response isn’t based on whether a book is hitting each ideal point I’ve set up. Instead, I look at whether a book is working at some very fundamental levels. Is it unique? Does the writing flow? Is it a story that fits our publisher?

Read the rest and then peruse some of SuperDave's back entries. Even if you're not targeting the Christian market, I think you'll find lots of advice you can use.

Blink - Speed Dating...for Editors


HerWryness said...

I loved that part about the shopping list and the checkout register. I so enjoy reading you. I'm learning from you. You're all the fun of looking at a picture book yet you share all the information of reading a reference book.

Brenda Coulter said...

Your Wryness is very kind. Thank you.