Submitting your manuscript to a publisher

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.

What’s next?

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:

How to create/publish children’s books

How to make a great book cover (self pub)

Understanding Publishing Terms coming soon

Have you written a book and now want to publish it?

10 Most common Grammatical Mistakes

Where are the book sales?



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Have you written a book and now want to publish it?

Do you know what to do first?

Lets skip the basics – write the book – edit the book – reedit the book and jump right into traditional publishing as a first step.

Traditional Publishing:

No matter what – you want to start here. While the rejection letters can be quite defeating, and can pile up quickly. Remember, while thousands of submissions are rejected daily 1% make it and it would definitely be nice to be one of the 1%. While many decide to jump into self-publishing first – I highly suggest attempting the traditional route. Trust me, while I know I’ve got great books, my job marketing would be a thousand times easier if I had Scholastics backing me up. It wouldn’t be nearly as hard getting into the schools with my books. So consider that first.

Step 1

Find a list of publishers. Go to a library, find books similar to your genre, make a list of the publishers that published them. This would be your key list. You could also go to for a complete list of publishers, but then you’d still want to cut that down to only those interested in publishing your book topic. You do not want to contact a publisher who primarily works on non-fiction biographies if your book is about cooking. You also wouldn’t want to contact a children’s book publisher if your book is a self-help health book. Be specific about who you contact.

Step 2

Go to their website – each publishers website. Just because publisher #1 has specific guidelines to follow for submissions does NOT mean publisher #2 has the same guidelines. Each publisher has their own rules and if you don’t follow those rules to a T you WILL be rejected. There will be query letters with SASE envelopes, outlines or chapters or complete manuscripts, the sales pitch, the proving of yourself as a writer and marketer… Read up and know each step each publisher wants you to take and always put your best foot forward. Edit your letter like your life depends on it.

Step 3

Start with those accepting unsolicited submissions or submissions without a literary agent. If you can get a deal without having to give a percentage of your advance to a literary agent, do it. While publishers shy from this practice, many allow unsolicited manuscripts so contact them first. PS don’t send out 100 queries at once.  If you get a couple acceptances and choose publisher #1 and it doesn’t work out then publisher #2 is going to be upset that they were ignored or considered your second choice. Send them out one at a time and allow for the response before moving on to the next publisher. Yes it is time consuming, but if you are to do it right, you must follow the rules.

Step 4

When that list is tapped out, start searching for a literary agent. Again, find one who specializes in your genre. They need to believe in your product so your book must fall into their accepted categories. Don’t waste their time – a reputable agent does this job free of charge only getting pad when you sign a publishing contract. If they want money up front; run. If and when you find an agent, they will start contacting publishers on your behalf. Again, they only get paid when you do so they won’t take on your project unless they truly believe in it.  You may get a ton of rejections from agents but don’t let that deter you.  If you started with Step 1-3 you already know how much work this is, how much time is involved. Would you do that for a stranger if you didn’t believe wholeheartedly in the product?

Step 5

Being accepted by a traditional publisher. Yeah – you’re done – NOT! This is where even more work begins. They may request changes. They will provide a contract that you will want a lawyer to go over. You will want to understand every sentence in that contract and understand everything they are going to do for you and what they expect you to do for them. When you have signed the contract the advance will be paid to your agent who takes their cut and gives you the rest. Then you will want to take that money and hire a publicist. Then you will begin marketing your book, planning interviews, book tours, etc. It is a dream that must be worked towards and worked hard on. It is not easy and there are a lot more details that are required to know but this blog has gotten too long as it is.

In the coming months I am going to be working on adding even more details to this but in the meantime….
Want more information? This breaks down some of the information on choosing traditional vs small press vs self publishing:

How to Create/Publish Children’s Books

How to make a great book cover (self pub)

10 Most common Grammatical Mistakes

Where are the book sales?

Categories: Author, Education, Publishing | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

I am not home

There is a song by a Christian group called Building429. The song is called “Where I Belong” and I love singing with it on my way to or from tradeshows every weekend. My favorite verse is “I’m not home yet”.

This song is upbeat and fun. It reminds me no matter what kind of day I’ve had, I’m not home yet. Of course, in the song, home is heaven symbolically, but in my daily life, home is where the heart is. My loving husband and adoring dogs are my home. It is where I feel most loved and welcome.

But there is a sentence in this song right after not being home that states: “take this world and give it to Jesus” and personally I have to ask why??

If we are all home, why would Jesus want to be here?

So here’s a video of the song and I’ll even put the lyrics below just in case you want to sing along.





Where I Belong
By Building 429

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive
I will keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong


Um…. Oops. I’ve been singing it wrong all this time. It’s not “give it to Jesus” it’s “give me Jesus”….
Well that makes a lot more sense. Ha!

Feeling silly.

Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Mother’s Day to all women

Whether you are a mother, step mom or mother-in-law… Aunt, sister, grandma, wannabe mom, expectant mom, dog or cat mom , foster mom or left behind mom, happy mothers day to you.

May the beauty of today’s sun shine on you. The aroma of nearby flowers fill you and the love of anyone around you help you smile.

Honoring mom on mothers day.

From heaven my mom still makes things happen.


Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Do I matter?

The other day I was revisiting old pictures of my late dog Smurphy and I came across a few that took me aback. Pictures that, by themselves wouldn’t have had any significant meaning – were reminders of past sighs and disappointments.

