Key Number Eight: Put Together An Eye Catching Submission Package

Now that you have polished your manuscript and made it as error-free as you possibly can, you are ready to begin the submission process.  Considering the fact that almost every acquistions editor at the major houses require authors to have an agent submit their work to them,  you want your package to be the best it can be, as this will be the prospective agent’s first impression of you.

You can increase your chances of getting taken on as a client if you keep your package tight. Less is more, in my opinion and my motto is make them ask for more!  How do you do that?  Learn to describe you book in one paragraph using adjectives that paint a picture of your story that makes your manuscript sound fresh and exciting. End your paragraph with something that  makes the reader wonder, “What happens next?!”

The Submission Package requirements can vary from publisher to publisher, agent to agent, and editor to editor.  So please do your research and follow the submission guidelines for the person/company you plan to submit to. (This is very important, but more on that later)

In general, a submission package should include the following elements:

A one or two page letter –the query letter-that describes yourself and  your qualifications for writing the book. Make sure you state whether your work is fiction or non-fiction.

a brief description of your story– the synopsis. I recommend no more than a paragraph or two.   Compare your book to the competition and tell them how your book is different. What would make a reader pick up your book and not the another writer’s whose work is similar to yours.   Maybe you could  compare your book to one of the writer’s that the agent already represents. This will let the agent know that you have done your research on their agency and what type of works they represent, as well as letting them know that you are aware of the competition that is out there. This is your marketing analysis.

You might want to include a one or two page sample of your writing, but NEVER send your entire manuscript unless the agent requests it! This is very important. If you send your manuscript without waiting for an agent to formally request it, your manuscript will more than likely end up in the trash or in the “slush pile” and you really don’t want that.

End your submission by thanking the agent for his/her time. Make sure you proof your letter for errors and grammar.  Believe it or not, the agent will often decide if you are can write well by how you construct your query letter.  Make it dynamic, but review my tips on writing a dynamic query letter in one of the earlier posts. Don’t forget to include your contact information and a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope)


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