Sending your manuscript to a literary agency can be a daunting prospect. Writers seeking representation often feel they don’t know where to begin. When is the right time to start looking for a literary agent? Is there anything I can do to help my submission stand out? Are there any dos or don’ts I should be aware of? Will the agent even look at my manuscript… am I even likely to hear back at all?
There’s a common misconception that literary agents are too busy with existing projects to read through submissions. At DGA we have enough insight to know that the perceived image of the busy and unengaged agent is just a myth. Literary agents may be busy, but they will always have time for a manuscript they, first, love, and second, feel they can turn into another success.
What is the Submission Package Review?
Our Submission Package Review is specifically designed for writers who are actively seeking literary representation. It gives you, the author, professional, industry-specific feedback on your query letter, synopsis and first 10,000 words of your manuscript. The goal is to provide you with something as close as possible to an agent’s perspective on your submission package, but also to make your submission compelling enough for the agent to request the full manuscript.
How does it benefit writers?
As a writer, you have an intimate understanding of your story, your characters and the universe they inhabit. This very understanding can act as a distraction when it comes to summarising for someone else the why, the who, the what and the how of your book.
Providing an overview of your work that’s both clear and engaging can be trickier than it seems, especially when you have so much to say. This can result in submissions that are overly lengthy, needlessly confusing, or that generally don’t do justice to the manuscript.
‘Sometimes the author is so close to their work, they don’t see what does and doesn’t make sense to a new reader. That’s where a fresh pair of eyes, combined with professional experience, can add the most value,’ says our associate editor, Gabriella Docherty, the specialist editor for the Submissions Package Review service.
Holding a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and an MPhil in Film and Screen Studies, Gabriella Docherty is also a former assistant to leading literary agents in both the Books and the Book-to-Film department of United Agents in London. She has not only a wealth of experience in managing unsolicited submissions, but also the skill to identify, restructure and refine promising work and pitch it further.
What’s included in the Service?
The Submission Package Review includes a one-thousand-word critique of the query letter, synopsis and first 10,000 words of the manuscript. It applies a market-aware angle to assess the commercial appeal in the manuscript as a publishing proposal. It invites the author to pay close attention to what doesn’t quite work in their submission and offers constructive feedback on how to address the identified shortcomings.
While services such as a manuscript assessment provide an unparalleled level of in-depth editorial detail, with a side interest in marketability, the Submission Package Review takes a high-level view of the submission, an approach that combines both editorial and marketing feedback.
At DGA, we know how crucial submissions are when it comes to the success of a manuscript. As an author-centred consultancy, our focus is on helping the author improve their work at all levels, from marketing themselves as an interesting person worth knowing about, to marketing their manuscript as a story worth reading.
Fee and Turnaround Time
The service is priced at a flat fee of £350 including VAT. Our turnaround time across all services is three to five weeks. While, in exceptional cases, we may be able to offer a turnaround time that’s shorter than three weeks, depending on the volume of submissions we receive at any specific time, we will never charge extra for it.