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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oh, My Galoshes, Noah Lukeman Was Right!

Born Valentine’s Day on a naval base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. Her books have received an RT Reviewers Choice Award and a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence final. Find out more or join her newsletter in the space provided at 

OH MY GALOSHES, Noah Lukeman was RIGHT!

In case you’re wondering, the galoshes are because we have been bombarded by rain this week.

Sloshing onward…

Noah Lukeman, esteemed Literary Agent and bestselling author of many popular craft books, penned one of my favorites: The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying out of the Rejection Pile.

If you are an aspiring author and don’t yet have it, do yourself and your chances at publication a favor and purchase one for your Keeper Craft Bookshelf. His book can be purchased here:

In it, Lukeman discusses common writing mistakes that are across-the-board to new writers. He talks about the importance of Presentation…the immediate, out-of-the-gate perception that your first five pages will give to potential editors or agents.

In short, you have one shot within these first-impression pages to reel in or repel them.

Sounds harsh, I know, but you have to understand how intense the competition is and the astronomically high number of stellar submissions agents and editors get on a regular basis.

This is not meant to discourage you. This is meant to give your story a better shot at standing out among the multitudes.

This is VITAL information you MUST know if you are an aspiring author serious about breaking in: For two years in a row, I’ve been polling agents and editors from ABA and CBA about how long they read submissions before they know whether the manuscript is a go or a definite no go. I suspected that many of them would know by the end of the first ten pages, but was shocked at the outcome of this poll.

I phrased the question like this: If you are, or have been an acquisitions editor, or an agent, and have time to answer this question, I'd appreciate it. This is for a conference workshop.

Question: The majority of the time, how long do you MOST COMMONLY read material from a slush pile before you (usually) know for certain a manuscript will receive a "pass" verdict?

Please respond with one letter below.

A. First line.
B. First paragraph.
C. By the end of page one
D. Within three pages
E. Within five pages
F. Within ten pages
G. By the end of the first chapter
H. Within the first three chapters or before fifty pages
I. Mid-book
J. By the end of the book
K. Other (Please explain)

Without having seen anyone else’s response, A WHOPPING 97% of the hundreds polled gave “C” as the answer!!!

That means ONLY a handful of those interviewed gave an alternate answer.

NO ONE gave an answer beyond G other than ONE new literary agent who said he or she would actually read the entire manuscript. I’d be interested in knowing if this agent has since changed their mind about that. LOL!

In summary, how important is the first page of your manuscript? Crucial.

My advice?

STRIVE for absolute excellence in that first page.

Then write EVERY page as if it were your first page.

Thanks for being with me today. I’d love to know what your personal first-page weakness is.

Maybe in sharing, it can help others struggling.

The Doctor's Devotion

When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former air force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he's back with a new dream—opening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn't believe she deserves to help anyone. Mitch knows firsthand what loss feels like. And it'll take all his devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, community—and love.


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