KB: Endorsing Manuscripts?
There’s an interesting trend on the rise lately, and I’m not quite sure where it started or why it’s gaining such momentum. Published authors are being inundated with requests from unpublished authors to read their manuscripts and possibly offer a review or endorsement that they can send to publishers with their proposal.
I’m curious. Who thought this was a good idea?
As an acquisitions editor, I can tell you that the only review or endorsement that would have an impact on me would be one from a published author who actually knew the author. Or from an author I know and trust. But bottom line, that’s not something I look for in a proposal. Doesn’t really matter to me if such things are included or not. What does matters is the writing, not what someone else says about a manuscript.
Now don’t get me wrong. Published authors in the CBA want to help unpublished authors. Which is why so many of us take part in writers’ conferences, giving our time to teach, critique, and mentor. But there’s no way we can take the time to read all the unpublished manuscripts we’re being asked to read. Many authors (including yours truly) have made it a policy to turn down these kinds of requests simply because we know it doesn't really help. Which means it's not a good use of your time or ours.
So what can you do to ensure your manuscript has the best chance of being acquired? Have it professionally critiqued or edited. Go to a writer's conference and take one of the mentoring classes to refine your craftsmanship. Take the time to revise, revise, revise. (Say it with me: “Send no proposal out before its time…”) Once you've done these things--once you're certain the writing is as strong as you can make it--then send it off to publishers. And don’t worry about endorsements or reviews from published authors. Because there's just no substitute for a powerfully written story that grabs the reader from the very first page, holds interest throughout, and delivers on the promise of a great story that enlightens and entertains.
That’s what will bring you a contract, friends.