Introduction to Learning the Submission Process for Authors

The Nuts and Bolts of the Submission Process

Even if you don’t have a manuscript ready to submit, I hope you will learn some of the techniques to prepare your manuscript for submission, and find the motivation to take those next steps into the world of publication. Submitting to an agent or a publisher uses many of the same techniques, so we’ll look at both of them simultaneously.

This is not a course that will guarantee that your manuscript will be read once it’s submitted, but will help you prepare the best you can for the process. There are thousands of people who have ideas about how to prepare for submission. Later we’ll go find some of those sources for you. I highly recommend that all authors gather several opinions from those who have successfully submitted for publication or representation, and adapt the advice to suit you. Each of us has our unique voice and style, and bottom line: that individuality, along with excellence, should get you a read. It's a survival process. Who is willing to follow the rules yet be a stand out? Who is willing to stay the course and be more than a hobbyist?

The best way to get your submission read is by being FAT.

Yes, that’s right. It’s an old Sunday School acronym standing for Faithful, Available, Teachable.

1. People who get their submissions read are persistent, no matter how many denials they rack up, and are continually submitting.
2. People who get their submission read are paying attention to opportunity and constantly looking for submission avenues and know how to follow the guidelines.
3. People who get their submission read are always learning new methods and always growing their craft, no matter how many contracts they sign.

These sessions are mostly to benefit beginners who have either never submitted anything because they haven’t learned that part of the process, or those who have submitted but have not received a response, or simply those who want to brush up. 

By the final lesson, I hope you will be able to find the guidelines for submissions to both publishers and agents and be able to write a query letter as well as a general cover letter for a full proposal. You should understand how to research and/or write other generally asked-for pieces of information in a proposal, such as a synopsis, biography, resume, market analysis, marketing plan. You should also identify target markets for your submissions and know the difference between solicited and unsolicited. Some participants who have a finished manuscript will be able to send a query. 

Here’s an overview of the lessons:

Your project will be to identify what you want to submit – and at this point it doesn’t have to b a finished project. We’re simply starting to identify what to submit and how to start the process.

We’ll be writing sample cover/query letters and learning how to follow the directions for the target publisher or agent

We’ll put our proposal together and share our sample submission for our target publisher or agent

Your proposal packet - How do you feel about it?
The waiting game – how long, how and when to follow up, what do you do while you're waiting