Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Preparing Your Submission

Preparing your work properly for the marketplace is of paramount importance. The attachments you send with your manuscript or query will vary greatly depending on the type of project you want to get published.

You may already have a completed manuscript or query you would like to have published, or you may wish to sell an editor on an idea for a manuscript that are normally included with different types of submissions of nonfiction and fiction material.


Magazine Article Idea:

Requires: One page query letter to interest a magazine editor in commissioning you to write an article on a specific subject.

Book Idea:

Requires: One-page query letter to interest an editor in reviewing a book proposal.

Book Proposal:

Requires: Cover letter, overview, outline, author's information sheet, marketing information, list of competing book titles, and sample chapters.


Magazine Article/Story:

Requires: Cover letter and completed manuscript


Requires: Cover letter, synopsis, and sample chapters

As you can see, the nature of your work and its state of completion largely determine the materials you need to prepare.

If you don't yet have a manuscript to sell, you should probably start by promoting your ideas to magazine editors until you get an offer to write an article. If you've completed portions of a book manuscript, you might consider sending editors a book proposal that contains sample chapters of your work in progress.

Before Your First Sale

Most writers are continually in the process of getting new work published. This process is basically the same for new writers who want to make initial contacts in the publishing industry and make their first sale. Here are several important steps you should take to speed up getting your work in print:

1. Identify your ideas and subjects of interest.

2. Target your markets and select publishers in these areas.

3. Prepare your submission materials.

4. Contact publishers in your markets and make follow-up contacts.

5. Keep a careful record of your correspondence, submissions, and telephone conversations.

Terms of The Trade, Part II

Book proposal:

A package of materials providing details about your book, your background, and some information about the marketability of your work.  A typical book proposal submission will include sample chapters or a completed manuscript.

Consumer magazine:

A periodical directed toward the average reader or layman, (eg., Woman's Day, or, People)

Trade magazine:

Also called a trade journal, this is a periodical that provides business and technical information to members of a particular industry.  Such as a periodical is sometimes called a technical journal when directed toward readers in technology-oriented or scientific industries.  It's called a professional journal when directed toward doctors, lawyers, and others in the professions.

Cover letter:

A brief letter written to an editor accompany a completed manuscript or book proposal.


A contract, either written or oral, between a writer and a publisher stating the rights and responsibilities of both parties.


A formal written agreement between a writer and a publisher stating the rights and responsibilities of both parties.


The number of people who regularly read a particular magazine.

Copyright law:

A body of laws governing the rights of writers and publishers.

Terms of The Trade, Part I


A payment made to a writer before the publication of a manuscript.


A professional representative hired by an author to obtain and negotiate contracts with publishers.


A staff member at a publishing company responsible for reviewing manuscripts and/or preparing them for publication.


A specific line or lines of books offered by a given publisher (eg., Cloak and Dagger Books is an imprint of Chesterton Publishing Group)


A standard abbreviation for the word manuscript. In the plural, it's mss.


A publishing company or the head of a publishing company.


A written request from an author created to interest an editor in reviewing a book proposal or manuscript. A query to a magazine is sent to interest the editor in reading or commissioning an article.


Any edition of a particular book that's published after the first edition.


A residual payment made to authors after books are sold based on a percentage of their selling price.


Abbreviation for "self-addressed, stamped envelope," sometimes preceded by its required dimensions (eg., 9" x 12").


Abbreviation for "self-addressed, stamped envelope," sometimes preceded by its required dimensions or standard envelope number (eg. #10)


An idea, outline, or manuscript sent by a writer to a publisher for consideration.

Trade paperback:

A paperback book created for the layman rather than the professional or specialist.

The Writers' Market

A vital resource that every writer should own is an up-to-date version of the Writers' Market. Regardless of who the writer is, this book will be one that you will come to rely on more than others especially if you are searching for publishers and script producers to buy your work.  Inside is a wide range of information useful to writers, with special sections that include everything from business to submissions and their processes.

If you're writing for magazines, then you will also find manuscript ideas that are targeted to a particular magazine or marketplace.  Keeping up to the current trends is easier if you thumb through the Writer's Market. If you are prepared to send out your work, you can use this book to find just the right publisher who will be interested in printing it.

The Writers' Market is the most well-known and reliable source of current information about the publishing world. It's full of practical advice on preparing your work for submission to editors, maintaining professional contacts, negotiating agreements, keeping accurate records and much more.

There interviews with authors and other industry professionals on many subjects writers can read about. If you are a freelance writer, there are over 4,000 companies that could use your work. Everything is carefully organized by category and subject, making it quite easy to target the ones you need to contact.

So get to work! Your next publisher could be just pages away!

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