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Manuscript Submission Guidelines
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So, you are ready to submit your novel to perspective literary agents and publishers for their consideration. Putting together submission packages can be costly. While there are some literary agents and publishers who accept submissions by email, there are those who will only accept hard copies.
Literary agents and publishers have guidelines you must adhere to when submitting manuscripts. I suggest you stick to them or your work can end up being discarded.
I would not recommend submitting to more than six literary agents or publishers at a time. You should be aware that some literary agents will want to know if you have submitted your work elsewhere. Always keep a record of where you have submitted your work. You don't want to submit to the same agent twice.
You will often be asked for the first three chapters (usually no more than fifty pages) in most cases.
You will also want to include a query letter. You should find out the name of the literary agent or publisher to whom you are addressing the letter.
Your letter should be no more than a page long and should include your full contact details. List the name of your website or blog; I strongly recommend you have one.
The first paragraph should announce the fact that you are seeking representation for your novel. State the name of the novel, the word count (approx, not exact), genre and target audience e.g. adults, young adults, etc.
You should describe what your novel is about in no more than two short paragraphs. Think about the blurb you read at the back of a book.
If your style of work is similar to another author, represented by the Literary Agent to whom you are submitting, bring it to their attention.
Mention your current writing projects, your writing achievements and writers groups to which you belong. If your career is relevant to your writing, be sure to include it.
Do remember to use good quality A4 white paper. I recommend you use Times New Roman; font size 12 pt.
You will also want to include a one page synopsis. This should give a short version of your story from start to finish. Again, the Literary Agent or publisher will advise the length of the synopsis required. If they say a short synopsis, they usually mean one page. Never reduce the font size to fit their requirements or they may not take the time to read it.
Include a self-addressed envelope for the return of your manuscript and use elastic bands, not staples, to secure your work.
Remember: do your homework first. Check out literary agents websites. Learn all you can about the agents, who they represent and the genres which are of interest to them. You don't want to waste their time or your own.
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