Monday, January 16, 2012

Slushy, Slushy Reading

Tip of the Day: Avoid the temptation to slump on the couch with your laptop, and find a comfortable spot that will support your spine and posture.

I've been reading some submissions for Rhemalda Publishing, assisting the acquisitions editor. If the manuscript and synopsis is really good, I recommend that the acquisitions editor read the full. We don't get a lot of strange, off-the-wall submissions because we ask for 30% of the manuscript and a synopsis. So the writer actually has to have written a novel to submit, not just have a multimillion dollar idea.

What I find is that don't really have a preference for genre. If anything, I'm probably pickier about the manuscripts in the genres I know well because I've read so much in them. If the story is good and I like the characters, I'll enjoy just about any genre, though.

But I have not recommended very many manuscripts. I haven't figured out my percentage, but I've only handed up three manuscripts, and I had slight reservations about each of them. Nobody's perfect, and no manuscript is either, I guess. The manuscripts I recommended had strong voices, likable characters, and something different that made them stand out.

Manuscripts I didn't like? The characters were hard to tell apart, the characters didn't have redeeming characteristics, I wasn't sure why I should root for the supposed main characters, there wasn't enough research done for me to believe the characters were who they were supposed to be. Even in a very plot-focused genre, I have to relate to your characters in some way. They have to be "real people."

And yes, I've also seen the "this is written YA but it should be MG" problem. That deserves a whole post of its own.

Anyway, check out Rhemalda--it's a great operation. They care about their books and care about promoting them. Plus, I'd love to read your manuscript.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


Andrea Mack said...

Very interesting, Kate. It sounds like you're developing a good sense of what makes a great story.

Kate Fall said...

It's definitely a learning experience, Andrea! I see so many manuscripts that have merit but need another rewrite. Thank goodness for great critique partners to tell us when we're ready!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I've heard that reading slush can be a great education for a writer.

DeenaML said...

I love hearing slush stories! So interesting to know what we're "up against" in terms of polished subbed manuscripts, and to hear about those gems that really stand out and why they do!

Emily Marshall said...

This is interesting stuff Kate. I hope you'll share more about your experiences!