Editorial Opinion

By Kathryn Comment

Mediabistro talks to Brenda Copeland, a senior editor at Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

[Meanwhile, GC talks to herself and a pair of brackets.]

Mediabistro: Do you have any advice for writers or agents?

Copeland: For writers: When you’re writing your book, don’t pay attention to the market. Write the book that you in your heart want to write. [And then, pray your heart is made of gold and will lead you to its siblings, precious commodities.] Also, write the best book that you can, take the time with it—as much time with it as you have to, because there are very few second chances in this business, especially with first books. So you really want to make an impression. [Whether it’s a “good” or “bad” impression, however, doesn’t always matter.]

To agents: One of the things I’m seeing lately, and it’s a real shame, is agents pulling on that send point that I just made, agents sending books and proposals out before they’re ready. [If your client’s 23 or under, though, don’t wait. Smashed by a 31-year old is your LiveJournal with page numbers.] That could mean a partial of a first novel, and there are very few houses that will acquire a first novel just on a partial. There’s just too many risks involved and we see so many first novels that there’s really no reason to—best to wait and see the novel through to completion and then send it out to the editor. Also, with the popularity of blogs and Internet sites, what I’ve seen from some agents is they just send in the blog material. So? It’s not a substitute for a proposal. The old fashioned rules of putting together a proposal apply now more than ever.