Guest blogger Cressida Downing is a professional reader for literary agents, publishers and literary scouts. She spends much of her time sifting through manuscripts to find those gems with publishing potential.

I've just spotted an interesting contest that is developing on a literary agent's blog. Nathan Bransford, frustrated by ongoing criticism of agents, has challenged his readers to go through the 50 typical submissions he gets in one day, and see if they can spot the three that turned out to be commercially successful. 

Tempting as it is to join in, this is too much like work for me! But I'm enjoying reading some of the comments.  Why not see if you know which ones you'd like to see more of?  I was particularly struck by the agent's interruption to the contest.

As I'm sure it's clear from this, a literary agent doesn't really have the time to personalise rejections when they're going through 50 a day - and a short discussion can be hurtful, without giving the information and feedback an author wants. A writing group, an online writing community or professional assessments are the way to get the sort of detailed information that will help you progress with your writing career - and get your submission to become one of the three out of 50!

Yours, Cressida