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Society & Culture

The Manuscript Academy

Updated 11 days ago

Society & Culture
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The Manuscript Academy brings you conversations with agents, editors, and writers who can help you on your publishing journey.

Read more

The Manuscript Academy brings you conversations with agents, editors, and writers who can help you on your publishing journey.

iTunes Ratings

115 Ratings
Average Ratings
106
6
3
0
0

iTunes Ratings

115 Ratings
Average Ratings
106
6
3
0
0
Cover image of The Manuscript Academy

The Manuscript Academy

Updated 11 days ago

Read more

The Manuscript Academy brings you conversations with agents, editors, and writers who can help you on your publishing journey.

Rank #1: Episode 22: #TenQueries with agent John Cusick

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We asked agent John Cusick at Folio Literary to narrate his inbox, #TenQueries style.

Just like #TenQueries on Twitter, he described what he was seeing--but you can hear in his voice when he gets surprising mistakes (and great queries!).

If you've ever wondered if agents are making up the stories of what's in their inbox (hint: if anything, they don't talk about the strangest things they receive), this is the episode series for you!

While we had him, we asked about his experiences with live pitches--and the awkward and wonderful moments he's had during these meetings. What works for him? What can you do to improve your interactions with agents? Listen in!
Oct 06 2017
22 mins
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Rank #2: Episode Six: How To Spend Ten Minutes With An Agent

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In this episode, Jessica and Julie how tell you how best to spend ten minutes with an agent--whether in a pitch session, an office hour, a craft meeting, or stuck in an elevator.
Dec 07 2016
7 mins
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Rank #3: Episode 34: #TenQueries with Jessica

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We join Jessica to talk #TenQueries in her inbox, and what we can learn from them--and from submissions in general.

In addition to common mistakes and inbox trends, you'll learn why you shouldn't overestimate your competition--and why all of Jessica's interns end up feeling better about their own writing after reading queries. (Hint: If you're doing ANY research, you're in the top 50%. This podcast counts as research! Feel good about yourself.)
May 16 2018
29 mins
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Rank #4: Episode 36: #TenQueries with Agent Kelly Van Sant

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Join Kelly Van Sant, literary agent at Red Sofa Literary, to analyze ten random queries in her inbox. Along the way, learn how she decides when to say yes, when to say no, and when to decide later--how common it is that people don't even get her name right--and why a query doesn't have to be perfect (but does have to be great) to get a yes.

You can book time to go over YOUR query at http://manuscriptacademy.com/kelly-van-sant/.

Kelly Van Sant has a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She cut her teeth in New York working at esteemed literary agencies such as Writers House and Harold Ober Associates. After relocating to Minnesota, Kelly joined Llewellyn Worldwide as their Contracts Manager across all three imprints and then moved to Quarto Publishing Group USA where she led the contract department.

She has worked as a freelance editor and is a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center. She also blogs about writing and the publishing industry at Pub(lishing) Crawl and co-hosts their weekly podcast. Kelly’s career came full circle when she realized that her true passion was advocating on behalf of authors. She is now an agent at Red Sofa Literary and actively building a client list. You can learn more about her and what she’s looking for on her website www.penandparsley.com
Jun 12 2018
27 mins
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Rank #5: Episode 23: Comp Titles with Rachel Ektrom Courage

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We asked Rachel Ekstrom Courage to talk about comp titles--comparative and competitive works that can, when used correctly in your pitch, give an agent a quick (and useful) idea of what your work is like, where it would fit in the marketplace, and who would read it.

When used badly, comps can read like "This is Harry Potter meets The DaVinci Code meets Eat, Pray, Love"--both vague and an indicator of a lack of research.

How do you use them to your advantage? Listen in!
Oct 12 2017
18 mins
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Rank #6: Episode 39: Editors, Query Mistakes, and The Best Cookies Ever

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We talk with agent Whitney Ross at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency about why she never says she *doesn't* want something in her inbox, the different levels of editors and why they matter--why you don't need a master's to work in publishing.

