Not only does reading the submission guidelines tell you something about the agent or publisher you’re trying to impress, but it also tells that agent or publisher something about you. Don’t believe me? Here are five reasons you should obsess over submission guidelines.
As a new publishing student getting my first introduction to the acquisitions process at Ooligan, I can’t help but feel a bit traitorous at the prospect of contributing to more of those infamous letters. If there is one thing I can say that might benefit a talented author who just isn’t the best fit for Ooligan right now, it’s that the rejection often has nothing to do with measuring an author’s skill. Instead, it might simply be a matter of not being in exactly the right place at the right time.
Remember that a manuscript is the result of a writer’s blood, sweat, and tears. Unless they’re lucky to be full-time writers, authors are usually people working a nine-to-five job and have to write during their lunch breaks or stay up late into the night writing after their children have gone to bed. They’ve sacrificed their energy, time, and social life to write a book, and if a query is not handled well, they could see it as an attack on them and not as constructive feedback.
As we are both primarily internet-dwelling creatures, the natural progression was to explore Twitter. But seriously, from the time we spent on Twitter, we noticed a large community of agents, editors, authors, and more using the Twitter community to broaden their reach and visibility. The community of writers and publishing professionals on Twitter is vast, but there are a few aspects of the engagement that we thought could help us spark new connections: manuscript wish lists, Twitter pitch events, and personal branding (find us @alyssalschaffer and @joanna_shwaba).
What tone to use when writing a letter to an author or making queries on their manuscript is often one of the most crucial yet most challenging parts of an editor’s job. There are many factors to consider: Where are you at in the editing process? Are you speaking to the author directly, or are you addressing a senior editor? Is this the author’s first novel, or are they more experienced? With so many factors to juggle and so many tiny nuances, it’s no surprise that this is the area that trips up most novice (and sometimes more senior) editors.
Recently, as Acquisitions managers, we reviewed our Mission Statement, Submission Guidelines, and Our Interests and have decided to make some changes. While our press’s vision and commitment to publishing diverse works from the Pacific Northwest has stayed the same, we believe that these changes will broaden that goal.