Tag Archives: manuscripts

Five ways to find a literary agent

Our regular guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing shares her tips for getting a literary agent

You’ve written your manuscript. It’s as good as it’s going to be. It’s time to get it out into the real world – and you need an agent.

Many mainstream publishers no longer read work that isn’t represented, which is where the literary agent comes in. Find yourself a good agent and they’ll use their experience to match your work with the best publishing house, and push to get the best deal for you.

If you’re new to the writing game, these are my five pointers Continue reading

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Hay Festival: How to Get Published

I was very pleased (but really quite nervous) to learn that the Hay Festival has relocated my workshop on account of a large demand for tickets.

The new venue has a capacity of 98 – quite a difference from the 30 faces I expected to be addressing. But I’m big and ugly enough to know that Continue reading

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Top five tips for submitting your manuscript

From guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing

I’ve just received a very short, badly written book. I was about to write a scathing critique saying ‘don’t take on this project’ when I did my preliminary Google check, just to see if the author was in the public eye, or if there was anything else I needed to know. The vital bit of info proved to be […] Continue reading

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When is a friend not a friend?

From guest blogger editorial consultant Cressida Downing

I get a number of submissions where the author, in their covering letter, mentions that they have put the manuscript out to a number of friends, all of whom loved it. They laughed, they cried, they think he/she should be published. This tells me nothing except that the author has kind friends. Continue reading

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Jargon buster: what’s an MSS?

I’ve just had another telephone enquiry, this time from a lady wanting to know what ‘MSS’ means. You’ll find that MSS and MS get a lot of mentions in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook – basically they stand for ‘manuscript’ (MS) and ‘manuscripts’ (MSS).  Continue reading

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Think you’ve got what it takes to be a literary agent?

Guest blogger Cressida Downing is a professional reader for literary agents, publishers and literary scouts. She spends much of her time sifting through manuscripts to find those gems with publishing potential.

I’ve just spotted an interesting contest that is developing on a literary agent’s blog. Nathan Bransford, frustrated by ongoing criticism of agents, has challenged his readers to go through the 50 typical submissions he gets in one day, and see if they can spot the three that turned out to be commercially successful.  Continue reading

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How to submit your manuscript to the professionals: is email ok?

Joining us again today is guest blogger and professional reader Cressida Downing. She spends much of her time sifting through manuscripts to pull out those gems with serious publishing potential. So how should (and shouldn’t) you be submitting yours?

Most of my manuscripts are still delivered to me as weighty brown-paper bundles. The postmen around here hate me – I live right at the end of a cul-de-sac – right at the end of a route, and have the heaviest parcels in the village. God knows what they think I actually do.

Today I’ve also read through a handful of emailed submissions, forwarded to me by a literary agent. Pinging your manuscript over as an attachment used to be frowned upon, but is quite acceptable now. Continue reading

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