My Submission Bounced Back. What Do I Do?

The email address for your submissions department came back undeliverable. I addressed it to [name deleted]..as I found on your [name deleted] submissions address. My question is this...I sent the first 12 chapters of my manuscript entitled "[name deleted]" to [name deleted] on Nov. 21,2011, with query letter,etc. Since then, I have completed the final chapter...#23.

Since the email came back undeliverable, I am now wondering if the manuscript even arrived at the right place. Should I send the remaining chapters, or should I just send the chapters 13-23, or should I wait and make sure this has been accepted for publication.

There are some issues with your questions. Since your email brings up several mistakes that new authors often make, I'll address each one separately.

I went to the website of the publisher you mentioned and will answer your questions according to their website submission guidelines. For other readers, please note that different publishers have different guidelines. The point of this post is to do your research on the publisher you're submitting to and follow their guidelines.

  1. The email was sent to me at the LDS Publisher email address, but addressed to me as if I were the editor at the company whose name has been deleted. I am not that person. I am an anonymous blogger. Sending this email to me here at the blog tells me that you didn't research as well as you could have. (For more information, see my mini-rant from yesterday.)

  2. Unless you met with this editor in person or you were at a writers conference where they gave you a submissions email address and requested specifically that you send your manuscript in the way that you did, then you didn't follow their guidelines. Therefore, your email may have been automatically deleted, if it arrived at all.

  3. This publisher's website specifically states that you should mail a query letter and an outline or table of contents. Mail—as in print a hard copy, put it in an envelope, and mail it to their physical address, as posted on their website.

  4. They also accept partial manuscripts of 2 to 3 chapters. Not the first 12 chapters. Unless the editor specifically requested that you send the entire book, you sent too much.

  5. Always wait until requested to send more than the query, the outline, and first few chapters.

  6. If you're sending fiction, never send a query for an unfinished work. If it's non-fiction, you can get away with an unfinished book—sometimes. As a new author, it's always better to have a finished product.

  7. Publishers and editors will need to see the entire manuscript before accepting it for publication. But generally, they don't want to see the whole thing at the initial query/submission stage.

  8. If your email came back undeliverable, chances are they did not receive it. Rather than resending the entire book, I suggest you go back to their website and find their submission guidelines. Read them carefully and then follow them to the letter.


Donna K. Weaver said...

When all else fails, follow the directions.

Funny how that works.

Janice Sperry said...

But don't submit until you've had a few people read and critique your manuscript. It should also be edited (by you) several times.