Friday, 23 May 2014

Approaching publishers

Here’s some thoughts on getting published.
Most publishers have very specific requirements. For example, some fiction publishers want to receive a sample chapter and a brief synopsis of the plot, others prefer a full manuscript. Before you send a manuscript, it is a good idea find out what is required.
Prepare your submission according to the publisher’s requirements. Details are important, so make sure your work is professionally presented and has been proof read.
The manuscript should be double spaced, with generous margins, and printed on one side of the paper only. The pages should be numbered. It is usually best not to bind or staple the manuscript: use a fastening that will allow the publisher to photocopy the manuscript.
Sending your manuscript to a publisher
Accompany your manuscript with a brief covering letter. The main purpose of this letter is not to "sell" your manuscript, but simply to touch base with the publisher and provide them with your contact details.
You might wish to give a little bit of background about yourself, and a short description of the manuscript. It may be worthwhile mentioning your publishing history. For example, if you have won a short story competition or had short stories published in magazines. Include a stamped self-addressed envelope for the return of your manuscript.
Hearing back from publishers
Publishers receive many unsolicited manuscripts: it is not surprising that it can take some time to hear back from a publisher.
Many publishers will send you a brief note when they receive your manuscript – often a pre-printed card – to say they have received the manuscript. Most publishers will take at least a month or two to look at your manuscript and get back to you, and some will take much longer. If you have heard nothing after two or three months, and have not received an acknowledgement of receiving your manuscript, it may be worth ringing the publisher to make sure the package arrived.

John Dean

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