MANUSCRIPT MART 2024

At the Manuscript Mart, an established literary agent or editor will read your work in advance and meet with you at the conference to provide direct feedback. This one-on-one, 20-minute session will be scheduled for you during the conference weekend. Your chosen literary agent or editor will have read FIVE (5) pages of your work in advance, along with an optional, highly encouraged query letter and/or synopsis, and will provide feedback from an industry perspective. Most often, these are the first five pages of the writer's manuscript, but they do not have to be. Manuscript Mart sessions are allocated before the conference on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

 

Why the Manuscript Mart?

Friends and fellow writers may give us feedback on our writing, but not necessarily on the business of writing. The Manuscript Mart is a rare opportunity to receive meaningful feedback from an experienced industry professional who’s “in the publishing game” on a daily basis. While a number of agents and editors do go on to represent clients they meet at the Muse, the Manuscript Mart is about using feedback to strengthen your work while potentially making a long-term match. GrubStreet makes every effort to ensure the agent or editor you meet will read your work closely, consider it carefully, and offer you the best advice they can give, but we cannot guarantee that the person you choose will ultimately be the right fit for you and your work.

What happens in the meeting?

We expect the meetings to be warm, friendly, and professional—not unlike a job interview. The agent or editor will lead the meeting and likely launch immediately into giving feedback on your work. Alternatively, they may begin by asking you questions. You should expect to hear critical feedback that may or may not be difficult to process or accept. If the agent or editor does not respond glowingly to your work or does not offer you a book deal on the spot, it does NOT mean the work is not valuable or you are not talented or have no chances for publication or success. Nor does it mean that the critique cannot be used constructively to improve your work.

Because the conversation can be overwhelming, you may wish to take notes. You may be given written comments (often margin notes) before or after a session, but this is not guaranteed. Do not expect a request for your full manuscript. If they would like to see more of your work, the agent or editor will ask you to submit it at a later date.

Manuscript Mart Instructions

Research and Select an Agent or Editor

Agents often edit their clients’ manuscripts, so have experience with macro and micro issues. They are familiar with the industry as well as the craft and can guide you responsibly in both areas, as well as give you feedback on how to make your query letter and/or synopsis stand out. Agents also serve as gateways to editors and publishing companies.

While the role of Editor certainly includes the marketing and positioning of books, the editors at this conference do still edit, and it is likely their greatest strength. Their eyes are trained to notice red flags, redundancies, and “lazy” writing. Editors will have knowledge about the state of the market for your work. If an editor is excited about your book, an agent may be more likely to give it a serious look.

The agent and editor bios for Muse 2024 will indicate the kinds of books they are looking for and what they have represented recently. However, we strongly recommend you rely on your own online research and read as many of their clients' books (or samples of the books) as you can. We have also created search fields that may be useful in narrowing down the list according to genre.

 

Register for the Muse

During the registration process, select your agent(s) or editor(s). You may reserve as many appointments as you like. You will be able to make additional appointments after registration opens. You must register for the Muse to participate in the Manuscript Mart.

 

Format and Submit Your Manuscript

Polish your FIVE-page sample and make it as strong as you possibly can. It should represent your best work and preferably be the first five pages of a book-length manuscript.

We strongly recommend including an optional query letter and synopsis. A query letter and synopsis help agents and editors give you better feedback relevant to your entire work. They can also give you feedback on these pitch documents themselves, and tell you what would make your query letter and/or synopsis stand out to them and their colleagues. You can find suggestions for writing a query letter here and for writing a one-page synopsis here.

Use our Manuscript Checklist to ensure you have formatted your sample according to our guidelines. Here are the basics:

  • No more than FIVE (5) double-spaced pages of a fiction or nonfiction manuscript. Pages should be numbered, titled, in black 12-point Times New Roman font, on white 8.5 x 11–inch electronic pages, with one-inch margins on all sides.
  • You may include an optional one-page query and/or one-page synopsis of the work as a whole. The query and synopsis may be single-spaced.
  • Your manuscript will be submitted in a single ".doc" or ".docx" document, which you can create in programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Document examples could include the following:
    • FIVE (5) double-spaced pages of manuscript + a one-page query + a one-page synopsis (7 pages total)
    • FIVE (5) double-spaced pages of manuscript + a one-page query (6 pages total)
    • FIVE (5) double-spaced pages of manuscript + a one-page synopsis (6 pages total)
    • FIVE (5) double-spaced pages of manuscript (5 pages total)
  • The title of the file MUST be your full name, e.g., ToniMorrison.doc. Files must end in a .doc or .docx extension.

If you have registered for multiple meetings, you will submit a Manuscript Sample form once per agent or editor.

Submit your manuscript sample(s) by 1:00 PM EDT on Monday, April 1, 2024. Under no circumstances will we accept late submissions. We will not offer refunds or credits if you do not submit on time.

Once you have registered for your Manuscript Mart appointments and are ready to submit your sample (having followed the formatting instructions above), use the SUBMIT YOUR MANUSCRIPT SAMPLE button to submit your work.

Prepare for and Attend Your Meeting

You will receive an email with your Manuscript Mart meeting time(s) by 11:59 PM on Monday, April 22, 2024, as well as instructions on how to find your meeting at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Contact the Manuscript Mart Manager for the Muse at diane@grubstreet.org ASAP if you do you not receive your meeting time(s) and instructions.

The agent or editor will conclude the discussion promptly after twenty (20) minutes so that subsequent meetings may start on time.

 

FAQ

MANUSCRIPT MART

For many years, the Manuscript Mart consisted of a 20-minute meeting with an agent or editor who had read 20 pages of your manuscript. However, feedback from attendees and publishing professionals over the years suggested that a 20-minute conversation was not the best format for receiving a 20-page manuscript critique (should the attendee focus on taking notes or asking questions? will the agent/editor be able to cover everything there is to say about 20 pages in that time? will they have time to address anything but the pages?). More importantly, attendees often felt that receiving a 20-page critique was not the best use of their 20 minutes with an agent or editor. We hope changing the page count gives attendees and publishing professionals the chance to have a more relaxed and well-rounded conversation, where agents and editors are able to give feedback on the overall project concept and its marketplace positioning, making the query letter and synopsis documents themselves stand out, and other career questions the writer may have, in addition to the robust discussion of craft elements that publishing professionals are experts at assessing from the first 5 pages. If the project is a good fit for them, they will ask for more pages! The new page count also allows us to keep the widest variety of accomplished and busy publishing professionals accessible to our attendees while lowering the price of an appointment.

Manuscript Mart meetings cost $250 per session in 2024. You must purchase a ticket to the conference to participate in the Manuscript Mart. A limited number of Manuscript Mart scholarships are available to cover 50% of the cost ($125); more information on scholarships may be found here.

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 have met through the Manuscript Mart and/or (more likely) initiate relationships that result in book deals.

Manuscript Mart meetings will all take place in person at the Muse and the Marketplace Conference, May 10–12, 2024.

2024 Manuscript Mart meetings will take place in person at the conference itself, Friday May 10th through Sunday May 12th, 2024.

You will receive your Manuscript Mart meeting times in advance of the conference.

No. Only Muse & the Marketplace 2024 ticket holders may participate in the Manuscript Mart.

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

As many as you’d like!

We are not able to accommodate changes to your requested agent or editor.