Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Submission Tips...

I'm sure most of you have gotten--or heard--the advice at one time or another that says, "treat your submission as if it were a job interview." This is sound advice, but also advice that many seem to overlook. Remember, your query and proposal are the first impression an editor gets of you.

We've seen the "so make sure your partial is as typo-free as possible" and the "make sure your query letter is professional" advice, and we do everything we can to ensure that first impression is impeccable...

But what about that second impression? I'd like to go over a few things that I think authors sometimes forget--some do's and don't's in submitting and dealing with an editor.

Don't: Pester the editor with multiple emails and questions about when you'll get a contract. I'm not saying you should never send an email (sometimes, I'm sure it's necessary and justified), but if you've heard from the editor that they will contact you regarding your submission on X-date, then don't email them prior to that date asking if they've had a chance to read it. (Sounds like a "duh" piece of advice, but trust me, some people need to hear this! :-) )

Do: Resubmit your manuscript if the editor invites you to do so. We don't invite resubs on every manuscript, so if we do offer to take a second look, we mean it.

Don't: Resubmit an unchanged manuscript. Editors are not stupid. Nor are we naive. Nor do we live in a vacuum where we don't speak to each other. If we have rejected your manuscript, but have given you edit suggestions and an offer to resubmit, do not think that we won't notice if you completely disregard everything we suggest, and just resubmit the original (or one so close to it, it's basically the same). We will notice, and what this says to us is: "Beware before contracting this author, he/she doesn't take instruction very well, and the post-contract edit process will be a nightmare." Trust me, we don't like nightmares anymore than you do.

In addition, don't think if you submit the same manuscript to another editor in the same house, that we won't check. We keep records. We know exactly how many times a manuscript has been submitted, and to whom. And, people, we do speak to each other about it. (Remember, your manuscript is yours. You don't have to take our pre-contract edit suggestions. But if you're not going to, then submit your manuscript to another publisher who might like it the way it is. Submitting the same, unchanged, manuscript fifty times, isn't going to make us like it any better.)

Do: Keep trying. If we ask for edits, and you do them well and then resubmit, but the edited version is still rejected--with another offer to resubmit--do it. Make more edits as suggested, and try again. We won't ask to see the manuscript again if we don't think it has potential. We get far too many submissions to toy with people or to want to see the same manuscript if it doesn't have potential. This may seem daunting or discouraging, but don't look at it that way. "On the right track" is infinitely better than being derailed.

Happy writing...and submitting.

Nicola Martinez, Senior Editor
English Tea Rose
White Rose

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