Society & Culture & Entertainment Writing

Presenting to Publishers

Personal experience has taught me that there is a certain protocol to follow when you submit your manuscript to a publisher.
Unfortunately, not every new author knows "the rules", so to speak.
All of the suggestions listed below aren't necessarily things you have to do, like keeping a manuscript tracker, but all of them will help you in your quest for publication.
Check to make sure the publisher isn't out of business or in the middle of a merge with another publisher before you send your manuscript.
Trust me on this one.
I submitted a manuscript in August 2001 and after a year of no response despite my repeated requests for a status update, I discovered, thanks to the Secretary of State in the publisher's city, the publisher was out of business.
Having your manuscript tied up for over a year because a publisher doesn't accept simultaneous submissions is, needless to say, a kick in the teeth, especially when you find out that long year of waiting was in vain.
Get the writer's guidelines from the publisher before you submit anything, even a query.
Once, long ago during a time I'd rather forget, I submitted a query to a publisher about my steamy romance novel.
Less than two weeks later, I received a curt response back from the publisher..
a religious publisher of inspirational fiction only.
While a steamy romance novel might be inspirational in some ways, it wasn't exactly what this publisher was looking for.
Had I written to ask for the publisher's guidelines, I would have saved myself some embarrassment.
When you get the guidelines, follow them to the letter.
This point may be self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised at the number of authors who try to get around one or more of the publisher's rules.
If the publisher took time to include any rule in its guidelines, it's obviously important.
Don't skip it.
Keep track of where you sent your manuscript and when you sent it.
An easy way to do this is with the use of a manuscript program.
Charlotte Dillon's web site has numerous programs available for authors to download, at least one of which is a manuscript tracker.
Although, you don't absolutely have to follow this guideline, it's always nice to know where you've sent your manuscript so you don't submit to the same publisher twice in a row.
When you follow-up to ask for a status request (after you've given the publisher ample time to review your novel), be polite, not demanding and never, ever indicate you have another publisher interested in your work unless it's the truth.
Attempting to blackmail a publisher into accepting your book will only backfire on you in the long run.
Ample time to review your novel isn't three weeks.
Some publishers can take as long as six to eight months to review an entire manuscript.
A shorter amount of time is usually required for a partial or the synopsis alone.
Don't begin hounding the publisher after a few weeks asking for a status update.
I find that a simple letter requesting an update and providing my e-mail address usually gets a response within forty-eight hours.
And my final point is do not keep submitting the same piece of work over and over to a publisher unless you've done extensive revisions and feel the work is considerably different.
While it's true that assistant editors and editors do come and go at large publishing houses, you run the risk of getting the same assistant who will quickly tire of reading the same book or worse, will recognize your name and not read it at all.
Sometimes, it's better for the publisher not to know who you are, especially if you've made a nuisance of yourself.
There are no hard and fast rules for getting published, and everyone makes mistakes.
But in this instance, it's better to learn from my mistakes than to learn from your own.

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