Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Tip Of The Iceberg

Yesteray I was having a look at Deborah Kalin's archived blog entries (yes, I was fairly bored at work - my tests take so long to run) and I noticed she'd referenced other blogs she follows. Seeing as my tests were taking extra long to run I took a look, and found some pretty amazing blogs. In turn these blogs referenced other blogs, which in some cases referenced websites, at which point my head started to spin. It would seem there's no end of extremely helpful (not to mention entertaining) advice for people wanting to escape from the slush pile (see? I even picked up a new word - the slush pile is the huge pile of submissions on a publisher's/agent's desk). The absolute best of these was Jodi Meadows' Words and Wardances. Jodi works for an agent and is the "first point" of contact for submissions. She reads an average of ninety (get that - ninety) query letters that come in each day, selecting those she feels are good enough for the agent to see. Her blog is full of extremely useful advice, an occasional (always well justified) whinge, and many highly cringeworthy examples of how bad some submissions can be. I'm not sure whether reading her advice first would have helped me with my 'failed' query letter of a few days ago, but I know for sure it'll help me in the future. But it's also scary stuff to read. How does one manuscript stand out amongst ninety submissions - particularly when the submission only contains a brief snapshot of the book? What quality are the ninety four or so submissions that never make it? Are they by semi-illiterate neanderthals whose writing reads like a four year old (God I hope so), or are they intelligent, literate people whose excellent and original submissions were just not quite excellent and original enough?? (noooo, it can't beeee)

But I also know I've only encountered the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot of great stuff on the internet that I should spend time looking at - I guess I need to write lots and lots of extremely long tests....

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