One Writer’s Journey

June 10, 2014

Writing Rules: 5 Things to Keep in Mind as You Submit Your Work

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:28 am

RulesRecently, I finished editing another issue of Mo Scribbles, the newsletter for the Missouri Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  It is always an interesting experience sitting on the editor side of the desk.  Interesting because it puts things into perspective.  As a result, here are 5 things to keep in mind as you get ready to submit your work.

1.  Follow Directions.  When the guidelines or a market listing tell you what the editor wants, pay attention.  Format, word count and content all matter.  If you make extra work for someone, they are more likely to respond with a “no thank you” if they respond at all.

2.  Let Your Work Speak for Itself.  If you feel the need to tell someone how fantastic your work is, stiffle it.  You aren’t J.K. Rowling or Lemony Snickett.  Comparing yourself with them just looks pretentious.

3.  Multiple Submissions.  Some markets, especially educational markets, expect multiple submissions.  When I work with or Schoolwide, I send in anywhere from 5 to 30 manuscripts.  These editors work in bulk but most publishers don’t.  If you don’t see anything abuot this in the guidelines, submit one piece at a time.  If there is a 5 piece limit, assume this means you.

4.  Simultaneous Submissions.  Yes, publishers and editors can be slow.  But if it says to give them an exclusive for two months, do it.  They talk to each other and if an editor things she has an exclusive and finds out a friend is also considering the same piece, you’ve just lost the sale.  I’ve heard stories.

5.  Be Punctual.  If you have a deadline, meet it.  If you can’t, don’t make them approach you.  Speak up and admit it.  They won’t love it, but they’ll be less irritated than if they have to track you down.

It isn’t easy to break in but don’t make it any harder on yourself.  Play by the rules.




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