The Manuscript Academy critique - for querying agents. Here's my review

An honest review of The Manuscript Academy's critique - for writers querying agents

The Manuscript Academy manuscript critique


I'm a long-time listener of The Manuscript Academy podcast. Their episodes with literary agents live reading query letters and saying whether they would request the full manuscript are so informative for writers in the process of querying agents. 

The Manuscript Academy has a monthly membership option or you can pay $99 for a well known literary agent to read the first 10 pages of your manuscript and your query letter and give you feedback in a 15 minute zoom session.

I'd just finished a new novel and I was feeling super good about it - it's one of the more commercial books I've written and I thought it might have some broader appeal.

So when The Manuscript Academy announced new agent sessions and I saw one of the US agents I've had my eye on had a session available at a non-ridiculous hour for the Australian timezone, I booked in.

Within a couple of weeks, I got an email from said agent with initial comments, along with an attachment of the first 10 pages of my manuscript with detailed mark ups. 

The comments burst my bubble. I had clearly not written a great piece of fiction. 

The agent said 'slow down' and 'make your readers care about your character before you launch into the action.' 

The agent also made suggestions about how I could improve my query letter.

Based on the agent's feedback, I feel like I need to rewrite the beginning of my novel. They've given me some clear direction on how to begin again - and also made me think more about how can I make readers care more for my character.

I'm pleased that I did the Manuscript Academy critique before starting to send out query letters to agents, which is what I'd usually do at this stage after finishing a few drafts of a novel (thinking it was good enough). 

The Manuscript Academy agent gave me their response to my query letter and why they didn't think my first 10 pages were making the cut. This is valuable information for me to have - and information that I wouldn't have had, if I'd started sending out my queries and received only deadly silence. 

The deadly silence would have made me give up on this novel. This agent's honest criticism, makes me want to work harder on this novel - and give it the best chance I can.

So should you do a manuscript academy critique? Yes, you definitely should. But don't go into it expecting that you're going to meet an agent who is going to fall in love with your story. 

Go into it expecting that you are going to get honest feedback. Go into it knowing you're going to come out of it having to do more work.

The road to getting published is paved with hope, criticism and rejection. Give it time. Take the criticism. Learn from it. Improve it. Hope again. 

See my previous blog post on inspiration comes from rejection.

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