Rebecca Swift hosted an up-front Q and A with WriteWords about the role of literary consultancies. WriteWords is an online resource for writers which offers an interesting community for writers, jobs and news.
Below is an excerpt from the Q and A where Rebecca Swift answers a question about TLC readers.
“We stipulate that a reader must have either worked in commercial publishing as an editor, taught creative writing to MA level, and/or be a professionally published writer themselves. We will occasionally make exceptions for readers that come highly recommended and may have had slightly different trajectories (as reviewers, for example, or teachers in literary settings but not on MAs) but usually these qualifications would be those we would require. I always think ‘who would I want to read my work?’ and think in terms of employing people I myself would trust. Also of course we need to inspire confidence in our clients that we are offering help that has been tried and tested over time.
I should also say that having the qualifications in themselves are not the only important thing, because we do not use readers who don’t have sufficient empathy and diplomacy, as well as powers of articulation when writing back to people at any level of ability. This can be a tricky job as you can imagine, to say the least and I admire our readers hugely for what they take on. In addition, readers have to understand commercial markets to some degree, although the in-house team are the market experts. They have to be good talent spotters on top of everything else … In short, it’s a tall order letting a reader loose on the public and we try to protect that public as far as we can although of course no consultancy can be perfect, we do try! We could not understand better how precious people’s written work is, and how hope and fear will be bound up in that.”
Click here to read the rest of the interview.