Last week I got a submission.
On the face this isn’t so odd. I get submissions all the time even though we aren’t taking unsolicited manuscripts over at CBAY right now. It wasn’t even unusual that this manuscript wasn’t for the kind of children’s book that we publish at CBAY. I get manuscripts all the time like that too.
What was unusual was that my email in the To: line was one of nearly 50 other email addresses. Yes, this person had submitted to me and to nearly 50 other people. At the same time. On the same email.
So, even though I have written extensively on submitting in the past, I figured that it never hurts to have a review post. Here are some do’s and don’t’s:
DO: Submit to multiple people if the people you are submitting to accept simultaneous submissions.
DON’T: Send the exact same email to all of those people.
You need to personalize the email some, and I don’t mean in the To: line. You need to show that you are familiar with the agent/editors work. That you’ve done some research so you know that your book will be a good fit.
DO: Submit to up to 5-10 people at one time.
DON’T: Submit to more than that until you have gotten some feedback from the people you have already submitted/queried.
You want to be able to take into account any feedback you may get on your work. This way, you can send an EVEN stronger manuscript to the next round of submissions. On the other hand if you send to everyone at once, there’s no one left when you want to submit a revised version.
DO: Your research.
DON’T: Randomly send to people who happen to be children’s book editors or agents.
There’s a wide range of genres within the children’s market. People specialize in different things. Don’t send your novel to a picture book person and vice versa.
DO: Actually submit your stuff.
DON’T: Sit on your finished, critiqued work for no apparent reason.
Whether it’s fear of rejection, lack of time, or the inability to prioritize submitting over other stuff (ahem, that last one would be me …), you have to actually submit if you want an agent or to publish with an existing publishing house. If you never submit, you’ll never hear no. Of course, you’ll also never hear yes.
And on that note, I have some editor/agent research to do for my kid spy novel…