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

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

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.

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.

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.

How to Prepare

Because the conversation can be overwhelming, we suggest you take notes on a laptop or notebook or ask the agent or editor if you can record the conversation. Some 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 expect a request for 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.



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.