Big topic this and there is a wealth of wisdom out there, but it is true to say that there are many writers who just simply don’t follow the “rules” and send of any old rubbish to all and sundry.
In my recently published book The Handbook of TOP TIPS to Manage Your Writing available on Amazon Kindle
I cover the topic of “submissions” in some detail.
There are 2 absolutely essential things a writer must do before they send their work to a publisher or editor.
1. Research, research, research
2. Presentation, presentation, presentation.
It is an absolute disgrace that some if not many writers, who must have some intellect because they have actually written something, send out to anyone and everyone because they “just might be looking for something else” to what they usually publish. UM NO. NO.NO.
A writer has to do their research, so get a copy of the Writers Handbook and/or the Writers and Artists Yearbook and see which genres publisher/agents are working in. Then, check their website for submissions details, some are hidden away in “contact us” or elsewhere, some have nice clear “submissions guidelines” pages, either way look and check. Some even have good pages on what and how to submit to them.
What you will find is that ALL BUT A FEW publishers say they take on unsolicited work. For the fiction I write in there is only 1 publisher that takes submissions directly from the public. One, out of dozens.
For agents, it is little better and I found 15 that take submissions. Some only take them when they are looking, so it may be luck or time dependent, check their websites. Many others do not take on first timers.
Do not waste your time and money sending your work to a company that DOES NOT WANT IT. They will probably not read it and shred it.
If they do want it, be prepared to wait a long time, 3 months is not a long time for them to reply because they are inundated with submissions.
One final thing about research, check their websites an see if they take e-mail submissions or are postal only and send to that person, group or e-mail address. DO NOT TRY to be clever and send to everyone of their representatives on the list, JUST IN CASE”. They won’t appreciate it and it clogs up the system and wastes their time.
Oh my Lord, what have writers become? The standard of presentation that A LOT of people send to publishers and agents is woeful, absolutely woeful. Embarrassing and if the truth be told, is a shame on writers. It brings us all down.
You need to send them EXACTLY WHAT THEY ASK FOR no more, no less. In The handbook of TOP TIPS to Manage Your Writing
I provide many essential, if not compulsory tips for writers on what and how to send their submission.
A publisher or agent just simply wants clean crisp paper, double sided, wide margins, nice easy readable font, no red pen marks, no coffee cup rings, no coloured scented paper, no gimmicks, no reviews by your mate, no nothing else.
A simple cover letter of 2 pages maximum about you, your writing history, ambition and a bit about the work.
If you are sending them an e-mail, sent it how they have told you they want it. Some want everything as attachments, some want everything embedded in the e-mail, some want the work saved with name, date, author etc as the title of the work and so on. Give them what they ask for, nothing more, nothing less.
If a writer can do all if these simple easy things, and lets face it, it will be respectful to the person or company on the receiving end, then you might just stand a chance. Maybe. But for an unpublished writer, probably not, but it is worth a try to the right people.
What it will do is cut down on the vast, and I do mean vast amount of wrongly submitted, unwanted trash and junk that publishers and agents get EVERY DAY. Some publishers get many hundreds of unsolicited submissions EVERY WEEK.
It will also raise the bar for every writer and who knows, more good writing from those talented and unrecognized writers out there may just get their chance. It might be you, but if writers continue to send crap to everyone and anyone then the chances of the “next big thing” being found are so minimal you may as well do the lottery.
I know, I buy tickets every week, but I also make sure my work is as good as I can get it and as professionally submitted as I can.
Give yourself a change and give publishers and agents the chance of finding the good from the crap.
This is the tip of the guidance on submission, check out my other TOP TIPS in my book The handbook of TOP TIPS to Manage Your Writing