You see our entertainment system cycles through hundreds of family pictures and whenever I see a picture of Smurphy I put on that sad smile and say hi to my long lost boy. Whenever I do though, I hear Ruppy, the dog who loves me and is still here – sigh.  Those sighs, generate a guilt within me, that lead me his way to give him some much needed loving.

Yet when I was going through the pictures that didn’t make it on the entertainment center – I began to discover a connection. Many that had been out of focus, or Smurphy was turned away or someone else had ‘photo bombed’ the picture, were disregarded, but some of those were simply Ruppy’s attempt at getting me to notice him.

I had spent so much time in Smurphy’s last months trying to capture his life, I ignored the others in my life who were going to remain. Some of the pictures looked like Ruppy smiling at the camera – so happy I was paying attention to him – so happy I was taking his picture.

Look ma, look at me.

Look ma, look at me.

She's taking my picture.

She’s taking my picture.

Then it occurred to me – how often we do that in our everyday lives – Forget about those that aren’t ‘as important at the time’ or disregard or delete those moments because ‘someone else got in the way’. It’s another simple reminder that every moment counts and every soul does too.

Do I matter?

Do I matter?

Just because you are focusing all of your attention on your child, your project or your loved one – doesn’t mean there aren’t others in your life trying desperately to be loved by you. Open your hearts and your eyes to the faces in your pictures and try to read their eyes.

Are they telling you –

         I’m here. Just look at me.

Or are they asking –

       Do I even matter?

Categories: Author, Enlightenment | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Electrical Faith

So last week our pastor did a sermon that at one point connected electricity to faith. She gave a few examples that definitely got my creative juices flowing. So I wanted to share some of what she said and a bit of some I came up with.


  • You can’t really see it.
  • You don’t know where it comes from.
  • But you know if you plug a cord into the socket it can charge your phone.
  • If you flip the switch you will get light.
  • If you turn up the dial you will get warmth.
  • You get little reminders it exists through static shock.
  • You can witness its existence through brilliant displays of lightning.
  • You may not understand how it works, but you don’t need to.



  • You can’t really see Him.
  • You don’t know where He comes from.
  • But you know if you go to church your soul can be recharged.
  • If you read His words you can see His light.
  • If you let yourself you can feel His warmth.
  • You get little reminders he exists through daily miracles (if you look).
  • You can witness His existence through brilliant displays of sunrise, sunset and rainbows.
  • You may not understand how He works, but you don’t need to.


Then, there was one other thought that occurred to me: When you don’t pay your electric bill, your lights go out – could that be the same as not giving to Jesus? While I’m sure there are many more examples and analogies I could mention, I’ll let you consider them yourselves. I hope this helps to charge your faith.

Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

I write too much!

  • I know that when I respond to a one question email with a three paragraph answer; I write too much.
  • I’ve learned that when I create content for a website, bullet points are better than paragraphs.
  • I believe that most people don’t read that much, they skim the details and scan for the answer.
  • It’s a proven fact that the reason twitter is so popular is the 140 character limit.

But I have to say, that is absolutely impossible for me – an author – a writer – to do. Maybe I’m too eager to answer questions. Maybe I give too much information when I do. But that is who I am. I’m an open book hoping you’ll open MY books.

While there is plenty more I could write about this subject, I won’t. At least not this time.

  • I’ve already written too much as it is.
  • Ha!
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Hamilton Troll Gifts!!!

Okay world – you asked for it – now you can get it…

Hamilton Troll Products

  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Night Light
  • Pillow
  • T-shirts
  • Lunch Box
  • Soap Dispenser
  • Table Lamp
  • Blankets
  • Hats
  • Magnets
  • Bath Mats
  • Posters
  • Puzzles
  • Drink Mugs
  • Greeting Cards

 If you see something you want, ask me.

If you have a favorite Hamilton Troll book picture, suggest it.

If you have a favorite saying or color you’d prefer, mention it.

I can customize these for you in a day!  

 SHOP NOW!!! Click here…

Mix and match, choose your color, change out products, request a design…

That’s right. If there is a favorite character, pose or book page, contact me, ask for it, and I’ll make it for you!! Then when it is ready, I’ll let you know and you can go back and order it. These will make great birthday and Christmas gifts. Excellent additions to custom theme rooms. Also, if you have any ideas, even if you don’t want to buy but just think it would be fun, let me know! You all are so creative.  Thank you for supporting Hamilton Troll Books.

 SHOP NOW!!! Click here…

Categories: Author, Children's Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eat flies – Date a pig – Live your dreams

The other day I saw this Kermit the Frog billboard and while it made me laugh, it also made me think – this is exactly what I keep saying! No matter what your dream is; how weird, crazy, difficult, adventurous, impossible or far away – follow your dreams. If you don’t do it – no one else will.

Shoot for the stars (or the flies) and as long as you never give up, it will make you happy. It may take you a long while. It may feel like it’ll never ‘arrive’ but so long as you try, you will KNOW in your heart, you did what you could in this life.

kermit frog dreams billboard

Categories: Inspiration | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Re-Release: A Rainbow of Thanks

I am very excited to announce the release of a second edition, of everyone’s favorite, “A Rainbow of Thanks“.


We have a newly designed cover, the addition of an art class project and a creative writing assignment plus a few new illustrations inside the book!

“I am very excited about this new release, as it puts a fun, kid-friendly look to this amazingly magical story.”

They say people judge a book by its cover – well now, the judgment is: This book is going to be a ton of fun to read!

So if you haven’t read this amazing story by author Kathleen J. Shields, you definitely should now.


Categories: Author, Books | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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