Submitting Your Manuscript to a Publisher

Recently I got into an interesting discussion with a fellow student about publishing. We both have some experience as an intern at a publisher and talked about the e-mails that come in from authors, who wish to publish their novel. 

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Like any other profit organisation, publishing is a business. It is about profit, no matter the creativity that passes a publisher’s desk. This is something that I have learned is often overlooked and is something I was quite naive about.

Publishing being a business also means that the e-mail a publisher receives is expected to be professional no matter the creative nature of the product that is to be sold. Yet still there seems to be a trend for aspiring authors to write an e-mail that is unprofessional in many different ways. Mostly, I reckon, for the reason of standing out.

Well, if one thing is for sure, you do stand out, but in my experience, you do not stand out in a good way. The chances of your manuscript being dumped in the bin have just been increased immensely.

A few of the big no-nos are:

  • Writing an overly confident e-mail about your manuscript becoming the new Harry Potter
  • Filling your e-mail with creative mumbo jumbo
  • Sending out only part of a manuscript or an e-mail without a manuscript stating it still has to be written and asking whether the publisher would be interested in the storyline you have in your mind
  • Sending a manuscript without a synopsis or a synopsis that leaves the reader on a cliffhanger

The good news is: it is not a difficult job to write a proper e-mail. Moreover, the website of a publisher often states what their requirements are for sending them a manuscript, which provides us with a good guideline to set up the e-mail!

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