Writing tip #4: Follow submission guidelines.
The end is near. The end of the month. The end of the year. It’s amazing how fast time flies. I started buying Christmas presents weeks ago. And now we’re a month away from Christmas Eve.
Four years ago, I received about the best Christmas present ever—a publishing offer. It marked the end to an intensive six months of manuscript submissions—researching publishers, writing query letters, receiving rejection notes—and marked the official beginning of my writing journey.
Writing a book is an accomplishment. Not everyone will write a book in their lifetime. We all have a story within us, but it takes a certain amount of drive and desire to capture it with the written word. Most authors write with the intention of publishing. There are options—self-publishing, indie publishers, the “Big Five” (Penguin Random House, HarperCollins—who owns romance heavy-hitter Harlequin® Books, Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette)—in the wonderful world of publishing. For us newbies, who don’t want to self-publish, indie publishers offer the best opportunity.
• Research perspective publishers (i.e. don’t submit your adult romance novel to a children’s book publisher).
• Follow their submission guidelines (i.e. if they ask for a query letter and blurb, then don’t send them the first chapter).
• Don’t submit your manuscript to more than one publisher unless the publisher has indicated they accept simultaneous submissions.
Select the most appropriate publishers for your book. Take the time to personalize each submission request. Supply all the requested information (in the correct format). Put your best foot forward. Think of your book as a job and your submission as a job interview. And, keep in mind, the ability to follow simple instructions is a surprisingly effective way of getting a publisher’s attention.
“The waiting is the hardest part.”
- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers