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Submitting Manuscript for Budding Authors (Part 1 of 2)
“Do you know of any publisher who would be interested in my book?” Does this question sound familiar? It’s typical for new authors to raise this concern and based on the experience of published authors, there’s no clear-cut way to answer it. Thousands of publishers ranging from small to large houses are looking for potential manuscripts that vary in themes or topics depending on the market’s needs. You aren’t going to submit to all the publishers you’ll find in a directory of publishers. That’s a big waste of time and effort as you’re not narrowing down specific publishers in need of the type of book you wrote. Doing research goes a long way and here are some tips to help you with your search:
The right publishing house
Submitting your manuscript to different publishing houses is fine, provided that you made a thorough research on their guidelines and what they’re looking for. Publishing houses make it clear on what type of manuscript they publish. Make sure that you’re attuned to what they need. For example, if you’re submitting a high fantasy manuscript to two publishers, be sure that they have similar guidelines. If one publisher prefers high fantasy with cute elves and menacing trolls while the other doesn’t, you have one publisher that will ignore your submission. A fair warning: If you do intend to submit to multiple publishers, make it clear on your cover letter that you’re also submitting your work to other publishers. Other writers, on the other hand, specify on their cover letter that they will gladly wait for the editor’s response before submitting their manuscript to another publisher.
If you’re writing nonfiction, take note of what kind of material the publisher is looking for and what they want you to include in your proposal. You can visit physical and online bookstores and see what type of books your target publisher releases. Analyze the books carefully. In most cases, even if your work fits the type of material that they print, a publisher may still turn you down if they feel that your work is something that they’ve done already. Make it clear in your proposal on what your book can offer and what makes it different. What type of solution or ideas does it provide to its target market?
Getting an agent
Many traditional publishers will specify in their guidelines that they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts and that they give preference to agented manuscripts. This means you’ll need to get an agent to give your manuscript a fighting chance. In this case, you’ll be searching the marketplace for agents instead of publishers. You can search for reputable literary agents in directories published by Writer’s Digest or you can search webzines about writing and publishing that recommend literary agents. If you’re serious about finding an agent, it’s advisable to grab a copy of literary agency directories like that published by Writer’s Digest. Every year, they publish and update their directories to keep writers updated as well.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado