I Lied, Last Submission Post

September 24, 2008 at 4:09 pm 6 comments

This is the one most important things to do when you are submitting: READ THE GUIDELINES.

You scoff at my suggestion, but nothing irritates an agent or editor faster than YOU, the writer, IGNORING the guidelines. If they are well written guidelines you know what to expect so why would you ignore them?

Now why do I care about the guidelines so much?

There is nothing worse than standing in the post office and you can’t remember if you are supposed to send a #10 standard size envelope or one that can fit your materials in.

Another thing, guidelines are not created equal and each one is set to an agency or publisher’s specification. Here’s some examples:

from the website of Folio Literary Management:

The Letter should:

  • Be no longer than one page.
  • Have a catchy but professional introduction (how you heard of agent, great plot idea, etc.)
  • Detail your experience (credentials for writing the book – can be professional and/or personal experience). Your credentials are crucial for nonfiction, and may be less important for fiction, but sell yourself. Nobody thinks it’s bragging.
  • Include details about the project in a short paragraph. If fiction, one- or two-line “log line,” plus word count and genre, if appropriate; if nonfiction, a brief description of the project, plus finish this sentence: “My book is the first book that…”
  • This is only one component that they offer to potential clients. Under the submissions tab on their website they have four sections of how you should submit to them. “How to Submit to Us”, “Basic Info on Query Letters”, “How to format your Manuscript”, and “Non-fiction Proposals”.

    I can’t begin to tell you how priceless this information is. Here’s another:

    from the website of BookEnds, LLC:

    To query BookEnds, please e-mail only one agent directly at:

    • Jacky Sach
    • Jessica Faust
    • Kim Lionetti (Please note that Kim’s computer coughed up its last breath while she was on maternity leave and unfortunately she’s lost all e-mails sent between June 27th and September 5th. If you sent a query during that time, please resend. We apologize for the inconvenience.)

    and include the word “query” or “submission” in your subject heading.

    They also have a page on what they consider a proposal. (3 chapters, up to 50 pages) Even that little detail is helpful. I know some agents who want the first 100 pages or only the first chapter. Little details that can eventually drive you insane if you don’t have them by hand when submitting.

    Now how can it get any different. Here’s the general guidelines from Harlequin:

    Unless otherwise noted, we do not accept unsolicited complete or partial manuscripts, but ask instead that you submit a query letter. The query letter should include a word count and pertinent facts about yourself as a writer, including your familiarity with the romance genre. Please indicate what series you think your project is appropriate for, if it is completed, what you think makes it special, and previous publishing experience (if any). Also include a synopsis of your story that gives a clear idea of both your plot and characters and is no more than two single-spaced pages. A self-addressed envelope and return international postage coupons will ensure a reply. Should your manuscript be requested, please note the following information.

    And it goes on and you should read it. The thing is, once you start looking at the individual guidelines you might get a different song and dance. This is from the Kimani Line still in the Harlequin family:

    If you’re ready to share your vision of contemporary African-American romance, send a detailed synopsis and three sample chapters (published authors) or a detailed synopsis and a complete manuscript (unpublished authors)

    Let’s not forget since you are submitting to a publisher they have word counts you need to know about and trust me the list goes on.

    Has your head exploded yet?

    It’s okay. Every time I get on the hamster wheel called submitting I feel this way.

    Back to the point of this post–read the guidelines, because those little rules are just as important as writing a good book.


    Entry filed under: Books Ends, Folio Literary Management, Harlequin, Jacky Sach, Jessica Faust, Kim Lionetti, LLC, query, rules, submitting, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

    The Makings of a Query Gearing Up for Promotion

    6 Comments Add your own

    • 1. Amie Stuart  |  September 24, 2008 at 5:50 pm

      Unless otherwise noted, we do not accept unsolicited complete or partial manuscripts, but ask instead that you submit a query letter

      HORSE SHIT! Agent guidelines are FINE, I understand there’s a reason for them–to a point, but I’m such a rule breaker I’m crying TOTAL and ABSOLUTE BS on this one.

      Publishing is a SLOW business. WHY oh WHY would you do anything to slow your chances of a sale down even more?

      Send the freaking partial for pete’s sake!

    • 2. Melissa Blue  |  September 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

      Lol, Amie. That’s what it says on Harlequin’s main site. BUT once you start going into individual ines you see they prefer that you send your Q and S, plus the first three chapters. If you never look any farther than this page you won’t know that you can send a partial.

      My only question with Kimani is what do they consider “published”?

    • 3. Jen  |  September 25, 2008 at 12:25 am

      This is why, when I was preparing my submission for Miriam Kriss, I had the guidelines page on the agency’s website open on my desktop. LOL.
      They’re all different and it helps if you have others in the biz that know the ins and outs.
      These have been great posts, Mel.

    • 4. Melissa Blue  |  September 25, 2008 at 4:29 am

      ” I had the guidelines page on the agency’s website open on my desktop”

      I do the same thing.

      And thanks. I hope these post help someone.

    • 5. Amie Stuart  |  September 25, 2008 at 12:27 pm

      Hey I say interpret published any way you want it! 😀

    • 6. Melissa Blue  |  September 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm

      I’m published and it’s just not in my mind.

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