Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday's Helpful Hints

Today we start with what I've learned over the almost thirty years I've been in this business, because, it is a business.

I decided the best place to start is the beginning. Kinda like the alphabet song from the movie, Sound of Music.

Let's get one fact out of the way at the start! If you want to be published, and some people don't, then you have to submit your work. Just saying you could write a good book, doesn't mean you can get it published unless you are willing to submit it. And that means you have to know how.

I've told the tale before, but with my first attempt I sent a complete, poorly formated manuscript, all 650 pages to the president of St. Martin's Press.  The only thing I did right was send the manuscript to a publisher of romance. Everything else was wrong, wrong, wrong.

So today, I want to begin with the Format of a Submission. 

1. (And foremost) You might not want to send the whole manuscript to a publisher. And you don't want to do anything with that manuscript that screams rooky! They will usually tell you how much they want of your FINISHED work. Okay, I'll yelling. Unless you have a track record of publishing many books, most publishers, print or 'e' will not want to know about your unfinished book. Finish the book and then submit the amount they request. If they are interested, they'll ask for the rest.

2. Know the rules for submitting, which means you need to read the guidelines for the publisher to whom you are submitting. If they don't specify what format they want, then choose the standard format and yes, there is a standard.

3. Okay, here's the standard.
        Margins -      1 inch all the way around, top, bottom, left and
                             right sides
        Font  -          Nothing fancy. This is a business. Use a regular
                             computer font. Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana
                             are always good. This will make you look
                             professional. Underlining and bolding your font
                             says you're a novice and you don't know anything
                             about the business.
       Spacing -       Unless the guidelines say otherwise, double spacing is
                            a good choice. Editors have a lot to read every day,
                             particularly submission editors. All they do is read.
       Headers -      Again, read the guidelines. Usually, Your Title/Your
                             name on the top of every page.
       Numbering -  Top right or bottom is always good if the guidelines
                             don't say.

Summing up! Read the guildines.

That's it for this week.  Next week we'll look at how to send a manuscript to a publishing company.

Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch


Mary Ricksen said...

Great suggestions!!!Thanks!

Melissa said...

There are places too that ask only to be approached through licensed agents, and only when a call has been put out, or aren't I speaking out of turn? Those are the big "NYT" print houses. I've been rejected myself.

Mickie Sherwood said...

Hi, Allison,

That sounded like my first experience at submitting a paper manuscript. The rejection letter was beautifully written.

I'll tune in next week.

Mickie Sherwood
~~Sweet, spicy romance – a heartbeat away~~

Allison Knight said...

Thanks for the comments.

Next week we'll take a lot a what I did wrong when I submitted, and what is the standard for both the big "six" and e.

Stephen Benson said...

Allison I have no doubt you'll be helping someone with these posts. Long ago a senior editor at Henry Holt agreed to read my manuscript as a favor (they used a photo of mine.) I sent it in a notebook, single spaced, printed both other words all wrong. Whether or not she truly liked the story... I simply blew an opportunity. I could have used your advice! Keep it coming.