Onto our next installment of the Beyond the Lobby series, where we uncover the deep, dark caverns of publishing; shed light on myths and reveal secrets only a few elite know.
Okay, enough with the drama and suspense. We greatly enjoy answering your questions and we received a fabulous question from Allegra Young via Twitter. Allegra asked
Who reads manuscripts & how many per week? How can you suss out the “maybe they’ll work” from the “this is a waste of time”?
So we put the question to one of our editorial geniuses and here’s what Zoe Maslow, Doubleday Canada Managing Editorial Assistant, had to say on the matter:
At Doubleday, we rotate who will read incoming manuscripts based on interests and expertise, but most are read by two people. If we get a hot submission in from an agent, though, it’s likely to be an “all hands on deck” situation.
As for how many manuscripts we read each week, it varies. If we’re in the middle of the Frankfurt Book Fair, it can be as many as fourteen submissions in a work week. That can get kind of crazy, but it’s what makes the editorial department exciting, too.
In terms of how we decide what’s working, it really depends on a number of factors. The first step is if the reader can’t put the book down, or if we think that a manuscript has incredible potential. But we also have to consider the shape of our lists, and the other books we’ve committed to publishing over the next few years. If we get a submission that deals with exactly the same subject matter as a different title we’re working on, it becomes harder for us to publish it.
So there you have it, friends. Stand out by writing something gripping and cross your fingers that someone hasn’t beat you to the punch.
Do you have questions about anything publishing-related? Leave us a comment below with your question or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask us and we’ll get you some answers from the people in the know!