This is the first in a three-post series regarding submitting to and interacting with publishers, agents, or another organization. Even if you’re an indie author, you will still have to submit your work—book reviewers, book awards, anthologies, etc. all involve a submission process. Putting your work out there is tough, no matter how seasoned an author you might be, but there are still rules to this game.
What is your goal?
Are you planning on traditionally publishing your first novel? Are you a prolific indie author and plan to submit a piece to a magazine or anthology? The first thing you need to decide is what you’re planning to do with your work. How you submit, and where, will depend on your goal. You wouldn’t submit a fantasy short story to a full-length non-fiction publisher, would you?
Are you ready?
No matter what your goal is, your piece needs to be finished and polished. Though it seems pretty clear, there are plenty of authors who don’t understand what polished really means. Yes, the publisher or agent will probably work with you on editing the piece, but you need to have done several rounds of revisions and edits before they ever see your work. Go over your writing a few times after you’ve edited and after a colleague or objective friend takes a look. Spellcheck is your friend, as long as you don’t rely solely on it.
Here’s a good checklist:
Revision round 1
Self-editing round 2
Revision round 2
Self-editing round 2
Additional editing, spellcheck
Final read through.
Only when the piece is as good as you can possibly make it, should you submit.
What are the rules?
When you’ve chosen whom you’re going to send your work to, make she you do your research. See if they’re open for unsolicited submissions. Double check that your work is something they’re interested in. Find their submission guidelines and —this is most important— FOLLOW THEM. Some things might seem trivial to you, but every detail is to streamline the process for the publisher, and make sure that your work isn’t veto-ed right out of the gate.
Even if you were approached about a project, or referred by a mutual colleague, follow the guidelines. This will show that you’re serious, respectful, and willing to work with them.
This concluded the first part of our Submission series. Check back for parts two and three and, as always, if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or email us!
V.S. Holmes is the author of both fantasy and science fiction. Smoke and Rain, the first in her epic fantasy quartet, and Travelers, the first Nel Bently Book are now available on Amazon. She can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
There a lot of steps to go through before pressing that ever coveted Publish button! There are also a few things to think about before you choose where to publish.
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