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Submitting Manuscript for Budding Authors (Part 2 of 2)
In getting an agent, some surefire ways to ensure you’re getting the right one is to use this checklist:
1) They should be a member of the Association of Author’s Representatives (AAR). Members of this association don’t charge reading fees. Consider it a red flag if an agent charges you a reading fee.
2) Check what type of books they represent. You don’t submit a science fiction novel to an agent who specializes in business books.
3) Is it okay to make a follow-up to know the status of your manuscript? An agent will usually contact you if they find your manuscript to be promising. If an agent is too busy to read your work and get back to you, chances are he will be too busy to give you the best representation.
4) A good agent may well serve as your literary executor by the time that you have passed away. You can discuss this with your agent.
Your manuscript format
Publishers will make it clear in their guidelines if they want submissions to follow a specific format. Otherwise, the standard double-spaced, 12-font sized Arial or Courier New with one-inch margins on both sides will do fine. Put your name, book title, and page number on the top right of each page. Do not bind or staple your manuscripts. Loose copies are easier for editors to read. If still in doubt about formatting, guides on how to format your manuscript are readily accessible online.
If publishers prefer submission by mail, they’ll instruct that you include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) if you want your manuscript returned. If however, you don’t want your manuscript back, mention it in your cover letter.
Manuscripts by mail, however, are becoming obsolete. Publishing houses and literary agencies now have electronic submission platforms where you can send your manuscript. This saves both the author and the agency or publishing house time, and it makes it more streamlined to peruse manuscripts. The best part is that it saves you money in buying stamps.
You’re wearing two hats now
Writing and publishing a book alone is not enough for people to read you. You have to let people know that you have a book that’s worth their reading time. Create awareness on the entertainment or informational value of the work you’re introducing to them. This is the entrepreneurial aspect of becoming a published author. Moreover, your agent and publisher will require your cooperation in promoting your book. They cannot do it by themselves. You as the author have the best handle on what your work is all about. This is no longer the time to hide inside your shell. Becoming an author, even back in the day, requires courage. It’s unrealistic to think that you can write and get published and just wait for the accolades to come pouring in that will turn your book into a bestseller. Write because you love writing, but sustain it with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado