Literary Agents See An Uptick In Writers Submitting Pandemic Stories
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
All right. You finally have time to write that novel you've been talking about. Some people are actually doing just that. Erin Clyburn is a literary agent who says she is seeing an uptick in submissions from writers.
ERIN CLYBURN: It's definitely increasing, like, day to day.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And it's not hard to guess what's inspiring them.
CLYBURN: I got one with a protagonist whose last name was Covid.
MARTIN: Clyburn is seeing more stories related to pandemics and viruses. But she says not everything she gets could be mistaken for George Orwell.
CLYBURN: People will say, I wrote this manuscript while I've been home for the last couple of months. It's unlikely that a manuscript could be finished in a couple of months and have that level of polish that it would typically need to be sent to an agent.
GREENE: Literary agent Kari Sutherland says, don't rush to submit that masterpiece.
KARI SUTHERLAND: You really get one shot with an agent. I don't usually ask for a revise and resubmit.
GREENE: And if you are writing a pandemic novel, you may, in fact, be too late.
SUTHERLAND: By the time you've written something that you see is a trend, well, publishers have already filled their pipelines with those kinds of stories.
GREENE: Sutherland says editors are veering away from pandemic-related work.
SUTHERLAND: Everyone is looking more for an escape from our current circumstances. And they don't particularly want to be reading about deadly viruses.
MARTIN: So what's her advice to writers?
SUTHERLAND: Focus on making sure that you're creating the kinds of stories that are going to reach into people's hearts.
MARTIN: And Clyburn's advice? Be sure the work is really ready before you push it out into the world.
CLYBURN: Put together a draft that is as polished and as solid and something that you're going to be proud to send to agents.
MARTIN: Future Austens and Tolstoys, remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. And "War And Peace" wasn't written after a few weeks in quarantine.
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