Making Your Work Rejection-Proof
Share It with 7 Kinds of Readers
Before approaching agents or editors, ensure that every word is right and your proposal or manuscript is as enjoyable to read as you can make it. Create a network with seven kinds of readers who can advise you on how to improve your work:
1. Friends and family
2. Potential buyers of your book
3. Literate, objective readers
4. An on- or off-line critique group whose members will give you feedback as you write your proposal or manuscript and when you finish it. An article at http://www.writermag.com/wrt/pdf/groups.pdf will show you how to start a group.
5. Experts and authors who are knowledgeable about your kind of book
6. A devil’s advocate, a mentor who can combine truth and charity, spot everything in your work that you can improve or remove, and show you how to do it
7. A freelance editor, an optional possibility if you’re not getting the help you need from your reading network. Use your networks, the Web, or Literary Market Place to find an experienced freelance editor who has worked on books in your field that have been published by houses that you want to publish your book.
Spare the Reader, Not the Writer
Write this injunction in large letters on every copy of the proposal or manuscript that you share with your professional networks online or off. Models to emulate: Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, who share their stories with forty readers, ask them to grade the stories on a scale of one to ten, and use just the 9.5s and 10s. Ask your readers for an overall rating for the writing and impact of your work, and ratings for anecdotes or scenes in your work that you want to have humorous, dramatic, or inspirational impact. Ask them to email you how your book affected their lives, valuable information you can use in talks, books, articles, and on your website.
Adapted from How to Get a Literary Agent by Michael Larsen.
Michael Larsen-Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents
Helping Writers Launch Careers Since 1972
415-673-0939 / Members: AAR
1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, California 94109
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.larsen-pomada.com