Whether submitting your book to an agent or directly to a publisher, here are a few tips to follow to be viewed as professional, avoid being blacklisted, and increase your chances for success:
- Format Properly: The first step is to follow formatting conventions and expectations, which I covered last week in “How to Format your Book Submission.”
- Follow Directions: Most publishers and agents have submission guidelines posted on their website. Find them and follow them. Never email to ask what is already online.
- Avoid Demands: Don’t state that your words can’t be edited, require they use your title,or insist on a particular cover. Every demand you make lessens your chances and increases their ire for you.
- Be Patient: Reviewing submissions takes time and is seldom a priority; expect it to take months.
- Follow Up Cautiously: Be careful about following up. Once may be acceptable under certain circumstances, but sometimes no follow-up attempts should be made. Don’t expect that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Instead, checking for status updates may just result in an outright rejection of your submission.
- Accept Criticism: If you are fortunate to receive feedback on your book, accept it as a gift. Only respond if the agent or publisher gives you permission. And, by all means, never argue.
Following these six tips will increase your chances of having your book published. Of course, the most important tip is to write a really great book!
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.