I spend a great many hours of my time reading query letters and manuscript submissions. It’s my job and I love it! I could love it even more if more authors would pay attention to the details when submitting their manuscripts. Make me want your work. Remember, you are asking for an Acquisition Editor’s time in a sea of writers asking for the same. Here’s how to jump start your submissions in 2019:
Please stop sending in your unedited manuscripts. We can spot a spellcheck user a mile away and on the first page of whatever you’ve submitted. That paragraph full of run on sentences? Yes, we see it. Get through your self-editing stage, then hire a professional editor. Preferably one with experience in your genre.
Follow the submission guidelines. I once had an author tell me it was too much trouble for him to go back and reformat the manuscript, submitting it anyway. For anyone who feels this way let me assure you that your work won’t get a second look. His statement told me two things:
The submission guidelines are a crucial piece. Here, we employ a person specifically to look at whether or not your work meets several criteria. A gatekeeper if you will. If you can’t get past her, the manuscript never reaches the desk of an Acquisitions Editor for consideration.
Know your publisher. Does this publishing house produce your genre? Do they work directly with authors or only with agents ? Do they accept unsolicited manuscripts? It’s the author’s job to perform their due dilligence in these areas.
Unrealistic Expectations. When a publisher takes on a book, it represents a risk. If your book sells, your publisher will love you. If not, the publisher will move on to the next writer because books basically have the shelf life of a tomato. We move on because we have to in order to stay alive. Remember, just because the book is available, doesn’t mean it will sell millions of copies, despite everyone’s best efforts.
All that said, did you know that William Golding’s, “Lord of the Flies”, was rejected 20 times before becoming published? Joseph Heller’s, “Catch-22”, was rejected, well, 22 times.
Don’t give up! Keep writing, revising, and submitting.