Wednesday, February 6, 2019

5 Questions to Ask Before Submitting to an Agent or Editor

Are you tired of not receiving a response from an agent and/or editor? Although I personally never give an automatic rejection to a submission (only because I like to give everyone a chance), the truth is, many agents/editors will delete a submission--even before they have a chance to evaluate it entirely. 





Why, though? Isn't it rude for an agent/editor to delete a submission before even giving it a chance? 


Sure, it might sound that way. But think about it the other side: Editors and agents receive multiple submissions per week. If a writer does not adhere to specific guidelines, then, well--that's an easy way for the agent/editor to separate the pros from the amateurs. And even though it's harsh, many of these agents/editors will give an automatic no ... even without telling this to the writer. It's actually considered "rude" for writers to avoid these guidelines that they've set in place.


So what can you do, as an aspiring author, to ensure that you do not receive this automatic "no"? 


Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself before hitting "submit": 



1. Did I spell the agent or editor's name correctly? 


Remember: This is likely the first impression you'll make (after the subject line, of course). You'd be surprised how many emails I receive that are addressed to "Emily" rather than "Tessa" ... lol! 


2. Am I submitting to the right person? 


Check the site. Ensure that the agent or editor accepts your genre and would make a good match for your works. 


3. Did I follow the specific guidelines? 


There are some writers who think they're better than the rules. But the guidelines are there for a reason! Don't be lazy--unless, of course, that's the impression you'd like to make. I doubt it is, though. You're hoping to work with this agent or editor, so make sure it's obvious that you're a professional. And professionals don't carry an egotistical attitude. 


Remember that agents and editors have different guidelines for submissions. For example, some agents request only the query and first three chapters of the writer's manuscript in the body of the email, while other agents request the query and full proposal attached to the email. There are sometimes guidelines for the subject as well. (For example, the agent/editor may request the title, genre, and word count in the subject line.) This guideline is there for a reason, as it helps us to keep our emails organized. 



4. Have I edited my submission--the query letter, book proposal, and sample chapters? 


Don't rush this process. Search for typos. You are a writer, after all. And even though writers aren't always perfect in the arena of grammar and punctuation, your submission will look sloppy if it isn't clean. (I personally recommend having others read over the proposal/submission to double-check, as we're often blind to our own faults.)


5. Did I submit the right file and adhere to the standard format? 


Again, you'll want to read the guidelines carefully to make sure that you've hit every mark. The .doc or .docx file is typically preferred for a standard book proposal/manuscript--unless, of course, another type is requested. You'll also want to make sure that your submission has been adjusted to the standard font as well, which is Times New Romans, 12 pt font. 




For those of you who are unfamiliar with this process, you might think agents and editors are asking too much of writers--as if they're requesting you to jump through unnecessary hoops. But trust me when I say that these guidelines are set for a reason. Not to frustrate the author, but because it helps the agents in their evaluation process. Plus, it does help us to get an idea as to who is a pro and who is an amateur. Do what you can to come across as a pro!


So if you want to avoid those automatic rejections, do your research ahead of time--even if it requires hours upon hours of prep work. Keep in mind that almost every successful traditionally-published author has gone through this process as well. 



Then, when you're ready--and only then--should you send your work into the publishing world. But not without going over this check-list first, of course! 



Tweetable:


5 Questions to Ask Before Submitting to an Agent or Publisher #publishing #askanagent @TessaEmilyHall https://bit.ly/2DTj4eH




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