With millions upon millions of people in the United States who think they have the next New York Times best seller, how can a publishing company find the diamond in the rough? What can a publishing house do to ensure they are receiving submissions for books they actually can and want to publish? The most effective way a publishing house can convey this information to an author is through the company’s mission statement.
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.
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).
In the past, the Ooligan blog has posted some great advice about query letters. For those who have never written a query before, you should go check those out first. However, with those resources available, we wanted to dive deeper into some pitch concepts: framing and in-person pitches. While the latter will primarily be of use to those participating in Write to Publish (or similar writing conferences), framing your book correctly is useful in all cases. Doing it correctly can really give your query letter a leg up on the competition.
Writers will often see a trend they like and try to emulate it, sure that if they capitalize on something that is currently popular or has been recently well-received, a publisher is sure to pick it up. This isn’t always the case.