Friday, 14 October 2011

Submitting stories

You may be wondering after my last two posts exactly what prompted me to submit my story in the first place.

All my life I have written stories or come up with story ideas and it is (was!) in my 'bucket list' to get published one day.

I am an avid reader and everytime I downloaded a book from publishers' websites I kept noticing a tab 'Submissions'. So I decided to see what the procedure was for submitting a story. Each publisher has different guidelines but suffice to say you have to write your story first. After deciding I could do this and wrote my first one I then spent a lot of time 'googling' how to submit it as there is a lot of terms banded about like 'query' letter, 'cover' letter and so on.

Some publishers may like a cover letter or email with your manuscript - this needs to be straight-forward. Don't say things like "I've been writing this for 25 years and have fallen in love with my hero and I will kill myself if you don't publish it." Publishers, understandably, don't like that sort of blackmail!!!!!

Then there is a synopsis of your story. Some give you several pages to write it in, some a few hundred words.

My publisher, Siren, just goes with one email to include the synopsis along with the full manuscript. And that varies - some publishers like the first three chapters and last only. Either way it needs to be finished, proof-read, no spelling and other errors.

Think of it as a step by step process. 1. Your cover letter/email needs to be professional enough and well-written enough that the publisher will want to read the synopsis. 2. The synopsis needs to be well-written enough and with enough of a hook that they will want to read the first page of the manuscript. 3. The first page needs to be well-written enough with no errors and with a hook that they will want to read further.

Clearly something is working for me as they have just accepted my third story (more to follow on that in later posts), although I do keep re-reading their acceptance email each time just to make sure that they did say 'We do want to publisher your story' and not 'We don't .......'!!!

If you are submitting a story for the first time and want further hints and tips do contact me. Happy to help.

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