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Smart Quill Editorial Interview

Posted on 15 March 2011. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Philippa Donovan of Smart Quill Editorial

How do you work?

Literary consultants work in various ways, but I am a freelance editor who assesses manuscripts before submission. The point of doing this is to ensure that your work is in the right state before it is seen and judged by agents and publishers. As a first-time writer you often get just one-shot to impress.

What makes Smart Quill Editorial different from other literary consultants?

Smart Quill specialises in only one area children's books ( including picture books, YA, and children's fiction). I am a commissioning editor for children's books so I know what publishers are looking for, and I am able to keep my clients up to date with major trends as and when they happen. There is a blog on the website giving advice and pointers, and I also run an agent recommendation service.

How is it compatible with your work as a commissioning editor?

Very often agents see works of great promise that need a huge amount of redirection. As a literary consultant I can offer this and ensure fewer scripts are dismissed by the time they get to the editors. The result, I hope, is that more wonderful books will make it through the submissions process and be published for children.

How does it differ from the job of an agent or editor?

The editor is responsible for bringing the book to the consumer - the agent is responsible for bringing the book to the editor. At both stages there is a lot of competition. The literary consultant stands at the beginning of the process, bettering the book's chance of selection and helping it stand out from the competition.

What is the best way to get noticed by an agent or editor?

There are many ways to get noticed... Books have been written on this very topic. But in truth, the best thing you can do is give your book a fighting chance by getting a professional eye on it before it is seen by anyone who has the power to reject it.

How does the Smart Quill Agent Recommendation Service work?

As a commissioning editor I have a lot of contact with agents and they are always looking for talented new writers. A numbers of agents have asked Smart Quill to pass along any scripts of an exceptional standard. It is not a service you can ask for I am afraid but if your work is good enough it will be recommended to a high profile agent.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

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