Budding authors were given valuable information about the publishing industry recently at a master class with literary agent Barry Goldblatt. The session was part of a series of events and initiatives of the recnt Bocas Lit Fest. Goldblatt gave advice on publishing, writing and getting signed to an agent. Goldblatt said experience had taught him to recognise almost right away whether or not a manuscript will work. He describes his ideal submission simply as a manuscript that blows him away.
“I’d stress here that it’s extremely important for all aspiring writers to note that trends are totally unimportant. By the time a writer sees a trend showing in a bookstore, it’s already in effect over as far as editors and publishers are concerned, because they’ll have their lists loaded with titles for the next three years. If you’re trying to write to a trend, you’re wasting your time. Write the story you have to write, and if it’s fantastic, some agent will sign it up.
Goldblatt said before sending a manuscript it is important to do your research and be professional. “When you submit to an agent, be professional about it. Do your research on the agent and learn to spell his name properly. Your query letter is a quick introduction, nothing more.