When an editor’s “attention span” becomes an “attention spa”

February 6, 2010

Very often, if not mostly, the editor who gets your proposal really would rather be doing something else. This is not a criticism of editors, its just the reality of the publishing workplace. Reading proposals is a future-planning task that only gets touched when the now-tasks are done. Besides this, the queue of quality proposals is quite long. As a result, an editor’s attention moves away very quickly if anything about your proposal is unclear or irrelevant. It doesn’t take much to do it. Here are some common indulgences:

-Bang on about your credentials
-Criticize popular books
-Use multiple exclamation marks to amplify your point!!!

Whatever your indulgence, at the end of an editor’s attention span is an attention spa. All it takes is one letter, and they plunge into a warm, bubbling daydream where you no longer exist. If this occurs, your chances of publication diminish quickly.

Quick Tips

-Use plain English
-Let your proposal’s merits speak for themselves
-Choose your words like they are the last words you are allowed on this earth
-Have the whole book finished before you contact the editor

What’s your opinion?

What kind of language puts you into the attention spa?

Photo by Murtage


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