Then we veer into delicious territory, talking about the best chocolate chip cookies, how to hide the taste of cake mix, and Whitney's husband's winemaking abilities. We also talk about television reboots, including Jessica's favorite, Daria.

We discuss common query mistakes, what they mean for you--and Whitney's best tips for maximizing your success.

Whitney says: You HAVE to make the cookies. Here's the recipe: http://forme-foryou.com/2011/08/the-only-chocolate-chip-cookie-i-will-ever-need-to-know-how-to-make-for-the-rest-of-my-life.html
Jul 16 2018
40 mins
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Rank #7: Episode Thirteen: Our First First Pages Episode

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Welcome to our very first First Pages episode! In this new series, we'll be discussing the most interesting first pages we can get our hands on--YOURS! We'll ask agents and editors to join us in finding the lessons in these pages that not only improve this work--but give you ideas for your own. Want to submit a page for consideration? Send it to Academy@ManuscriptWishList.com.

We're joined this week by the lovely and talented literary agent Linda Camacho of the Prospect Agency. You can view her class, How To Write A Manuscript That Gets and Keeps Everyone's attention, in The Manuscript Academy's A La Carte classes section: http://manuscriptacademy.com/a-la-carte-classes/

For your reference (if you'd like to read along at home), here's the first page we'll be discussing this week:

Strawberry Season
I pick up the gun making sure not to ruin my new manicure and pull the carnival rifle to my chest, peering down the barrel at the long rows of colors until I see the first yellow star. Just like at target practice. Thank you, Dad! Brace the legs. Grip the ground. Take a deep centering breath. Give my hips a little swirl to the beat of the music pumping its way through the Sagadahoc Strawberry Festival. And boom! Bull’s eye.

“Two more to go!” I turn to Renee, my oldest friend in Maine and the most down to earth chick I know, and say, “I’m going to bring home a two-foot strawberry.” I gesture to the obscene looking overripe stuffed fruit hanging from a large hook in the ceiling.

Renee raises unplucked brows underneath fringy bangs. “Just what you need… at the blueberry farm.” She leans in close and whispers, “Seriously, all of these games are rigged. Don’t waste your money. If you waited tables with me at The Muffin, you wouldn’t be wasting it all on this…. ridiculousness.”

“Play with me! Live a little! ” I raise the gun in the air. “Come on, you know you want to.”

“I’ve gotta go to the bathroom.”

“You picking the Port-O-Potty over my mission?”

Renee points past the tilt-a-whirl, toward the line that extends almost all the way around the Fun House. “You are a total freak. Stay right here. The cell service is horrible. If I lose you, I might not be able to find you again. And trust me, it’s a long walk back home.” I give her a cheeky wink. “You are a freak, California girl,” Renee says before shoving both hands into her sweatshirt and heading into the crowd.
Feb 28 2017
12 mins
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Rank #8: Episode Three: A Conversation With Amanda Shih

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Join us for a conversation with Perigee/Penguin editor Amanda Shih. We'll discuss rejection, boxing, platform--and how to have your very own art heist.
Nov 16 2016
28 mins
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Rank #9: Episode Four: A Conversation With Agent Linda Camacho

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Join us for a chat with literary agent Linda Camacho (Prospect Agency) to talk about marketing, agents getting rejected, and the horror films you should definitely be watching. Even if you're scared. Like Jessica.
Nov 21 2016
26 mins
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Rank #10: Episode 41: #TenQueries with Agent Roseanne Wells

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Agent Roseanne Wells of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency goes through her query inbox, narrating for us both what's in there and what writers can learn from these works. We discuss everything from picture books to adult sci fi, tropes (for queries and in books) that work and are best avoided, and personalization that reads as such--and how we can tell if it's a simple cut and paste to all the agents on your list.

