What Did You Learn?

July 30, 2010

Getting Published: Why Mass Submissions Are a Bad Idea

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 2:52 pm

When submitting your work, it is tempting to create a single email, address it to “agent,” and then send it to a ton of agencies all at once. The internet makes this temptation even greater. Do not give in to this temptation! This approach can hurt you for a number of reasons, but here are a few quick ones:
1- it is impersonal, always address letters to a person when possible
2- it shows the agents that you are lazy, otherwise you’d have put in the time to address it appropriately and tailor your email (when necessary) based on the agency you are submitting to
3- agencies have different submission guidelines, so you will likely not be sending what is asked for to a number of agencies

You might say, “yeah, but it gets my work out to so many more agents at once so even if a few won’t consider it because of this, it will still mean that a number of them do.” This may be true, but let’s be honest, the good agencies are the ones that will likely discard it immediately. Those are the ones you want representing you. It will also give you fewer options and chances of getting published.

It isn’t all that difficult to create a basic template, fill in the specifics (name of the agency, a person’s name, and maybe change a few details based on who they are and what they’ve asked for), and send the emails separately. It may take a little longer, but it looks more professional, which is more appealing to an agency.

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Getting Published: When Asked to Submit Pages

Filed under: Getting Published — Tags: , — ax20 @ 2:39 pm

So, you’ve sent in that query or proposal and you’ve been asked to send in more pages (first 50, first 3 chapters, entire manuscript, whatever). There are a couple of things you should include with those pages (especially if you are asked to submit the pages in hard copy):
1. a synopsis
2. a copy of the letter/email requesting that you submit pages

Why should you include the synopsis? (Don’t they have it already?)
Two reasons. The first is that you don’t know who is reading it this time around so you want to make sure that if there is a different person reading it than the one who read it when you originally submitted your query, they know what it is about. The second is because while they might have it already, you don’t want them to have to go searching for it. By sending them the synopsis, you make their lives easier (which they will appreciate and notice) and show that you are both thoughtful and prepared (which are good qualities in an author).

Why include the letter/email where they requested your work? (Don’t they know what they asked for?)
Agencies (and publishing houses) get tons of submissions. Sometimes hundreds in a single day. It is hard for them to remember every piece they asked for. This way, when they get your work, it reminds them that this was something they liked and were interested in–which is always WAY more exciting to read than just a random submission. It also means they don’t have to go to their list and check if they asked for it, which again, makes their lives easier.

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