Manuscript submission is definitely an important chapter for authors, as it is almost the first real authentic step towards publishing a book. But it doesn’t also mean that it’s easy. It entails first looking for a publisher, where currently there are actually 86,000 in existence (http://parapub.com/statistics). It seems to be difficult to know what each publisher’s criteria is at any point of time. Regardless of this, it is not smart to talk to all these 86,000 publishers for manuscript submission. You would just be wasting your energies, time, and cash. What would help is if you do your homework on these publishers first before actual submission. Here are some effective research strategies you should follow:
Research Tips before Manuscript Submission
1) Before actual manuscript submission, get the lowdown first on publishing houses.
Can a writer actually proceed with it to different publishers at the same time? The answer is it depends. Sad to say, every publisher has a set of rules and regulations regarding multiple manuscript submissions. It is your duty to discover what these are. You can try to read up on the website, the Literary Marketplace, and Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market released in 2006. These are great references for guidelines for publishers and manuscript submission.
As you read up on these before your submission, make sure to also take note of the type of material each publisher is looking for, along with the type of manuscripts and proposals they prefer. What would also help is to actually go to your local bookstore and check out the books that may be related to yours. Jot down the name of the publishing houses, along with the editor and agent handling the book (most of the time these are found in the acknowledgements part). This however might lead to the publisher saying to you that “we’ve already done that,” but on the other hand, if that topic is a hit and gives the company success then they may be looking forward to another manuscript submission similar to that subject.
2) For easier submission, look for an Agent that is suited to you.
You will soon find out from your research that there are publishing houses that may fit you but do not receive manuscripts that are unsolicited. Which means you should get yourself an agent in order to help your manuscript submission with the right literary companies. In this case, you should check out the 2006 Guide to Literary Agents for your search. You can also read up on Writer’s Digest’s listing of more than 600 agents that do not charge for their services.
The Association of Author’s Representatives (AAR) have established a set of ethical guidelines that are followed by the agents on the list. AAR members are not allowed to charge fees. So you can be sure that the agent you have is adhering to these policies, and that you can fully understand better the type of material represented by the agent. In the end, you won’t be undergoing on a futile and expensive manuscript submission process.
3) The right mechanics you should keep in mind.
Do not focus too much on the specifics of how your manuscript should look. You’ll learn from your research if the publisher or agent wants your manuscript to have a specific look, but mostly if it is double-spaced and with a clear, legible size 12 font like Arial or Courier, then you’re on the right track. Indicate your name, title of the book and pagination on every page, and remember this, do not staple anything. It will be easier for the recipient to make copies if the pages are loose. And this is ideal because there will be a number of people who will be reading your manuscript.
Another note, since we are in the digital age, more publishers and agencies are now accepting submissions electronically. These can help you save on energy, effort and energy since you do not have to submit it to their office physically.
4) Think like an entrepreneur.
Be not afraid. But it’s like this – is writing is really your passion, then be prepared that manuscript submission will be a regular thing you’ll do. You do not want to illicit negativities due to submission angst. The key here is that instead of thinking like a writer, think like a business person, and your manuscript is the product you are selling, and you must think and feel that you are selling a great product. Be prepared to be rejected, that is a fact of life, but accept these as constructive criticisms and as learning experiences. Just carry on with your next manuscript submission prospect and do not take it personally. The right attitude and mindset will be key to your success.
Just follow these techniques and you’re sure to be on the way to getting successfully published!