Friday, April 2, 2010


4/10/2010 LA SCBWI Writer's Day-Queries & Synopsis: Get Agents/Editors Salivating to Read Your Manuscript

Next Saturday I'll be babbling about queries and synopses....yup, you in the slushie slush and how to get noticed, pluck out and garner a request for your full manuscript.

Slush is a great thing. I have found many of my clients through the slush. While publishing is a business of who you know (ie, editors) and knowing what they want (ie. editors' preferences for genre, topic, voice, etc.), that is the agent's game. No editor buys a book because they like you or they like your agent. They buy a book because they LOVE the book and see the potential for it to sell through to paying customers.

I believe the best strategy for writers is to write the best darn book you can. Then go query agents and let them find your ms a home.

Yes, there are publishers who still read slush. And when you go to conferences, you can send your ms to the faculty editor who hopefully is looking for the type of book you write. But in general, most writers look for agents since your job is to write an amazing book, and the agent's job is to sell said book.

Well, I need go go write something brilliant to say to the slushies on Saturday, but I will leave you with some great links since I know must of you will not be flying to LA for this one-day conference. Enjoy!

  1. Editorial Anonymous' To Boldly Give Advice No Man Has Given Before

  2. Scholastic/Arthur Levine Editor Cheryl Klein's Nine Questions & Answers -see question 2

  3. Peachtree's Where Do Your Manuscripts Go? (And Other Fun Facts)

  4. Little, Brown Editor Alvina Ling's Publishing by Committee

  5. The Intern's Publishing Process Part 1.5: Editorial Meetings

  6. 9 POV's on How to Write a Query Letter

  7. And if you are querying me, please read: A quick note about queries & How I read a query.


  1. Thank you Ms.Corcoran for giving such SPECIFIC information and guidelines.

    I noticed when you were talking about how you read a query you said you also look at,
    "what you have published in the past."

    Would you say that it would be unlikely to take on an author who has of yet been unpublished?

    I'm intrigued to hear your answer for personal reasons you see!

    Have a lovely Easter with your loved ones.

  2. I'm also quite eager to hear the response to your question, Ann. :) And I also agree that I appreciate your clear guidelines, Ms. Corcoran. Now only if I could afford a trip to LA next week. :(

  3. Hi Ann Marie and Pam,

    I am more enticed to read the pages of a published author BUT:
    1-I have to fall in love with the published author's ms or I will still not offer representation (this has happened many times), and
    2-I have signed quite a few authors from the slush who have not yet published a book.

    It all comes down to the writing, and the manuscript from which I am judging the writing.

  4. Jill - Thanks for this really practical post! I'm going to refer my students at UCLA Extension Writers' Program to it. See you at LA Writers Day!
    Cheers -- ALEXIS

  5. Ms. Corcoran. Now that was TRULY a specific answer and given so speedily, too!

    So Pam - all we have to do is encompass our ms with MORE enticement than those dreaded 'published' - and this Lady may expect a query from us...right?

    About the LA trip...come on Pam - you write for kids. Use your imagination! Personally, I've got a pocket genie and a magic flying donkey. WHAT ABOUT YOU?

  6. Your welcome, Ann Marie.

    See you next Sat, Alexis. So glad you'll be there.

  7. I love your focus here; worry about the writing and let the agent worry about placement. Sometimes, with all the self-marketing i.e., networking going on now, it's a tad overwhelming. Balance and focus, sounds good to me. Thanks!! Uh, by the way, the photo is frightful. I'm thinking, oxygen tank???

  8. Thanks Jill for these links. I didn't know Peachtree had a blog. Nice!

  9. I will be there on Saturday, listening to every word! I look forward to learning lots of great stuff.



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