Agent Jessica Faust from BookEnds breaks down in this post how she reads each of the following: query letters, proposals, requested manuscripts, revised manuscripts from clients, and books for pleasure. This is helpful reading for anyone preparing agent submissions:
Often when reading proposals I’m distracted. I’m reading at home, at night, and dinner is on, or the TV is on, or there is just chaos. A good three chapters is going to make that chaos disappear. Like most readers I don’t have the opportunity for a peaceful few hours to sit quietly and read. Instead I’m counting on the book to take me to that peaceful place. Okay, full disclosure time: When reading proposals I’m looking for that first reason to reject. I get 25 queries a day and probably 25 or so proposal packets a week. I can’t possibly take on that many new clients, and in my years of experience I know that there are not going to be that many winners in there. So I’m skeptical (as are all agents and editors), but I want to be wowed. Because there’s nothing more exciting than finding something amazing when you least expect it.