July 26, 2017

Do’s and Don’ts of Submissions

By Cherrilynn Bisbano

“His platform is growing, I love the story idea…Hmmm, should I send this to the agent?”

As a submissions reader, I forward manuscripts for consideration. I check to see if the author followed submission guidelines, used proper email etiquette, wrote well, and has a social media platform.

I almost hit the send button on this author but an avoidable mistake caught my eye. The writer cc’d about fifty other agents in his submission email. I sent a pass email and put him on our agency email list.

In my short time as a reader I ‘ve learned some Do’s and Don’ts of email submissions. These mistakes could cost a book contract or agency representation. I’ve made some of these errors in the past. I’m compelled to share with you what I’ve learned, so our submissions will shine.

Do follow submission guidelines- The agent looks for authors who follow direction. Agents give action steps for authors, if an author cannot follow submission guidelines the agent believes the writer cannot follow his instructions.
Do have a Social Media Platform- Let’s face it, writing is a business. The more people you know, the more speaking engagements you book, and followers you have, the more books you sell. If you don’t have social media accounts, choose two platforms and build your followers.
Do take time to research agents- Spell the name correctly. Research what genre the agent represents. I work for a Christian agent. He represents family friendly content as stated on the website. I’ve had three erotica submission in one month.  
Do send an edited manuscript- Agents want to represent authors who are ready to publish or are already published. An unedited manuscript denotes unprofessionalism.
Don’t say your book is anointed by God and we must represent you- I’ve also read, “My book belongs in every school library,” “My writing is like J.K. Rowling, only better.”  Confidence is great, an agent loves to work with a confident writer. However, there is a fine line between confidence and exaggeration.
Don’t send your proposal to many agents in one email- Your Manuscript will be rejected by most agents.  In the body of the proposal state “simultaneous submissions,” this alerts the agent that others are receiving your work.
Don’t harass the agent with multiple emails- Agents are busy. Most submission guidelines give a response time. Three months seems to be the average. If you have not heard from the agent, chances are they will not represent you or your work.
Don’t give up- Agents desire to see you succeed. Agents also look for specific genre’s. If one agent passes on your proposal, keep submitting to other agents. Meanwhile, make sure your manuscript is edited by a professional editor, have Beta Readers review your book, build your social media platform, and sharpen your writing skills.
If you follow these do’s and don’ts you have a better chance of success. I know I’d love to hit the send button for you.
Cherrilynn Bisbano is a speaker, editor, coach, and writer.  Her passion for helping people is evident.  She is Associate Editor at Almost an Author, an online community for aspiring writers. She is a two-time winner of Flash Fiction Weekly. You can find her published in Amramp, More to Life (MTL), Christian Rep, Refresh, Broken but Priceless, and other online magazines. Contributor to Breaking The Chains-Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage  She earned her Leadership Certification through Christian Leaders Institute and continues toward a Women’s Bible Leader certification.Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard; earning the John Levitow Military leadership award.  She lives with her fifteen-year-old autistic son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 18 years, Michael, Sr.  Website:  Contact:

No comments:

Post a Comment