by Carly Hayward
I've been an editor with Pitch to Publication since the beginning; it is a fabulous event that brings authors, editors, and agents together. I know many authors planning to be a part of the event are clamoring for advice on what to do, how to get an editor to take a chance on you, and figuring out the magic formula to participating. Below is my best advice:
Choose your editors carefully.
Before I get into the particulars of my advice, a little background on Pitch to Publication for those of you that haven't heard of it. It all started in 2015 (so long ago right?) when our fearless leader, Samantha Fountain, came up with this brilliant idea. Her hope was to help authors find an agent and get published. But she realized that the best way for them to do that was to work with freelance editors to polish their manuscript and query. So many authors think that they are ready when in fact a little professional advice would go a long way.
Here are the details of Pitch to Publication 2016:
- It is for authors who have a completed manuscript and are looking to get their book published
- Each author must submit a query letter and the first 5 pages of their manuscript to the editors
- The authors can pick up to 3 editors to submit to
- The editors will then pick 1 or 2 manuscripts to work on
- There will be one month of editing between the author-editor pairs
- Then the polished manuscripts and queries will be submitted to agents participating in the event!
And that's basically it!
Now back to my advice on how to succeed at this event. Obviously, make sure your manuscript is the best it can be. Make sure your query shows your personality and is polished to perfection. Blah, blah, blah. This is all stuff you've heard before (and stuff I've said before). What really matters? The editors you choose to submit to. There are so many fabulous editors to choose from this year (as there are every year). But they all want something different. (Here is another blog post I wrote on finding an editor in general)
So first of all, the obvious way to narrow down the editors: go by what genres they ask for. Genre can sometimes feel like a limitation, but it is just a classification that helps people convey preferences (so try not to feel tied down by genre, embrace it). If an editor wants YA, don't give them Adult. If they hate romance, don't give it to them! It is that simple. I got so many submissions last time where the author clearly didn't do their research. I didn't want horror, and I got a lot of it.
Next, check out their MSWL (manuscript wish list). Beyond genre, a lot of the editors want specific things. Things like a love story, an unreliable narrator, a penguin marrying a giraffe, or maybe something really random! And while they may not only want one of those things, if your manuscript fits the bill, you should submit to them! Take any advantage that you can!
And finally (and possibly most importantly), get to know the editors. We are hosting so many Twitter conversations reaching out to authors. Between the #AskEditor sessions, the WIP games, and the just general chatting, we are accessible! In my opinion, the most important thing when picking an editor is finding someone you get along with. They need to get you in order to get your book. You need to like them, respect them, and trust them in order to take their advice. So talk to us! Get to know us! Reach out and ask our opinions on things. We are chatting up a storm on Twitter and we would love you to join us. All the editors are vastly different but also vastly fun; find the right one for you.
You can only pick three editors to submit to: choose wisely.