Saturday, July 14, 2012

Manuscripts and Diapers

As parents we may have experienced the following at some point:

we purchase BRAND A diapers because it was on special or product claimed it was better than BRAND B. But to our disappointment, babies 'products' always leaked through and we ended up washing the infant's clothes more often than usual.

So we switched back to BRAND B because its advertisement was true to its word and caused us less of a headache.

Now let's use this to compare diaper brands with manuscripts.

As a writer you definitely don't want to use BRAND A method:

*rush a manuscript
*place it in an envelope
*ship off query to agent/publisher


*rushing a manuscript without having it sit for several weeks and going back to reread and pass through new beta readers/critique partners has the potential of a rejection. Remember that as the writer, having put in so much time and effort you feel it's ready to go. Reality says it's not.

*placing it in an envelope folded a hundred times because the cost of the bigger brown envelope was just too much in cost, risks a rejection. You want the agent/publisher to read your manuscript, not play it like an accordion. Presentation of your work showcases you as a professional writer who takes the time, effort, and care of your product.

*shipping off a query to an agent/publisher where you beg them to have a read because it's the next best seller, or better than the Potter/Twilight books only risks a rejection. Remember agents have heard this before. Instead of bragging about another book, make sure your query best showcases your book's value by drawing in an agent/publisher with the 'hook' of your book. And describing your talent as a nuclear physicist won't be impressive if your manuscript is a children's picture book. Keep the essential talents directly connected to the content of your book.


*using beta readers, critique partners, sitting on a manuscript and having several goes until you feel it's the best it can be, NOT because you are fed up and want to hurry and get it out of your hands, has the higher potential for a partial request or acceptance

*using the right sized envelope showcases your extensive sensitivity to some agents/publishers who may not like the accordion. LOL

*using plain white stationary with no gifts/boasting of the next best seller and going over your query with other writers/critique partners is way more impressive. Although queries are a hard entity to master and depends on the editor/agent/publisher reading it, making sure, like your manuscript, it's one that highlights and hooks your intended audience from the start by having gone over it several times, your chances of a note by an editor/agent/publisher is higher than most.

So, what does it all boil down to?


Use BRAND A and end up with a headache because your product has leaked all the wrong aroma out to your intended audience...



where you and everyone else comes out smiling because the product unveiled was neatly packaged.

Lea Schizas is a mommy of five and has gone through thousands of diapers and brands and knows what she's talking about. 


Wendy said...

Sound advice. I love the way you appeal to our senses on all levels and show us how to come out smiling/smelling like a rose. :)

Rosalie Skinner said...

Great analogy. If the diaper/ms/plot doesn't hold water, time to invest in a better brand/tighter ms/watertight plot. :)
Thankfully with an manuscript, all it takes is time, effort and the help of other authors and readers and a good sized envelope. Not dollars.