I know I haven’t mentioned this, but for the past few months or so I have been interning with Entangled Publishing. Well, considering my last blog post was in January, you had to have figured I’d have been up to something, right?
When EP’s Managing Editor, Heather Howland, put out a call on Twitter for interns to read the manuscripts she requests, I leaped at the chance. I’d just started a round of final revisions on my manuscripts and was wondering how I could get more involved in the industry, and at least better my understanding of what does and doesn’t work with submitted manuscripts.
After Heather and I exchanged a few emails, and found we had a similar taste in books, she very bravely took me on!
It’s been eye-opening, to say the least, and I wanted to tell you a bit about what makes an intern like me, send a rave-review about your manuscript to Heather.
For me, the most important thing I look for is voice. If a manuscript has a compelling voice and an interesting story - I’m in: I’m going to read that whole manuscript making notes as I go along. I can look past (minor) plotholes, typos, and the occasional bizarre sub-plot, and start writing that positive review. I mention all the great stuff (sometimes I even quote from the manuscript) as well as the things that I think need looking at: did that scene ring true? Was that character strictly necessary to the plot? Was the voice age appropriate?
Once I've sent my review, Heather gathers the reader reports from her other interns, and decides if she is going to read the ms herself. On one occasion, however, I raved SO much about a particular ms, that I may have urged her to ignore all other reviews and just listen to ME! I’m not sure if she did, but by the time I had finished reading that ms, I couldn’t BEAR to think of it being rejected.(I still can’t!).
Occasionally I give Heather a percentage review. For example, recently I mentioned that for a 20% editing commitment, the return would be a 110% book, and then I leave it to Heather to decide what her work-load is like.
Sometimes I mention comparison titles (books, movies or TV shows!) that the manuscript reminds me of, and that, in turn, has made me understand the importance of including comp titles in my own query letter. It really helps the reader mentally prepare for the manuscript.
I’m going to try blogging about this amazing experience as often as I can. So, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I will answer them to the best of my ability. And, of course, all opinions are mine alone :)