Editors of fiction at traditional publishers consider hundreds of projects per year but only acquire a few. Of course, editors vary in the kinds of books they’re seeking, across genre and audience and theme. But almost all of them are looking to see whether a submission has achieved five essential elements. As I've learned in my time in editorial departments, as an author myself, and in my work helping clients prepare manuscripts for submission, editors can spot these in the first fifty pages—and usually in the first five.
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