Aaaack! the dreaded red pen. Don't let her smile fool you. Just kiddin'. Jennifer is all smiles - how do I know? Because we Skyped. And, Jennifer is as Jen-uine as they come.
What is Jennifer's Process?
We all like to know what's going to give us an edge with an agent who receives hundreds of submissions. Well, Jennifer has a process to the madness of reading through manuscripts. As we all know, these days, everything is submitted through e-mail. She receives manuscripts via submission and queries. She reads every single day - whether on her computer at her desk, or on her portable device of choice. With this kind of schedule, words can become blurs on the page like those of a Rorschach test. When this happens, Jennifer will give that manuscript a "maybe" and then she'll read it again, which is not unusual for her to read something several times. If she's still not sure, she'll ask for a partial, then a full. If the manuscript is really good, then she's in for the duration. If it's still on the fence, she will consider why and she won't pass on something unless she's sure.
Once she requests a full manuscript, then she'll download it on her iPad and read it like a novel. This is when she'll put on her super editorial hat and go to town, the old fashioned way, via pen and paper. Then she'll type a letter with page number references and send to the author.
If she receives a submission that is not quite ready for representation, she'll provide critical feedback, suggestions for what is needed along with an invitation to resubmit in six months. Whoa! Did I really write that? You can resubmit to Jennifer? Yes sir-ee! Awesome! Also, if Jennifer meets you at a conference or a meeting and you submit to her, she will personalize her letter to you. Hey, better attend the SCBWI meeting on Wednesday October 12th and meet Jennifer. Just sayin' ...
Okay, so you've submitted and now you are crossing of the days on your calendar. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Still, no ping from your email. No ring from your brand new iPhone you bought just because you didn't want to risk missing Jennifer's call on your not so brand new other phone. Here's the scoop. If you've marked off enough days to equal six weeks, consider it a pass. Now, start crossing of days for six months and resubmit a better, more polished manuscript to either Jennifer or even a different agent at Andrea Brown Literary. However, all this being said, Jennifer suggests you not query your first draft. And maybe not even your third draft. Be readier than ready. More polished than polished.
Manuscript Consults - Here's the skinny for those attending on
Thursday the 13th:
* Use Jennifer to your advantage. Yes, she actually said this.
* It's okay to 'riff' on story with Jennifer, or
* Ask how to best position your story, or
* Whatever you want to talk about - well, within reason.
Oh, and ladies, it's okay to talk to her in the bathroom. See, is Jennifer 'real' or what! Guys, I got nothin', sorry.
Stay tuned for the third and final installment of my interview with Jennifer. I'll share what's on her reading list and who's coming for dinner!