We also talk about what works for illustrators, and styles in query sentences that set you apart in a bad way. We have a short lesson on Caps For Emphasis, and the difference between strong female characters and Strong Female Characters.

We then share some of Roseanne's insights from her Worldbuilding 101 class (available in the Full Library), and talk about how even contemporary needs it--every book, after all, needs a world.

You can follow Roseanne at https://twitter.com/rivetingrosie.
Aug 15 2018
16 mins
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Rank #11: Episode 43: Great First Lines with Agent John Cusick

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We speak with agent John M. Cusick of Folio Literary Management about great first lines, what they can do for your work--and how they can make a good first impression that will stick with your reader, whether in a bookstore or in the slush pile.

John's class is available (with our full library of classes) at ManuscriptAcademy.com.

You can find him online at JohnMCusick.com, or at https://twitter.com/johnmcusick
Sep 12 2018
24 mins
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Rank #12: Episode 31: First Pages with Author Cameron Rosenblum

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Longtime critique partners Julie Kingsley and Cameron Rosenblum dive into another first page for The Manuscript Academy Podcast. Join them for a quick reading and review of contemporary YA first page. Repped by the fabulous Brianne Johnson, a Senior Agent at Writer’s House, Cameron is a school librarian, who served as a judge for the CYBIL’s Award and was a guest blogger for the Nerdy Book Club.

This page by author Lauren Shade.
CHAPTER ONE
SADIE

I can't get caught.

My stomach turns as I unclench my fists and wipe my palms down the side of my shorts. I can’t. I am so close…so close to the truth I can taste it, and if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again.

I keep my eyes locked on the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my bent knees, in the area where my boobs meet the underwire of my bra. My heart beat drums in my ears, much louder than the air conditioning or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open terrace doors. The wall separating us is streaked yellow with sunlight. I can almost see her through it, phone pressed against her ear, probably pacing and definitely with a drink in hand, but nowhere close to suspecting what’s going on right under her nose. With a shaky breath, I inch my hand into my mother’s coat pocket. Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touching metal and plastic.

This is wrong. Stealing her keys. Breaking into her office.
I should stop.
Maybe I should listen to Dante’s advice for once.

The first time he told me some things were better left alone was when I was twelve. It was during primary school. I would spend each summer at the Arzola Estate in Coral Gables.

The manicured lawns were my playground. The ocean front was a mini paradise I would swim in for hours on end. One day when the chauffeur dropped me off, he turned to me with dead-set eyes and said, “Nobody has this much money unless they’re involved in bad things; if you know what I mean.” But, I didn’t know what he meant…though I’d soon find out.
Dante and I used to love playing hide and seek at night.

That night was no different.

The mansion was a fortress. I would fade into the shadows of the hallway or climb the stairs to the third floor, maybe higher to the fourth where the library was and the art studio. This time I was it. I stood in the middle of the common room, shouting the countdown behind cloaked eyes and a smile that grew wider by the second. When I finally found him, Dante was hiding outside the boathouse, but he wasn’t hiding from me. There was a blizzard in his eyes, a frozen panic that raised chill bumps on my arms. He had turned into a statue—stone-faced and stone-silent. I was cautious as I approached him.
“Dante?”

Pop!

I jumped as the gun exploded.

A metallic jingle—the keys scraping against each other. The memories vanish, and I’m back in the den. My mother’s voice floats from the next room, low and quick. I strain to make out the conversation she’s having, gauge how close or far she is, but her words all mesh together.

Focus.

“Damn it, Javi! Who gave him access to the accounts? Do I need to come there myself?”

I go completely still, the keys swinging back and forth in my fingers. In the kitchen, cabinets open with a creak and shut with a bang. Her accent draws closer as though she’s walking toward the living room. I pinch my eyes closed and grit my teeth until my jaw starts to ache, and though inside I’m on fire, outside I’m ice. I’m Dante on the night we heard those noises.
Apr 04 2018
11 mins
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Rank #13: Episode Fourteen: First Page Podcast With Agent Caitie Flum

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In this new feature, we invite an expert--tonight, Caitie Flum of Liza Dawson Associates--have them pick a page from our kind volunteers. We then talk about the lessons in this page--what editorial feedback we'd suggest--and how this can apply to the pages you're writing at home.

