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Shopping Your Manuscript

Buried in the Slushpile

Shopping Your Manuscript Image

’Tis the season to shop. It’s that time of year when lots (but not all) people are frantically running around buying things for others. The other way to look at that is that lots of people are trying to sell things. And if you’ve got a polished manuscript that’s been critiqued, reviewed by your beta reader, and ready to face the world, then you have something to sell too.

It’s true that December is not the best time to submit something. Agents and editors are trying to clear up their slush piles from this year, and December in general is a pretty busy time. Between vacations, family obligations, and the usual workload, this is a hectic time. And we never want to submit during stressful times.

However, a new year is just around the corner. And what better way to start it than be finally sending out that manuscript you’ve been sitting on? And what better time to get ready to submit than now?

Now, I have written extensively in the past about submitting to agents and editors. You can find a list of past posts on my Submission Advice page.

Those posts pretty comprehensively cover the topic, but let’s remember some key points:

  • Do your research.
    Don’t send your picture books to the YA agent that specializes in romance.
  • Don’t spam the agents/editors.
    Send a separate email/submission to each agent/editor on your list.
  • Don’t send a first draft.
    You need to send a polished manuscript that has been vetted by people you trust.
  • Go to writing conferences.
    This is an excellent place to meet people who are actively seeking submissions. Never underestimate the power of networking.
  • Don’t get too cutesy with your query letter.
    This is your time to show the gatekeepers that you are a professional. If you really want your main character to write your query letter, that’s fine as long as the character maintains some professional decorum. No one wants to see a query letter written in a fake baby scrawl using cutesy-wootsey versions of words.
  • Don’t get too emotionally invested in the process.
    Part of submitting is rejection. It’s an unfortunate evil that not every person will connect with your manuscript the way you do. And remember, a rejection does not mean you or your writing does not have value. It just means that for whatever reason that particular person doesn’t see a place in their market for your work. You may just need to find another market.

And to help you get ready to submit, be sure to grab a copy of my free Children’s Book Submission Workbook.

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