Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shopping for Clients: Fun with Publishers Marketplace

While I await your questions and to-be-critiqued first pages and the manuscript from my February 1 client, I'm going shopping.

Not real shopping, since I've already blown through my book budget for the month (recommendation: Jen Lancaster's Bitter is the New Black and Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader). I'm going client shopping.

I do this about once a year, sometimes twice if the summer slowdown adds enough wiggle room to my schedule. Ninety percent of my clients find me through Google or other search engines, friends, coworkers, or members of their critique groups. The other ten percent come my way through the various online and offline writing and publishing groups to which I belong - fellow members whose writing seems like a good match for my services and background. And once in a blue moon I'll work with a client I've "met" through my Operation Rescue the Craigslist Writers (in which I skim through the writing gig listings and respond to authors looking for agents with a link to Preditors and Editors), although that isn't really the point.

But every now and then I go looking for a manuscript that is exactly what I feel like working on right now. Sometimes I'm in the mood to work on Chick Lit. Sometimes I'm in the mood for some crazy vampires. Sometimes I really want to read a good mystery or a psychological thriller. Sometimes I'm looking for something sweet, subtle, and thought-provoking. Sometimes I'm just waiting for something to jump out at me. So where do I go to "shop"? Publishers Marketplace Offerings.

I love reading the listings - both those coming from agents (it's fun to see who is selling what at any given moment) and those coming directly from the authors. It's like a clearinghouse for completed manuscripts and the creative minds behind the big ideas. It's like strolling through the aisles of Brookline Booksmith (my favorite bookstore), except the books (manuscripts) here are raw and ready to be transformed and refined and shaped into what their authors always hoped they could be - agent-landing manuscripts. I tend to get lost in these listings for hours (okay, once for an entire business day). Because I know it's there - that one (or those two) manuscripts that I really want to work on - those authors who I really want to work with and to help succeed.

It has been nearly a year and a half since my last trip through the Publisher's Marketplace Offerings. So if you don't hear from me for the rest of the day (and maybe tomorrow), you'll know where I am. And if you do hear from me, then I probably found you on Publisher's Marketplace, and I want to read your book.

UPDATE: Found two!

Grand Reopening

Welcome to the Grand Reopening of Murdock Editing, with your host and editor, Lindsay Murdock!

If you're a long-time reader and somehow still have this poor neglected blog on your blogroll, welcome back. If you're a writer who I've had to turn away over the past year, welcome back. And if you're just joining us for the first time, nice to meet you! I'll be posting a most-read posts list tomorrow afternoon. 

A few points of business.

(1) I do apologize for closing my digital doors to some outstanding writers over the past year. I experienced an overwhelming (and gratifying!) surge of queries and requests from authors in 2009. Although I've considered partnering with other editors, I'm still a one-person show, and I only have those measly 24 hours in a day, and every once in a while my family actually makes me stop working to do things like cook and change the cat litter. The nerve! Once the Murdock Editing waiting list stretched to cover 7 months worth of manuscripts, it was time to put the brakes on things.

(2) I'm back, but at half capacity. As mentioned in an earlier post, I'm currently developing and testing an online course system using Google Wave. My first test class (Get it Down on Paper, OR ELSE: A Guide to Writing The Book You've Always Meant to Write) begins next week. To ensure that ALL clients and students get the attention they deserve, I will only be taking on TWO (2) clients at any given time. 

(3) Because I'm a big fan of fresh starts (and giving myself time to breath now and then), there is no current waiting list. The next available slot is March 15. I've decided that 5 months is the longest I'm comfortable allowing the waiting list to get, so there are 10 slots available as of now. Want to discuss making one of those slots yours? Shoot me an e-mail at

(4) The blog is back. Really. No, I mean it this time! Let me know what you want to read about here. What are your questions? Would you like to see/offer your first pages up for sample critique? I look forward to hearing from you!