8/2/07

10 More Things Not to Do When You Submit a Manuscript

Here's another list of things not to do when you send your manuscript (based on true-life examples from manuscripts that I have received in the past 30 days):

1. Do not single space. I know I've said this before, but apparently I have not stressed it enough. I CANNOT read, let alone edit, a manuscript that is single spaced.

2. Do not leave large spaces between paragraphs and type [Insert illustration here]. Especially for a book intended for adults.

3. Do not send illustrations with your adult-audience book.

4. Do not tell me in those big gaps [See illustration # whatever] and expect me to go looking to the back of the book and hand count the illustrations to get to the page number you want me to look at.

5. Do not 3-hole punch the manuscript and send it in a 3-ring binder.

6. Do not put your manuscript pages in sheet protectors and send them in a binder.

7. Do not design a cover and send me a color print out of it. We won't be using it and I don't need your sample to visualize what the front of your book could look like. I'm a professional. Visualizing covers is what they pay me to do!

8. Do not print your manuscript double-sided on the paper.

9. Do not send your manuscript, then call me two weeks later and ask if you can bring me a new copy because you've re-written a significant number of scenes. If I've already started reading, you've wasted my time. If I haven't already started reading, I'll think you're a nut case.

10. Do not drop by my office (without an appointment) and ask if I've finished reading your manuscript yet, and when I say no, ask if you can "borrow" it back for a few weeks because your daughter-in-law wants to read it and you don't want to spend all that money on paper and ink to print out another copy and you don't mind at all looking through my huge stack of manuscripts to find yours.

Sometimes I think I'm a wonderful person simply because I never resort to physical violence.

5 comments:

Keith Fisher said...

for number ten, take the one in question put it on the stack of already rejected ones, tell the writer to follow you. Take the stack out back to the dumpster, throw it in and tell the writer, "Not sure which one is yours but you're welcome to have a look."
thanks for the list. I had to smile.

Stephanie said...

You must be extremely patient. Thanks for all the tips. I loved number ten.

Anonymous said...

Why is that editors get so testy when an author dares to tread upon their creative world and suggest a cover design or a title, but they drive their bulldozers all over the author's creative world like so much ado about nothing. I know. Covers are what they pay your for. Editing is what they pay you for. But for heaven's sakes, will there ever be an editor humble enough to recognize that an author just may have a good sense about a cover that will market their book well. Or that an author just may have a better title than the marketing guys across the hall. Probably not!

RobisonWells said...

Anonymous, I like to compare it to royalties. There's a reason that authors only get 5-15% of a book's cost: it's because the author is only one piece of a very large puzzle. It's a vital piece, certainly, but it's still only one piece.

If an author has as much good marketing sense as you stated--if they know that their title/cover/marketing ideas are great--then why not just self-publish? Richard Paul Evans is the perfect example: he was a professional marketer, and he's made gobs of money.

Besides, most publishers are very willing to discuss titles and covers (though they'll almost all maintain veto power), but they don't want to look at those ideas during the submission process. You, as the author, are asking them to make a very big investment in you; the least you could do is show a little professionalism and respect submission guidelines. There will be PLENTY of time to discuss titles and covers and illustrations once your book is accepted.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm just cringing, thinking of all the time that poor author must have spent putting those sheets in protective sheets (not to mention the money) when they didn't have to. Some new authors make things a lot harder on themselves than they really have to. Submission guidelines are really simple, and it's not hard to follow them. I've never once seen a guideline asking me to do something that was difficult.