August 6, 2021– We’re focusing on what publishers want this month and giving you our best insider tips. Today we’re talking about the submission process and what publishers want to see from authors who are sending in their manuscripts for consideration. Here are five tips for authors:
- You’ve done your homework. You know what we publish, who we are, about our company, and that we’re accepting submissions. Bonus points if you address us by name rather than just saying Dear Sir/Madam, or To Whom it may concern. This is very informal and shows us that you couldn’t care less about doing a thirty second search to find out who you should be sending your submission to. Like I’ve said before, I address every manuscript with a personal email rather than a form rejection letter and I hope to see the same thoughtfulness.
- Your query and synopsis are perfect. There are big differences between queries and synopis’ and if you don’t know what any or either of these are, it’s time to learn! The point of a query letter is to get the publisher to ask for additional pages of your manuscript so that we can read more. The role of a synopsis is to tell the publisher what happens in your book from beginning to end in one page. Both of these elements are essential to pitching any publisher your book. If you need additional help, check out our course here: Mini-Course Crafting the Perfect Query – Pandamonium Publishing House
- Your book is complete. Picture this: your real estate agent calls and tells you they’ve found your dream home that boasts six walk in closets, an indoor pool and hot tub, a baseball field and everything else you’ve ever wanted! But then…they tell you it’s not for sale. This is how publishers feel when we get a really great manuscript submission that checks all of our boxes for the next great story and we find out that the author has not completed the book. Ensure that your book is complete before ever considering submitting your work.
- You’re patient. Sometimes it takes us 4-8 weeks to respond or even longer due to the number of submissions we receive each month. Sometimes publishers will say that it’s ok for you to contact them via email to check on the status of your submission. If that’s the case-no problem in checking in once. Don’t send multiple emails, don’t bug them, and don’t get nasty when you don’t get the answer that you want-there’s no better way to squash a potential contract. If the publisher does not respond to your manuscript in the first place, after three months of no response you can be safe to assume they’re not interested. To clear all of this up, visit their website where you’ll find the answers to your questions.
- You’re willing. Being willing to improve your writing skills and credentials is huge and shows publishers that you’re invested in your career as an author. I’ve had authors send me manuscripts that I’ve passed on and years later they send me another; this time they’ve done the work, they’ve improved their skills and it shows. Never say never. Do the work and anything is possible!
I’m a huge believer (and living proof) that you get what you want after you put in the work. The thing with publishing (and in life) is that you get what you work for, not what you wish for and it can take years, decades, or a lifetime to reach your goals. Some people aren’t willing to do what it takes. But around here, when it comes to weight, we certainly pull our own. You need to do the same if you want a publishing contract.