Now that we’re well into the revision period for Author Mentor Match Round 8, I wanted to share some very quick statistics.
I requested any type of manuscript that had some element of magic or unreality to it. Fantasy, science-fiction, horror. Didn’t matter. The only thing I didn’t want was contemporary. And every one of the 51 submissions I received met the criteria I had asked for, so that was great.
Ten writers submitting to me clearly identified themselves as writing #OwnVoices stories, three were somewhat confusing (queries are hard), and the rest didn’t self-identify.
I requested three full manuscripts: two fantasy and one science fiction. Two of those landed with a mentor, and I sent a short edit letter with all my reading notes to the one who did not.
After mentees were announced, I offered on Twitter to do a few lines of feedback for anyone who asked, and 20 people took me up on that.
Two things that really struck me as I went through my submission were the first pages and queries. A lot of queries were very rough, and while this had no bearing on reading for me, it’s worth taking the time to go through the Query Shark archives and swap with friends to make sure that you are at least hitting the standard format.
I know everyone says first pages are important, and before I looked at 51 MS I would have said, oh, yes, first pages are important. But they are so much more so than I realized. Everything I requested, I loved by the end of the first page. I kept reading, but if that first page didn’t grab me, I never ended up grabbed. Swap your first pages with people!
If you submitted, please take a moment to feel really proud of yourself, whether you got a request or not. It takes tremendous skill and commitment to write a novel and more to revise it. And then it takes courage to send it out, knowing that most people won’t connect to it for idiosyncratic reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book but which can still hurt.
Keep writing. Keep revising. You’ve got this.