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How to Submit Your Manuscript

In writing a book, the struggles that you have to face as a writer are divided into parts: the first has to do with the actual writing process itself, while the other has to do with having your final manuscript published. Both entail time and tremendous hard work.

During the actual writing stage, you are confronted with challenges that revolve around weaving your ideas into a cohesive and engaging whole. But once you have your manuscript ready, the challenges you face will either be technical or bureaucratic.

Once you have completed your manuscript, you have three options to choose from. The first option is to get a literary agent to represent you and your work. In this option you send out a query letter to a literary agent of your choice. Once the agent agrees to represent you, the agent will then ask you to send him or her a copy of your manuscript.

The second option is to go it alone and submit your manuscript to publishing houses without the help of a literary agent. Here, you mail out copies of your manuscript directly to publishers. You then wait and see if any of these companies will call you back for a possible deal.

The final option is for you to self-publish your own book. In self-publishing, you take full control of the editing, design, and distribution of your book at your own expense.

Save for the last option, getting your book published entails one crucial step: submitting your manuscript.

So exactly how should you submit your manuscript? There is no single way of doing it because literary agencies and publishing houses each have their own submission requirements. Needless to say, it is your responsibility to check what these requirements are even before submitting your manuscript.

In general, however, there are a couple of basic guidelines that you should follow in submitting your manuscript. Here are some of them:

Prepare a cover letter. This letter should include basic information, such as your name, the title of your manuscript, as well as your contact information. Do not treat your cover letter as a query letter; they're not the same in terms of function and form.

Observe proper format. You want your manuscript to be professional and easy to read. Follow basic rules such as the use of double-space in between lines of text and ample margins on all sides. Remember not to use unconventional fonts. Print out your manuscript on white, standard legal-sized paper. Do not use colored or scented paper. Just as importantly, keep in mind not to bind your manuscript. Leave the pages loose.

Send your manuscript in an expandable envelope.

Attach a self-addressed stamped envelope that's worth enough for the entire manuscript. This is to allow the publishing company to send back your manuscript to you in case of rejection or requests for revision.

In submitting your manuscript, remember to be thorough about the required specifications in order to facilitate easy processing.