By Cicely Rue
When submitting to a publisher, every writer should know some basic rules. New and young authors might not always remember the following: Although writing is an art, writing is still a business. The publisher has to be able to sell your book. That is their only job. Your job is getting the publisher to want to sell your book. “First impressions are everything;” that can’t be truer, even with writing.
Regardless of the publisher’s guidelines, they have to believe not only in you, but also in your writing. Throughout all contact with the publisher, you should always remain professional. As a writer, you are an artist. The ability to create provides individuals with a sense of freedom—the freedom to be and to express yourself. Although the publisher encourages your creativity, they also want to know they are working with a responsible author, one that can represent themselves and the company well. Therefore, it is not recommended that you approach publishers casually when submitting your manuscript.
Tips for Professionalism:
1. Nothing screams “amateur writing” like a query letter or manuscript that has not been polished. Always proofread everything you send to a potential publisher or agent. You are a writer. Writing well is important, but the other key to being a good writer is knowing the importance of good editing. If your query letter or manuscript sample does not suggest this ability, publishing companies will not give you a second look. Your manuscript should be professionally edited. It’s always suggested that you have friends or family look over emails or letters; however, this does not replace the need to hire a professional editor.
2. Always pay attention to the specific guidelines. If you are not sure of something… RESEARCH! This is your dream. The key to being a bestselling author is self-sufficiency. Books, Google searches, and blogs are your best friend when it comes to trying to get your first novel published. Utilize these tools and look at examples. (Tips for a proper query letter will be included in this blog.)
The next important step is the query letter. This will be the first piece of your work the publisher reads. It is your only chance at a first impression, so your goal should be to capture their attention. If professionalism is the most important criterion as a writer, then engaging your reader is the second most important thing. If you cannot engage the publisher, then they will never believe that you can engage your intended audience.
Read more on query letters below!