2/27/08

Basic Submission Package

If the guidelines don't specify what's expected in a submission package, what is the norm?
This is what I like to see and it would probably satisfy most publishers who don't specify what they want.
  • Query letter—1 page

  • Outline/synopsis—a chapter by chapter breakdown of the basic plot line; 2 to 3 sentences per chapter. And yes, I want the ending.

  • First three chapters

  • SASE (I actually prefer to reply by e-mail but some publishers prefer the letter)
You can read more details here.

12 comments:

RobisonWells said...

So, here's a question: All the LDS publishers I've talked to either don't specify a font or want Times New Roman. But almost all of my nationally published friends all say that Courier is the ONLY acceptable font in the national market. Thoughts?

Paul West said...

I think that used to be true, some 10 or more years ago. They liked it because it was easier to do a word count. But unless I've heard wrong, I think they have gone away from that requirement.

patricia wiles said...

I've always been told the industry standard is 12 pt. Times New Roman. I've heard this from agents and editors who have spoken at conferences I've attended.

Janet Jensen said...

From my experience, Word seems to be the preferred program, and Times New Roman the preferred font. Converting from one font to another can be a pain, so it helps to create your ms with that in mind - if you know what your publisher wants.

Our original manuscript of The Book Lover's Cookbook was in WordPerfect - what did we know? Until they wanted the electronic copy, we didn't know we'd be converting it to Word. And the conversion was downright ugly.

Janet

LDS Publisher said...

Word is absolutely the software you want to use. Some publishers will accept others but you're going to be safe with Word.

As to font, it's really not that hard to change a font. Create your manuscript in either Times or Courier, then change it to meet the submission specs. If font is not specified, I'd suggest Times, but you won't be rejected if you pick the wrong one.

patricia said...

Unless the font you choose happens to be Freestyle Script or Comic Sans or Lucida Handwriting :)

Rebecca Talley said...

And, for all of us who remember typewriters (not me, of course :)) when the standard was a double space after each period, I've read that most publishers now prefer only one space. It's a little hard to get used to when you've (again, not me) been so accustomed to the double space. It is easily remedied, though, using the Find feature in Word.

Rebecca Talley said...

Find and Replace, that is.

Janet Jensen said...

SASE should contain your name and address in both the "to" and "from" locations on your envelope. And the SASE should be the kind with an adhesive strip, so nobody has to lick it. I just use my printed address labels, stick 'em on the envelope with a stamp, and include it in the packet.

It's no fun to get your SASE back with a one-page letter inside. Usually it's a polite rejection. But then you know and you can move on.

I heard of one writer who refuses to use the SASE, because he says it makes it easier for the agent or editor to reject your ms! But I'd rather know one way or the other - wouldn't you?

Delivery confirmation is also helpful. Request this this at the post office when you mail your package. It's about 60 cents, I think. Then you know your packet has arrived. But nobody has to sign for it, which is considerate to the agent or publisher.

Also, do not staple your pages together. Use a paper clip.

Janet Jensen said...

As to word count, in most genres it seems that editors will accept your software's word count rather than the old formula that requires you to calculate on the basis of average words per page.

J Scott Savage said...

Assuming I am the author you are referring to, (maybe there are other rebels) the reason I don't use a SASE has nothing to do with making it easier to reject me.

In my queries I supply my e-mail, address, and phone number, and let the publisher/agent know they don't need to contact me unless they are interested.

I think it's safe to assume if I don't hear from them, they don't want to publish me. I don't need a confirmation of that, and I certainly don't collect my rejections.

How many people think, "Whew, sure glad I got confirmation of that rejection. I was afraid they might want my book."

If I was doing short stories or articles, that would be different.

I have NEVER told anyone else to do it. I have never suggested it will give you a better chance of acceptance or a lower chance of rejection. I have simply told people about my crusade to do away with an outdated concept.

When was the last time you received a prepaid envelope to reject an offer?

Janet Kay Jensen said...

Good point, Jeff. But if the submission instructions say to include SASE, I will do it . . . . . and I do collect rejection letters. I have a secret plan of revenge - - when I become wildly successful,I will use them in a creative way. Sorry if my earlier post offended you - it wasn't a personal dig and I apologize if you felt it was. Good luck on your crusade! It will save me postage!