FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Shannon Powers of McIntosh & Otis

Thanks to Amy at Chasing the Crazies for picking my brain about those crucial first 5 pages! Hope this is helpful – enjoy and be sure to check out her blog for more great info and advice on the query process.


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If you’re like me, you toil for hours editing and fine-tuning the first pages of your manuscript. You look at the first lines to make sure they are compelling and tight. You examine the next few paragraphs hoping your MC’s voice is already taking hold of the reader.

The First Five Frenzy is all about getting an agent’s perspective on what works, and what fails, in those first pages of a manuscript. It’s tricky to get just the right balance, but I hope by reading each agent’s comments you’ll learn how to make your manuscript a shining gem that’s requested over and over.

Today, I’m proud to share Shannon Powers’ perspective on what’s important in those critical first pages.

Amy: Many writers have the impression that a great first line is imperative to drawing in the reader. How important is a first line to you as an agent?

Shannon: Truthfully, it’s not something I…

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3 thoughts on “FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Shannon Powers of McIntosh & Otis

  1. Hi, Shannon! You have a fantastic set-up here. It’s so helpful for authors to get all of your information in one place. If you don’t mind, I have a couple of questions that weren’t in your interviews. Do you ever skip around when reading queries? and How long do you usually take to respond to requested material? Thanks!


    1. Hi J.S.! Thanks for reading. As for your questions, I definitely do skip around when reading queries if something catches my eye while scrolling through the inbox. So it happens! But usually I try to work my way through chronologically.

      Requested material reading time can vary based on what it is. I usually have full manuscripts have for several months before I can finish them with other reading for the agents I assist, etc. I try to get through a full manuscript from my own pile about every 2 weeks.

      If it’s requested from something like a Twitter pitch event, I usually try to get through those within 3 months and will do a bunch at once. Every agent has their own approach, but that’s mine!


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