Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG: What Do Publishers, Editors, and Agents Want from a Writer?

It's the first Wednesday of the month so it must be time for a post from all the folks in the Insecure Writers Support Group. What is IWSG?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

After visiting here, please take time to hop over to other blogs and hear their voices. You can find a list at Alex's IWSG page 
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What DO Publishers, Editors, and Agents Want from a Writer?  by J.Q. Rose

If I could discover the secret to that mystery, I would be a rich person! I have talked with editors and read many articles on the subject, so I  made a list about what I've far. I'll bet you can add some more.
  • Correct grammar and spelling
  • A hook that gets the editor's attention
  • An emotional connection with readers
  • A unique plot with unique characters
  • A satisfying ending with all the loose ends tied up in a neat package
  • The writer follows the publisher's guidelines

Sprinkle all this with a good dose of luck and you may get a contract. Yes, luck. Oprah defines luck as opportunity meeting preparation. When an email arrives saying a pub is looking for a certain kind of story, you may have the exact one they’ll want. You will be prepared to submit your book because it’s been discussed with a critique partner, edited for grammar errors and spelling, and written in the format the publisher lays out in their guidelines. You're lucky you received the notice and you're ready to send in the story. So you see, I still believe in luck and a few prayers too.

Thanks for stopping in today. Have a great day!


  1. I'm co-hosting IWSG this month.

    Since you never know when your opportunity may come, it is best to be prepared. I also believe a bit of luck is involved in the process.

    Nice to meet you.

  2. I hope your book continues to do very well, Janet. Happy IWSG.

  3. Hi Isis, Nice to meet you. Thanks for co hosting and stopping by!

  4. Thank you, Joylene. Happy IWSG back at ya'! Thanks for stopping in!

  5. I agree with all your points, but I have to say creating a great plot and characters who are unique and will touch the reader is easier said than done. I keep holding out hope that a truly great high-concept idea is on its way to me. I sound silly don't I? Like I'm waiting to me my "one true love" on his white steed. Ha!

  6. I'm sure most publishers would like to more of that last one.

  7. Nice to meet you! Another co-host here. Love this advice. Be a boyscout! LOL. Be prepared so when luck comes your way you can make the most of it! Great advice.
    Tina @ Life is Good

  8. All your points were good ones JQ. Here's hoping the 2nd manuscript gets a bit easier in the clean-up department.

  9. Lexa--Get proactive and rustle up that true love on the white steed! LOL.

    Diane--that is the one I hear most publishers griping about.

    Tina--Nice to meet you too!Thanks. I must say I didn't make up all those points. I am learning by reading and networking.

    Thanks for stopping in Ladies!

  10. Hey Leona, thanks for stopping by. There's always hope, but so far,I haven't found that's the way it works for me anyway. LOL..

  11. Hi JQ, another great post. You're right about luck playing a part. A friend of mine worked in a library frequented by a BBC producer. He got to talking, and gave the producer a copy of his book. The producer enjoyed it, and the book was namechecked on national radio, boosting sales. (I guess it shows you also have to make your own luck and jump at any opportunities.) Good luck with your present WIP!

  12. Hi Helena, Definitely a good story to inspire making your own luck! Thanks so much for sharing.

  13. I think it's a combination of luck and hard work. Something like being in the right place at the right time with the right story...?
    And I also agree with Helena about making your own luck! In other words, go out and make it happen! Be proactive!

  14. Hey Michelle, I think you would be a great cheerleader for writers--Go out and make it happen! Yay!!! Thanks for stopping by and cohosting this month!


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