The manuscript submission process can be almost as intimidating as writing.
Intimidation should never determine what you do with your manuscript though. With a little guidance and understanding of key, industry standard terminology, manuscript submission can be intuitive.
And dare I say, almost enjoyable.
The road to traditionally publishing manuscripts has a few fairly well-respected guide posts. While they are not guarantees of success, they can increase your likelihood of getting your stories out there.
I will dedicate future blogs to each of these individually but here are a few tips for submission success.
Know Your Genre:
Understanding the elements of genre is critical in publishing fiction. Your publisher knows the difference between dark fantasy and urban fantasy. It is critical that you do too.
A lot of authors scoff at these distinctions. Maybe it feels like game playing. Is critical to understand that deep genre understanding is how the game is played.
Read Submission Guidelines:
I cannot count the number of authors I meet that blindly submit their material. “The publication says that they want fiction. So, I sent them fiction.”
Magazines and anthologies go to great lengths to broadcast specific publishing needs. You can find them all over internet. These listings include word count, genre, reading periods, editor names.
…Now Follow Them:
The guidelines apply to you, too.
Yes, I think my work is brilliant. But if your publisher of choice only accepts unsolicited material between January and June, don’t send in September.
This is critical to understand. You and your work are not above. Think of the manuscript submission process as doing everything in your power to get off the dreaded slush pile instead of buried under it.
Read The Magazine:
Most magazine submission guidelines contain a similar phrase. Please read an issue. Most offer discounted sample issues to writers (an ingenious way to clear out stock).
Take them up on it.
Recently, I picked up an issue of Strange Aeons magazine. I’ve submitted to them four or five times. After reading their pages, I can see quite clearly my work doesn’t fit there.
Have A Good Query Letter:
Your query letter is the most critical submission element. It’s a writing sample and a showcase.
There are numerous blogs about bad queries. Read them for a laugh. Don’t follow them.
No one wants to write script. You are though. Add flair but don’t lose sight.