Keys To Manuscript Submissions

Written by Joy MacKay
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Submitting your manuscript to literary agents can be an exhilarating process. You finally are formatting your novel or screenplay with the intent of publication. However, to submit haphazardly is only to secure rejection and wasted postage. By following these simple keys to manuscript submissions, you can be sure to garner the best results in your search for obtaining literary representation:

Keys to Manuscript Submissions Targeting:

Be sure that the agencies you submit to are always certified with WGA! Send a letter of inquiry, or research literary agents, to make sure they represent talent in your genre and style. See what sorts of publications they have produced. Have you heard of any of the publishers they work with? How well have their top books sold? Make sure that there is no "reading fee" involved. You should not be charged to submit your writing when contacting book agents.

Keys to Manuscript Submissions for Specialized Genres:

While there are Christian literary agents who solely represent Christians, there are many mainstream agencies who will effectively represent Christian writers. Know your target audience. Are you writing a science fiction novel for intense technology fans, or are you writing for general consumption? Tailor your cover letter and manuscript to appeal to your target audience. Target agencies who represent your talent first. If you write children's books, first contact literary agents who already represent authors of children's literature. When an agency has represented a genre in the past, their chances of having connections in that field are higher.

Primary Keys to Manuscript Submissions:

Target fewer agents at first, who best could represent your needs. A sloppy mass mailing will only mean more rejection. Perfect your query letter, and have your manuscript ready to submit. Even if your query letter generates the agent's interest, he or she will quickly lose interest if you cannot send them your completed manuscript in a timely manner. They also might lose interest in pursuing your writing when you resubmit. Non-fiction authors should prepare a detailed and perfected proposal for submission to agents. Some agents will even require that the non-fiction piece be complete in its entirety. As always, check with agencies first to find out their submissions guidelines. Don't inundate the agent with lots of unrequested materials. They will request what they need from you. Be honest about your prior publications. If you have been published in a publication of any kind, make sure you are up-front with your agent about the details. Few things will upset an agent more than finding out you cannot legally offer the rights for the book deal they secured you. Make sure that you are under no legal restrictions regarding your copyrights, and that if you are, you promptly inform your agent.


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