How An Editor Sees It (#10queries)

How An Editor Sees It (#10queries)

How An Editor Sees It #10queries

*This post was updated in August 2017.

I am a participating editor for a contest called #RevPit. It’s an annual contest for writers that happens once a year, in April.

To learn more and see the schedule of events, visit: http://www.reviseresub.com/ 

This event matches authors with editors with the goal of completing detailed edits to have a full, ready-to-pitch manuscript by the end of the event.

The first part of this event is the selection process. Writers select three freelance editors to pitch to from the  10+ participating. (Editors are volunteering their time for this event). The goal is to match a writer and editor to work for a month+ to develop the manuscript and query, making sure it’s in tip-top shape to send to an agent.

The submission from the writer includes the book pitch/query and the first five pages of the manuscript. Each participating editor has a profile which states their “manuscript wish lists”.  For an example, you can see mine here. Once writers narrow down their top editors, they enter the contest via Submittable. The submission window closes once each editor receives approximately 100 queries, or when the timeframe has expired.

The editor must narrow down their 100 queries to one final pick! 

Crazy, right?

During the deciding process, I read all the queries, trying with all my might to select the manuscript I feel I not only a) most want to work on, but also b) feel that I can contribute and help develop it.

As part of the editor’s selection process, we share our reactions of the submissions on Twitter under the hashtag of: #10queries. By sharing our reaction in 140 characters, this helps writers see what works and what doesn’t in queries, and shows how a decision is made on a manuscript.

Us editors love doing these #10Queries, because it provides all participants a chance to learn from the submission process.

For an example of what those reactions look like, I’ve gathered some of my past #10queries for you to see. 

Keep in mind that the way an editor for this contest views a query may be slightly different than an agent, because as an editor we are looking for a manuscript we believe has promise and that we want to develop. An agent is looking for a finished manuscript to sell.

My #10queries key: R-romance, YA-young adult, NA-new adult, SFF-sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal, S-Suspense/thriller, MC-main character, * = possible partial request

Q1 R, All tell, not enough show. No meet-cute—convo doesn’t really move the story forward. Unclear what MC’s goal is.

Q2 R, Punctuation issues. Strong MC voice & want to read more, but unclear how many POVs we’ll get. Good plot/tension set up *

Q3 R, SFF – Strong writing that’s not overly cliché in description and feelings of attraction. Sexy. *

Q4 NA, R – Query is all over the place, but first 5 pages show MC with unique voice. Strong writing, great first line! *

To add to Q4—if the first 5 pages weren’t included, I would have passed. Keep in mind how important a strong query is!

Q5 NA, R, S, Strong plot, not positive who the H/H. If it’s the two forced to “fake” date while they dislike e/o then I’m in. *

Q6 No genre listed. Probably YA, SFF, in future. Nailed the internal/external conflicts. Query & writing is tight, strong. *

Q7 YA, R, I’d consider this #NA. I kind of swoon for British English, so points there. Story dives right in. Love meet-cute. *

Q8 YA, SFF, Strong female MC w/ powers, GMC is on-point. (Goal/Motivation/Conflict). Immediately suspenseful. *

Q9 YA, SFF (dark fantasy) Over 100k words—eek. Strong writing and sounds promising. Ultimately though, it’s just not for me.

Q10 YA, Great writing! Love that it’s more about the relationship b/w two strong females and the important, tough issues they face. *

Q11 Mystery. Female MC unique voice, suspenseful plot, & hinted sexual tension. Think it’s a great submission, but just not for me.

Q12 YA, Paranormal Veronica Mars? Yes, please! Great writing, sends us right in & we get sense of MC & her goals ASAP. Love it. *

Q13 R, betrayal, old flames, British English…love it, but I’m curious if there’s enough plot—not much in query. Possible *

Q14 YA, deals w/ teen/adults issues: anxiety. Might be romance. I’m intrigued, but not sure the query shows enough conflict/plot.

Q15 NA, out of the norm story-wise but still reflects the choices we make in our twenties. I’m on the fence, but intrigued. *

Q16 YA, Love that it’s LGBT, coping with painful situations, and balancing ALL types of relationships. But moves a little slow.

Q17 YA, R, Pirates?! Now that’s interesting. Good writing & story begins in the action. But want more attraction at start. *

Q18, YA, Sort of a Silver Linings Playbook feel. Like the premise, but I’d like to see more conflict and deeper POV.

Q19, SFF, Short query and even though goals and conflicts are mentioned, I don’t really have a sense of who the character is.

Q20, YA, Lost memories, town/family secrets. Sounds like quite the ride. Not the biggest fan of starting story w/ dream however.

Q21 Paranormal R, Interesting start—ghosts, murder, boy w/ big ego, but pass ultimately. Comes down to preference.

Q22 YA, Another story that has an interesting premise, and it’s something I haven’t read before…but just not pulling me in deep.

Q23 NA, R, What forces them apart is good, but not great, and MC seems contradicting in first five pages.

Q24 NA, 20-something drama of college admissions with an added twist, love triangle(!), great writing. I’m in. *

Q25 YA, 17 w/ top skill needs to pick a side & save ppl or his life. It feels too familiar. I’d like a bigger twist.

Q26 YA, Paranormal, strong writing and great dialogue. Brief insight into relationships b/w characters & goal of MC.

Q27 YA. Classified as dystopia, but didn’t see how it is from the query. I’m left with more questions than answered in query.

Q28 YA, Like that it’s about a couple that is already together before we enter the story and how they work through life’s crap.

Q29 YA, SFF, thriller, I like the concept but a lot of what happens in this story seems to be off-screen.

Q30 YA, SFF, MC is forced into situation and the goal/motivations that stem from it don’t feel deep or true enough to character.

Q31 YA, I like dystopian, yet not a major fan of American history (in certain tones). Sends me uncomfortably back to high school.

Q32 Contemporary Romance (my personal fav), strong MC, mention of Veronica Mars (points there), strong conflict. *

Q33 YA, SFF, query is well written, but first five pages are hard to follow. Too much is happening at once w/ too many characters.

Q34 YA, SFF, R, I’m straight up on the fence. The story line isn’t my usual draw, but the writing is strong. Hmmm. *

Q35 Phew—over 110k words for Adult Romance. That’s really high for the genre.

Q36 Contemporary Romance, Good “right for e.o. but can’t be together” situation, but Hero doesn’t have a sexy vibe, so…

Q37 Romantic suspense, Unfortunately the query is choppy and the writing seems to follow suit.

Q38 Literary, R, Based on the age and struggles of MCs it seems NA. Over 110k words… Has promise in query & writing.

Q39 YA, R, seriously anything set in England—immediate points IMO. Contemporary w/ history worked in. Fun characters & writing. *

Q40, YA thriller, This is the first query that’s stated the # of characters/perspectives in the story. Like that.

Results: I requested partials (first 50 pages) or fulls for 12 manuscripts out of 100. Honestly, this was a bit high because I still need to cut it down to a top 3, but I was so impressed by the quality of writing that came through my inbox, and I just couldn’t not request!

What do you think of these #10queries reaction tweets? Does it help to see it from the editors’ side?

*Writing a query and not sure if it will stand out? I provide query letter and opening pages feedback. E-mail me at info@katiemccoach.com.

When you sign up for the KM Editorial monthly newsletter you’ll receive a free downloadable Guide to Getting Published: http://katiemccoach.com/get-published/.

About Katie McCoach

KATIE McCOACH is a developmental book editor at KM Editorial, LLC working with authors to help them create their best story! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @KatieMcCoach.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to How An Editor Sees It (#10queries)

  1. Suzanne July 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Wondering if one of the above is about my query? Would be interesting to know. Good luck with narrowing it down, and thanks for all the hard work reading all those subs!

    • Katie McCoach July 16, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      Suzanne,

      It’s totally possible one of them was yours, but I didn’t keep a strict record. I’d like to keep it anonymous anyway. If you are interested in having your query looked at, I give feedback for $25 a letter.

      Thank you for your kind words, and thanks for reading! Best of luck to you in the event and in the future.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: