Wednesday, 23 November 2016

How I Write #17: Submitting Your Work

In this final How I Write post for 2016, I will say a few words about submitting work as a guide for any budding authors out there.

Once you've finished your story, it's tempting to rush into submission; however, if you follow these three simple steps first, you'll improve your chances of acceptance.

1) Editing and Proofreading

Is it still a first draft? If so, it's highly recommended you edit before submitting. It doesn't have to be a paid, professional edit at this stage (unless you are self-publishing or know you need guidance/feedback), but it should be done. For my shorter works, I prepare 2-3 drafts and a final proofread before submitting. For novels and novellas, this can go to four drafts and a proof. Try to leave time between each review as a little distance will make it easier for you to spot errors and typos.

2) Choosing a Publisher

Don't just email your manuscript to every publisher you know as that's a sure road to rejection. Check their websites first. Are they taking non-agent submissions? If so, are there set days they accept manuscripts? Does your work fit what they are looking for with regards to genre, word count etc.? Some will list what they're after; for others, check their current releases to see if yours gels.

3) Formatting and Submission Process

Connected to the above, you need to see if they have a process you must follow in order to submit. (Some prefer email, some have a form, others use Submittable.) What information and documentation do they require, and how should your manuscript be formatted? This last point is important as different publishers have different preferences when it comes to line spacing and font style, and following their recommendations will make it less likely they'll reject your work out of hand.

Publishers get many submissions, and the best way to make a good impression is to show you have read their requirements and followed them. I know if I were faced with a choice between two excellent stories and could only pick one, I'd go with the one that had followed my formatting instructions over the one that hadn't. Something to bear in mind. Good luck!

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