Want to volunteer as tribute? Submit your page for consideration by sending it to Academy@ManuscriptWishList.com as a Word document. Please put "First Pages Podcast in the subject line."

If you'd like to follow along at home, please scroll down to see this week's page.

My Life Without You by Lindsey Danis
It’s the last day of the first week of school and the air has this incredible warmth, like summer’s just a tease. I unzip my navy-blue mechanic’s jacket, which I’ve been warned is not sanctioned as school uniform. I’m meeting my best friend Birdie at our sanctuary, the appropriately named Haven Diner. The Square feels like home and I breathe in its smell of incense, sweat, and garbage, happy to be here.

Harvard Square is about a mile from my parents’ house (correction: my father’s house) and it’s ground zero for any street punk/riot grrrl/alternative kid in the Boston area. Street artists, protesters, musicians, writers—everyone who cares about arts, culture, and activism hangs out here, learning from and inspiring one another.

The Square as we all call it shares nothing but a name with that Ivy League school. You would think it would be totally pretentious, just like the university barricaded behind 27 iron gates, but it’s the opposite. Harvard students cut across to go from dorm to class and back again, but the Square belongs to everyone. University janitors eat their packed sandwiches and rub shoulders with teen runaways, retail store clerks take smoke breaks, homeless folks play chess outside the coffee shop. Even the diehard Cambridge hippies pause and take in the scene on their way to poetry readings or theater performances.

Worlds blend and cultures mix, especially when you’re waiting outside Haven for a seat. Popular girls from my old school who would never smile at me in the hallways call out my name to ask how summer was. At my new school I may be the weirdo, but whatever I am is all right here in the Square. There’s no judgment.
Mar 09 2017
13 mins
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Rank #14: Episode 32: Agents, Lawyers, and Contracts: Melissa Edwards of MLE Consulting

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Melissa Edwards (agent at Stonesong Literary, former lawyer, and founder of MLE Consulting) joins us to talk contracts, specialties, and what happens when another kind of lawyer attempts to negotiate a publishing contract. You'll learn the worst clause she's ever seen (it's so bad you guys), what will stay the same pretty much no matter what--and why these rights matter.

You'll also learn about why you don't HAVE to have an agent to get a good deal--and how Melissa's new venture, MLE Consulting, can make sure no one has to sign a bad contract again. See https://www.melissaedwardsesq.com/.

Melissa also has a great habit of sharing writing prompts with her friends. We asked for today's, and we really want to know! How does other people's advice play a role in your life? Talk about this with your new writing friends at ManuscriptAcademy.com/Facebook.
Apr 16 2018
26 mins
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Rank #15: Episode 40: Jennifer Thermes: Finding Your Creative Voice

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Julie talks with award-winning author-illustrator Jennifer Thermes about the relationship between text, images, and the picture book process--why it takes so many hours to find your creative voice--and how focusing on the long game is what will get you through the ups and downs of publishing.

JENNIFER THERMES is a children’s book author, illustrator, and map illustrator. She graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in Communication Design. Her books have received a Kirkus starred review, been included in several Bank Street College lists, and been recognized in 3×3 Magazine’s Children’s Illustration Annual.

A Horn Book Magazine review described Jennifer’s black & white art as “warm pencil drawings reminiscent of Lois Lenski.” She has created maps for books including Thornghost, The Emperor’s Ostrich, and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.

Jennifer lives with her family and an assortment of cats, dogs, and uninvited mice in an 18th century farmhouse in Connecticut. Please visit art-words-life.blogspot.com, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest news!

http://jenniferthermes.com
Aug 01 2018
18 mins
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