do and don't

So an acquiring editor wants your book

So you went to a conference or convention or book event and you met publishing people. As you gave the one-line pitch of your book to a friend, an acquiring editor leaned over and said, “Tell me more.” You did. And then she said, “I like it. Send it to me.”

First, congratulations!

Second, what now?!

She didn’t specify how much to send. Is this a request for the first 5 pages, a partial request for 50, or what? If she didn’t specify, treat this as a full request. If she doesn’t like it on page 10, she’ll stop reading there anyway.

But don’t send right away. You need an agent before an editor will offer a contract.* So get querying, and mention her interest when you do.

[Name] at [Publisher] requested to see the manuscript in [month/year]. I’m seeking an agent before I approach her.

When most agents read that, they will request fulls immediately. They’ll often bump the manuscript to the top of their pile.

It depends on how big of a publisher we’re talking about, of course. But if it’s one of the Big 5, some agents will read the manuscript that day.

I’m not promising this will happen. But it often does in these scenarios.

Do the same thing if an agent requests the manuscript. If you’re querying while someone has the full, say so. Other agents will think, “Someone else thought this is good, so I better see what the fuss is about.”

The industry is small, so an expert’s good opinion is worth a lot. And editors aren’t just a good opinion: they’re a potential sell.

This is the kind of commendation you DO put in a query.


* Note: all this advice assumes the acquiring editor is from a large publisher. It does not apply to small publishers. Medium publishers fall on both sides of the line, depending on how well-known they are.

Ask a question or add your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s