The Author’s Checklist is a literal A-Z checklist. An amazing, wonderful, helpful list.
Agent, editor and author Elizabeth Kracht based her book on common issues she noticed in the thousands of manuscripts she has read over the years.
There is a significant gap between manuscripts that writers believe to be ready for publication and those that agents or other publishing professionals do.Elizabeth K. Kracht
Kracht came to the publishing industry from the author side. Now on the agent side, she wants to bridge the gap between authors and agents.
The Author’s Checklist helps authors identify weak points in their manuscript. The goal? Kracht wants to empower writers to fix common writing errors. Why? So they can become published authors.
Offering tips for authors at every stage of their writing journey, the A-Z headings contain short snippets of helpful advice and recommendations.
Some sections are definitions explaining concepts and jargon. Others act more like warnings. (For example, under “Word Count” the first sentence reads, “Word count matters.”) Other headings include “Proofreading,” “Collections,” and “Voice.”
Here’s an excerpt from one of the tips about how unsolicited queries go. Found under “Agency Guidelines,” I found it especially enlightening.
At most agencies, unsolicited submissions are first read by an intern or reader rather than by an agent. Often these readers are highly educated English majors seeking to enter the publishing industry. Such readers can be less tolerant of mistakes such as typographical errors and failure to follow submission guidelines.Elizabeth K. Kracht
I think I relate to this piece in particular because I’ve eased up with my stringent editing/gatekeeping as I’ve matured in my career. And I’m only just realizing it.
I was SO picky when I was a new writer/editor taking submissions. I wanted everything perfect. Just so. No, exactly so.
Now? Decidedly more tolerant. Interesting. And a good nugget to keep in mind.
Anyway, the tips included in this book aren’t overbearing or too bossy.
They’re handy for catching slippery errors and making them right. The tips are also excellent explanations for what to expect when you’re querying. And there’s some good advice for how to make your book better in general.
The simple solution? Don’t take shortcuts. No matter how much urgency you feel to get your book out there. Do it right. Think through every aspect of your writing and prepare to dive deep. You’ll get there, you just have to do the work.
The Author’s Checklist: An Agent’s Guide to Developing and Editing Your Manuscript was published on February 4, 2020 by New World Library.
The Author’s Checklist Synopsis
An Indispensable Guide for All Writers in All Genres
The bad news: even really good manuscripts have weak spots that are enough to garner rejections from agents and publishers. The good news: most of these problems are easy to fix—once the writer sees and understands them. After several years of evaluating manuscripts, literary agent Elizabeth Kracht noticed that many submissions had similar problems, so she began to make a list of the pitfalls. The Author’s Checklist offers her short, easy-to-implement bites of advice, illustrated by inspiring—and cautionary—real-world examples. Most aspiring authors yearn for a friend in book publishing. The Author’s Checklist is just that.
Other writing-related book reviews
- Set the Page on Fire: Secrets of Successful Writers
- Seven Steps to Confident Writing by Alan Gelb
- Write Your Book in a Flash
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