Ready to send your manuscript to a publisher for review? Don’t make the mistake of being under-prepared!
Manuscript submissions come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, but nothing frustrates a publisher more than having to sift through badly formatted submissions with little to zero introductions. When editing your manuscript, stick to a neat, uniform look that will invite your reviewer to read it, rather than confuse them with a cluttered format. Based on the mistakes and negligence of other writers who have come before you, check out some of these things not to do when you submit your manuscript.
- Have blatant spelling and grammar mistakes throughout your manuscript or cover letter.
- Send a manuscript lumped together as one paragraph (you’d be amazed what we’ve seen!).
- Disregard the submission guidelines and instructions on the publisher’s website.
- Send the manuscript in the body of an email.
- Forget to research the type of books represented by the publisher.
- Use strange colors or fonts – stick to something standard and easy to read.
- Compare yourself to incredibly famous writers. Let the reviewer find those similarities.
The list goes on, but if your manuscript submission needs to have one thing—other than your work—it should always be accompanied by a cover letter.
Your cover letter should include the following:
Explanation of the book
Provide a concise summary of your book. What genre does it fall into? What is it about? Tell them about your work!
Many of us dread writing about ourselves, but this doesn’t have to be your life’s story! Just write something brief that will help the publisher and your readers get to know you better as a writer.
Connections and credits
Is this your first or fifth book? Did your short story get published on a blog or in a magazine? Did you intern for a publishing company in the past? Are you friends with someone notable? Humbly mention any of your relevant connections and significant publishing credits.
Explain what your ultimate goal is for promotion. Who is your target audience? How are you going to reach them? Even if you don’t have definitive answers on your future marketing goals,it says a lot that you are even thinking about it on your own. Furthermore, talk about what you are already doing to promote yourself. Are you on social media? Do you have a blog?
Why you? Why them?
Be sure to explain why you think that publisher is the right one for you, and why your book is a good fit for the publisher. Not only does this show your attentiveness to the publisher’s brand and mission statement, but it displays a certain kind of intentionality that’s refreshing to any reviewer.
Once you’ve crafted a cover letter, tidied up your manuscript, spell checked them both multiple times, and sent your submission to the publishing company, the final step is to be patient. Most publishers get numerous submissions a day, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few weeks or even months. Feel free to follow up, but don’t become a nuisance.