The pros and cons of an MFA in creative writing are widely debated: on one hand, such programs offer students the opportunity to work with accomplished authors, whose expertise (and endorsements) could make all the difference in publishing their first book. On the other hand, such programs often come with a hefty price tag, with fully funded options few and far between. But regardless of whether you go for an MFA, some things are critical to establishing a career as an author that you probably don’t know, unless you’ve learned them the hard way (or you’ve worked in publishing).
The important take-aways from this post have little to do with whether or not you’re considering an MFA program or even know any reasons why anyone would sign up for one.
This post is interesting because it shows you that agents and publishers don’t read your manuscript the same way a beta reader, professor, or colleague in a critique group reads it.
Obviously, the agent and publisher want to see if your story will sell and to do that they focus closely on the voice you demonstrate in the opening lines and whether or not the characters and plot develop reasonably throughout the work.
Their view, while narrow and expedient, is often similar to what reviewers and knowing readers bring to a book. Worth looking at, I think.