Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Submissions, Submissions, Submissions

Just having come off of two weeks of vacation, I can honestly tell you that I used my time off to its maximum.  I was able to write a few dozen pages of fiction, edit several of my drafts, and, most importantly, send off a half dozen of my completed manuscripts to romance publishers.

How did I accomplish so much?  Well, I was able to follow some of the rules I established for myself to balance my work life and my writing.

But I also set a game plan to send out my manuscripts, a task which was long overdue as I completed editing the last of these over a year ago.  Why did it take so long?  I could go into the usual song-and-dance about fear of failure/ fear of success but I can narrow it down to one culprit: inertia.  It was easier to keep on writing and writing and writing, and even editing, while never taking that final step of sending my completed work out into the world to find success (or failure) as it might.

So, I decided to use part of my vacation time this year to conquer that inertia.  Here is my game plan:

  1. Research:  Check out a list of romance publishers and make sure that your manuscript fits into the type of submissions that publisher accepts.  There's no point in sending out a steamy erotic romance to a publisher that only accepts sweet inspirational stories.  Also pay attention to themes being sought, manuscript lengths, etc.  If your manuscript doesn't fit the criteria set out in the submission guidelines, find another publisher.  If you can't find any publisher that seems to be seeking your type of romance novel, you start thinking about cutting it down or changing it.
  2. Formatting:  Publishers usually want a romance manuscript that fits specific parameters.  Why?  Because it's easier to read.  But even if your potential target publisher wants 3" margins and Old English font, do it.  Yours is not to reason why.  Just make sure you save your newly formatted manuscript in a separate computer file.  You may need to go back to the original format in the future.
  3. Query:  By now, you probably have the bare bones of a query letter created.  You will have to spend some time now customizing your query letter to fit the format set out in your potential publisher's website.  They may specify, for instance, that your query letter should cover: the
  4. Attach: Make sure you include in your email (or snail mail submission, if that floats your boat) the attachments the publisher requests.  That may be an entire manuscript or just three chapters.  Don't forget your synopsis.  And don't send attachments at all if the publisher doesn't accept them.
  5. Send.  Push the button.  You know you want to.
None of these steps took a short time.  That's why I worked on the process during my entire vacation, spending a few days researching, another formatting and drafting query letters and attachments, and finally, during the last two days of my vacation, I was able to send out my six manuscript submissions.  Yay!

Trust me, that final step is easy once you've covered off all of the previous ones.

Good luck with your submissions!

No comments:

Post a Comment