Thursday, February 26, 2015

How I Read A Submission

I am betting I am not alone on this when it comes to reading submissions, but the approach I take is probably not the same as for an author reading a project. I thought I would give you a bit of an insight into how I look at those partials I request. I have talked through the whole submission process here on the blog in the past but today, we'll look at simply the partial.

Because I don't ask for any material other than a query, we have to assume there was something about the premise of the story that intrigued me enough to want to see more of your project. So I request a partial. This is pretty much standard procedure unless you really wowed me with that proposal and I ask for a full manuscript.

Now, here is where the reading is different from how you read your project. When you read a story, you take your time through it. You slowly process all you have written. You look at the language, the word choice, and the phrasing. You might go back and re-read a passage. You might even read it through several times before you get to the point when you can make a decision about it. This is probably the same approach you take when reading for contests or critiques.

For these partials, I don't linger over the stories this much. I read it like a reader would read it. I pick it up and dive into it. You better hook me and do it fast. I don't contemplate it and dissect it.

I take this approach because, in all honesty, this is how the readers of the world deal with your books. Because they aren't writers, they are probably not into a detailed dissection and analysis of the story like you are.

But please, do not panic. I am not just rushing through the stories and tossing the projects aside. Let's assume you do hook me. Let's assume, like a reader, you have me wanting to read more. When this happens, I go back and review it again. It is at this point I start thinking about the over-all quality of the work. It is now when I start determining what it was about the project that hooked me. Was it really the quality of the writing and the potential it showed, or was it something superficial that might not make it a book that can sell.

If now, after that second (and third or forth reading) you still have me hooked, I will ask for more. And, hopefully, when that project shows up, you are still keeping me as interested as I was in that first quick read!

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