Do’s and Don’ts of MS Submission

Do:

  • Proofread your work five days later.
  • Use an insanely original title—it’s the first thing an agent/editor or even consumer will read.
  • Title search on Amazon, B&N, Bowker’s Books In Print, and Christian Books In Print.
  • Query first (one project at a time), and submit proposal when invited.
  • Refer to any previous correspondence or conversations in follow-up emails.
  • Assume that the publisher tracks all unsolicited material—submit one project per editor.
  • Offer personal web or blog site information.
  • Try to find an established author to endorse your book.
  • Keep a hardcopy or electronic file of what you submit—agent, publisher, book title, date sent.
  • Sign with an agent who believes in you and gets the bigger picture of where you want to go.
  • Keep your fiction character-driven and the clichés to a minimum.
  • Create a cover letter that is concise, articulate (non-cerebral), and intriguing.
  • Attach a thorough book proposal (see template) and sample material.

Don’t:

  • Tell a publisher that you have a New York Times Bestseller on your hands—be humble.
  • Hand write anything unless absolutely necessary—neatness does count.
  • Submit a concept—written sample material is needed to assess your skills.
  • Address your proposal to the “President” of the company.
  • Phone the publisher or agency without initial contact (writer’s conf., email, etc.).
  • Compare your book with one already in print by that publisher; competing material.
  • Use an editor’s name unless you are absolutely sure it is correct.
  • Type in all CAPS! No one likes being yelled at.
  • Send disks or CD’s; there’s too many viruses out there—electronic submission only.
  • Assume the publisher will use artwork or photos you include with your MS.
  • Send the first draft of anything—remember, there’s no getting it back.
  • Merely send a web link to your work—it looks lazy.
  • Email a laundry list of projects you’re working on.
  • Lose your cool with an agent; you’ll shoot yourself in the foot trying to get it in the door.
  • Expect quick results—reviews require from 3 – 12 months depending on agent or editor.
  • Send more than 50 sample pages initially—this is entirely adequate to make a decision.
  • Don’t lose hope—every publisher has their own goals and objectives for their program.
  • Don’t pose the following questions in initial. correspondence—it’s too presumptuous:

Concerns regarding book title, cover/artwork, royalties, publicity, author advance, book price, and other topics that jump the gun.

 

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