(If you're not a writer, you might still be interested. OR you can skip to the bottom and look at this LOLcat instead, which I stole off I Can Has Cheezburger just for you.)
The following pearls are from Kathy Temean, a children's book author and illustrator who also writes a very informative blog on children's publishing. In one of her recent posts, she listed the Top Ten Questions Dutton Editors Ask Themselves When Looking at a Manuscript. Bear in mind, these are for children's books, but most of them pertain to novels for any age:
1. Who is the readership for this book?
2. Does this story surprise me and take me to places I didn’t expect?
3. Is this a main character I care about?
4. Am I personally moved by this story or situation?
5. I this a theme/emotion/concern that a lot of kids will be able to relate to?
6. Has this been done a million times before?
7. Will I want to read this manuscript ten (or more) times?
8. Is the voice/character authentic and real?
9. For picture books: Would this story be visually interesting for 32 pages? Could I easily envision the illustrations for this?
10. For novels: Does the action of the story move at a good pace and hold our interest? Does tension build as the story moves forward?
*For a book to earn a permanent spot on my shelves, it has to be one I have read/will want to read at least twice. There might be three or four out of the whole bunch I've read as many as ten times. But when an editor acquires a book, he or she is committing to reading that book again...and again...and again... Which would be a lot easier to do if you really love the stuffing out of the thing.
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