Competition. It’s tough. Are you prepared?

The competition to get published is greater than ever before.

Us in the trenches will let you know that the expectations are very high, editors are on the lookout for specific books, and querying with something good won’t cut it; you need to go on submission with things that are great.

Yes, agents can help you get your novel into tip top shape, but when we get your manuscript and start reading we don’t know if this is the best you’ve got or whether we can push you. Getting back in touch and suggesting revisions takes time, and we don’t have a lot of it. So never, ever, send out something that is ‘good’. You’ll get some polite passes and praise for your writing, but you’re not going to hook an agent that way and you’re certainly not going to hook an editor that way.

So be prepared for what the market is going to say to you.

You can’t be too market sensitive when you’re writing, but remember how tough it will be so put those extra hours in now to get your work into the best shape.

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

4 thoughts on “Competition. It’s tough. Are you prepared?

  1. This is something you just can’t say enough, but it’s easier said than done! I know that I wish I could go back to the first agents and send my revised manuscript, which is so much stronger than it was in the beginning. But at the same time, it’s the rejections/helpful feedback I received from agents that helped me make it better. Maybe it’s a worthwhile trade-off.


    1. That’s a great point. It takes time to get your manuscript polished and every time you think you do you find something else to add. I have clients that go through the same thing with their manuscripts when submitting to editors and continually revising. It’s a never ending process. The revising doesn’t stop until the book is being printed!


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