Ask An Editor: Chuck Adams On Getting To Yes

Today we post our fourth installment in our Ask an Algonquin Editor series. Executive editor Chuck Adams shares what editors look for in manuscripts and how aspiring authors can work towards hearing “yes” from an editor.

Do you have a question for one of our Algonquin editors? Have you ever wished for an insight into the publishing world? Leave your question in the comments below!



8 Comments On This Post:

April 12, 2012
4:03 pm
Mary Olivia Patiño says...

Your advice about ‘finding your voice’ and ‘get through the throat clearing’ both affirms and challenges me to draw the audience into the story. Finding the audience helps me as I am in the process of ‘sorting out’ some of my work.
Thank you.

April 13, 2012
9:42 am
Debika Lahiri says...

I’m really on tenterhooks at the moment. I submitted a proposal for my novel to a leading Indian publisher three months ago. I heard from them about a week ago. They asked to see the entire manuscript. I guess I’m through to the second round. They have acknowledged receiving the manuscript and said they will let me have their final decision in a month or so. Is there anything the author can do at this stage except wait?

April 15, 2012
5:21 pm
Evelyn O'Reilly says...

A succinct query letter. What is the most important beginning?

Thank You,
Evelyn O’Reilly

April 16, 2012
8:57 am
john says...

hi chuck. thank you for the good advice. for all of us out here writing, it is good to hear from professionals like you. for the past 22 years i have journeyed to patagonia each september to study the endangered whales that annually gather there to mate and give birth. mostly based on my personal experiences with whales, i just finished writing a fictional story about an old man and a whale. this is my first book for adults! i worry that it is a little short but it says what i want it to say. thanks again, john

April 21, 2012
12:16 am
maryam ismail says...

This video was really helpful. However, I’ve put together and anthology that is a combination of various kinds of literature, fiction, non-fiction, and have not clue where to find and publisher/editor/agent that handles this kind of work. Help! Any clue where I should look?

April 21, 2012
11:41 am
Donna Everhart says...

Once a writer has an agent, and the agent has submitted the manuscript to publishers, how long can this process take? If the manuscript has been in the hands of editors at the publishing house for 3-4 weeks, but has heard nothing, is “no news good news?” Or is it just “no news…?”

I realize editors have lots of other mss to read as well as their regular job, so just curious on what’s considered a normal time frame before the agent passes along any feedback.


March 1, 2015
12:02 pm
Jim Solomon says...

Thank you Chuck, for the insight I really enjoy your expertise on literary topics. They are a great help. Are werewolf/vampire books out of the public interest now?

July 21, 2015
7:00 pm
Bruce Robison says...


Thanks for some excellent tips succinctly made. Very helpful to any serious writer.


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