Except for the length, all of it is true for indie publishing too. Throwing a badly written manuscript at a few slush pile readers is a lot less embarrassing than throwing it in front of thousands of readers, imho. A literary agent sends a rejection letter in private, but the readers who actually purchase the self published books give nasty one star reviews trashing it in public view.
Yes, readers can forgive some spelling and grammar mistakes, but they are not likely to forgive the badly written and weak characters, confusing dialogs and boring pages.
Are agents not being forthcoming with advice?
Getting ready to submit in the new year?
The definitive guide to what’s wrong with most manuscripts:
1. All internal conflict, no external conflict. Does more happen in the character’s head than in the plot? This is going to be a problem whether it’s literary or commercial fiction. Make sure enough things happen.
2. Pace. The most important thing to get an agent’s attention is to keep us turning the pages and stop us from doing other things. The moment things lag, you’ve lost us.
3. Voice. This one’s more subjective, but the way to check if your book has voice is whether we can tell the difference between whose head we’re in or who is speaking at any given time. Everything about your writing style needs personality. What makes your book special? Your voice. It’s how…
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