Last time I discussed querying publishers as well as agents to increase your chances. Today - what to send and to whom!
Also, I am visiting Just Jemi today, discussing how to write a book series.
Before you do anything, what is your manuscript’s specific genre? Check the BISG (Book Industry Study Group) site for a full listing of all genres.
Now this may seem obvious, but many writers miss the mark - only send your work to agents or publishers who publish your genre. You’re only wasting your time, money, and effort if you do otherwise. Do your research. What books does that press publish? What genres does that agent represent? Become familiar with the titles and authors. This will also help when you write your query, as you’ll be able to mention specific titles.
You also need to discover what they are currently accepting. Check the website, as it will be more up to date than publisher listings or agent books. A press that publishes romance might only be accepting historical romances at that moment. Again, don’t waste time and money sending the wrong genre.
At this point, you know your genre, you have a list of publishers and agents currently accepting your genre, (and you’ve checked Preditors & Editors) - now what do you send? Two magical words:
Every publisher and agent has submission guidelines. Those guidelines are in place for a reason. Some writers look upon them as mere suggestions, but if you want your query to attain anything beyond a form rejection letter, you need to treat them as rules.
The submission guidelines are like a checklist for editors. They have stated specifically what information they want to see in the query letter. They may request additional items, such as a synopsis, outline, marketing plan, or sample chapters. With every letter or email they receive, they run through their checklist. The omission of even one item can be grounds for immediate rejection.
Think of it as making a good first impression. Publishers and agents aren’t reading your query letter just to see if your manuscript interests them - they are noting how well you follow directions. You can write the best book in the world, but if your query is lacking (or improperly formatted, etc,) then it is doubtful any editor will want to see it. Why? Because you just proved you are incapable of following directions. Publishers and agents do not want to take on ‘troublesome’ authors.
When submitting your work, be sure to send exactly what they are requesting!