I’m reading a fiction submission from an author who’s a (very) minor celebrity. They wrote one memoirish non-fiction book, based on their life experience, which was published a couple of years ago with (minor) success. There are actually two partials that came with the query, so I have to read both. Now, if I got this very same submission from Joe or Jane Nobody, I’d just pass on it. It’s not that either of the partials are bad, it’s just that they’re not good. The writing is ok. The stories are ok. It’s all just kind of ok. But in this market, I usually pass on ok.
Manuscripts really need to have something unique about them for me to say, “Send me the full.” Sometimes unique is a great story. Sometimes it’s exquisite writing. Sometimes it’s the same old story told in a new way. But in my job as a reader I don’t generally request ok.
But then there’s the issue of platform. Do I request to read more from this author because she’s already successfully published? Because she has a name people (might) recognize? Because she probably has connections in the media which would allow her to market herself and a new book well? A good platform, after all, can make a huge difference.
How much do you shift your listening of something or someone depending upon who they are? Do you listen to the same boring story differently if it’s told by a hot young thing or a nasty old fart? What would you do? Would you request the full manuscripts or just pass?