This week, I’m sharing everything I have learned from experience and research about the important things to pay attention to when submitting a manuscript.
Following instructionsEvery literary agency/agent has their own specifications. Although they generally need the same things (query letter, proposal/synopsis, manuscript) they have different specifications when it comes to method of delivery and format. For example, many agents don’t want your manuscript attached to their email. They prefer you copy and paste it into the email itself. READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SUBMITTING A QUERY!
Finding an agentYou can find agents/agencies online and at events like writers conferences.
Researching your agent’s requirements.Before contacting an agent/agency, make sure you research them. Know what genres they represent, when authors they have represented in the past, and read a book or two in your genre that they have published before. This information will help you know if they are the appropriate agent/agency for you and it will help you write a stronger, more specific query letter.
Know your word countWhen querying, most agents will ask you for a word count. They need to know the size of your book. If you use a program like MS Word, it will display word count at the bottom of the page. If you do not have a completed manuscript, you can estimate your word count by how many pages you want you book to be. It is generally calculated at about 250 words per page if you have 12pt. Times New Roman font on an 8.5X11 size page with 1 inch margins. According to Writer’s Digest, a memoir is treated like a fiction novel and is generally between 70,000-100,000 words.
Know your genreKnow your genre. The more confident you are about your genre the easier it is for the agent to sell your book to a publisher. If you think your book is in between genres then provide the agent with solid examples of existing books in those genres to show them where it belongs in the market.
Chapters/indexDepending on the agent and genre, you might have to submit either chapters or an index with your manuscript. This can be difficult to do when you haven’t finished writing the book but it’s important for you and for you agent to know that you have the book planned out even if it isn’t finished.
Font, margins, document formatting.For me, formatting is the most tedious part of submitting a manuscript. As I mentioned before, agents/agencies have different requirements as to how they want the manuscript formatted. This includes the font, the size of the font, the size of the page, the size of the margins on the page, the order of the contents in the manuscript, the location of your name on each page, the location of the page number on each page, etc. As tedious and time consuming as this can be, it is extremely important because agents will refuse to read your manuscript if it isn’t formatted to their specifications.
I hope you found the information in this blog helpful. In my next few blogs, I will continue to explore each of these topics and break them down further with more resources and experiences I’ve had.
As always, thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my blogs and shared your advice and experiences with me. I’m in this writer’s journey like all of you and I hope to continue learning from you all as well.
If you have any advice or personal experiences to share about the information in this blog, please comment below or contact me personally through the contact form on “contact” page.
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Next Wednesday’s blog will be about my (scary) process of learning how to write a query letter.
Happy Writing! :)
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