You are in! A traditional publisher has accepted your query submission and wants to read your manuscript – excellent. As with every other step though, you must do this right. Read their submission form carefully. If they want an electronic version, don’t mail them a paper version.
What are some of the guidelines?
If they want it submitted electronically, make sure it is on letter size paper with 1 inch margins, 12 point font and probably double spaced. Your name should appear on the top of every page and the pages should be numbered. If they want it as a word document do not send a PDF or OCR. Do not scan the pages in and send them image files. Do not send hand written pages and if you typed it on a typewriter – wow – but digitalize it retyping it as a word document. Make it easy on them to want to work with you. Of course, make sure you do everything THEY ask, don’t cookie cutter everything.
If they want a print version, much of the above remains the same: Make sure it is printed on letter size paper with 1 inch margins, 12 point font and double spaced. Do not print it on colored paper or spray it with perfume. Your name should appear on the top of every page and the pages should be numbered. Do not bind the manuscript. Do not staple it. Include a cover letter with your name, contact information, manuscript title and that’s it. Mail it in a box, not a padded shipper – you don’t want it to arrive crumpled up. Mail it regular mail. Do not express it or do delivery confirmation. It will not speed up the process or enlist trust in them. Include return postage sufficient enough to mail the manuscript back to you.
WAIT! Do not call them. Do not ask if they received it. Do not check on their progress. Wait for them to contact you. If you pester them they are not going to want to work with you. Be patient. Yes the wait is hard. It could take quite a long time for them to have one of their members read it, send it up to the next reader, gather approval, discuss it in a meeting, and find the right person to work with you. There is a lot going on in the back end that you do not know about. Just because you can read a book in a single sitting doesn’t mean they will. Patience pays off. Sometimes.
What if I don’t want to do all of this?
Consider subsidiary, small press or self-publishing. And check out some of my other helpful and informative blogs:
Understanding Publishing Terms coming soon