About the Manuscript Mart

Have an established literary agent or editor will read your work in advance and provide you direct feedback at the Muse.

Your 20 minute, one-on-one session will be scheduled for you during the conference. Manuscript Mart sessions are allocated before the conference on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that you must sign up for the entire conference in order to schedule a Manuscript Mart meeting, and that some meetings may conflict with sessions.

Agent Jonah Straus talks to a Muse attendee

Why the Manuscript Mart

We get feedback on our work from fellow writers, friends, and other people who know the craft but not necessarily the business of writing. The Manuscript Mart is a rare opportunity to receive meaningful feedback on your work from an experienced industry professional who’s “in the publishing game” on a daily basis. While a good number of agents and editors do go on to represent clients they meet, the Manuscript Mart is not only about making a potential long-term match, but about using feedback to strengthen your work. GrubStreet tries very hard to ensure that the agent or editor you meet will have read your work closely, considered it carefully, and offered you the best advice they can give, but we cannot guarantee that the person you choose will ultimately be the right fit for you.

Prepare for Your Meeting

For your convenience, we have listed the full Manuscript Mart instructions--from how to sign up all the way down to how to submit your evaluation of your meeting.

Researching & Picking Your Agent or Editor

First, decide if you'd like to meet with an agent or an editor.

Pro-agent folks say: These days, agents often heavily edit their clients’ manuscripts, and so have a lot of experience with both macro and micro issues.  Agents are therefore familiar with the industry as well as the craft, and can guide you responsibly in both areas. Agents are also “gateways” to editors and publishing companies.

Pro-editor folks say: Though the editors’ role has recently shifted toward marketing and positioning of books, the editors at this conference do still edit, and it is likely their greatest strength. Editors’ eyes are trained to notice red flags, redundancies, “lazy” writing; and editors will have unique knowledge about the “state of the market” for your work. And finally: if an editor gets excited about your book, an agent may be more likely to give it a more serious look.

The agent’s or editor’s bio will give you a strong indication what kinds of books they are looking for and what they have represented recently. We absolutely recommend you do your own online research and try to read as many of the books by their clients as you can.

You can also use the search fields we’ve created to help narrow down the list according to genre.

Two Muse attendees laugh with two literary agents.
Two Muse attendees talking over food and drinks

What’s the meeting like? What should I say/ What will the consultant say?

We expect the meetings to be warm, friendly, and professional, not unlike a job interview. The consultant will “lead” the meeting and, given the time constraints, likely launch immediately into giving feedback on your work. They may also begin by asking you questions. Throughout the meeting, you should expect to hear critical feedback that might be difficult to process or accept. If a consultant does not respond glowingly to your work or does not offer you a book deal on the spot, that does NOT mean the work is not valuable or that you have no talent or chances for publication/success; nor does it mean that the critique can not be used constructively to improve your work.

What to Bring

Because the conversation can be overwhelming, we suggest you take notes on a laptop or notebook or even bring a tape recorder with you. If you would like to record the meeting, please be sure to get the consultant’s permission first. Most consultants will have made written comments that they will give you at the end of the session, but often these comments are just marginal notes. Please do not bring your full manuscript. If the consultant would like to see more of your work, they will ask you to submit it at a later date.

FAQ

Manuscript Mart

We are not able to accommodate any changes to your requests.

Once you’ve registered for your meeting, you can assume that you will be scheduled with the agent or editor you indicated to be your first choice. In the unlikely event the agent or editor you selected as your first choice is no longer able to attend the conference, we will reach out for your second and third choices.

Absolutely! If you are attending the conference for 1 day only, we’ll do our best to ensure that you meet with that consultant on that day. If that’s not possible, we may ask you to come in briefly on a different day for your appointment.

You may purchase as many meetings as you’d like! Each meeting costs $195.

No, only Muse & the Marketplace 2019 attendees can participate in the Manuscript Mart.

Meetings take place throughout the weekend and do sometimes conflict with sessions. We welcome you to slip quietly in and out of a session if you need to in order to attend your Manuscript Mart meetings.

If you are attending the Muse on a 1-day ticket, we will do our best to schedule your meeting for that day.

All Manuscript Mart meetings take place in Arlington Room & Georgian Ballroom on the Mezzanine level of the Park Plaza Hotel.

No writer should expect an agent or editor to immediately sign them or agree to publish their work during the Manuscript Mart. We strongly suggest that you focus on receiving direct feedback from an active industry professional, which itself is an elusive and valuable opportunity. That said, every year a small but significant percentage of participating writers do sign on with agents and editors they meet through the Manuscript Mart, and/or, more likely, initiate relationships that result in book deals.