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How to Submit Writing to Publishers


Getting your writing published can seem like an impossible feat when you're unsure how to even submit to publishers. Fortunately, submitting to publishers isn't as intimidating as it may seem. Publishing is an industry, and like any other industry, the publishing world has its own set of guidelines and etiquette. To get publishers interested in your writing, you must submit your manuscript in a professional, courteous manner that follows the format to which publishers are accustomed.

Research publishers to find out which ones publish work in your genre and currently accept unsolicited material. Submit to only those publishers that handle your genre and actively seek new writers.

Format your manuscript according to each publisher's standards. Many publishers list submission guidelines on their websites. Also, remember to thoroughly proofread your manuscript so that it is professional.

Write a one-page cover letter, also known as a query letter, providing your contact information, a brief summary of your work and your qualifications, such as advanced degrees or prior publications.

Send your work and your query letter to publishers via email or postal mail, according to the publishers' submission guidelines.

Query literary agents in addition to publishers. Some publishers only accept material submitted by literary agencies. Follow each literary agent's submission guidelines when submitting your work.

Keep a file or list of the publishers to whom you have submitted your writing, what manuscript you submitted, when you submitted it and when the publisher promises to get back to you about your writing. By keeping a running list, you will know when to query about your work and you won't accidentally simultaneously submit your writing somewhere else.

Tips
  • When communicating with publishers and literary agents, always be polite and professional, even in the face of rejection.
  • "The Writer's Market" book is a great resource for researching publishing houses that publish work in your genre.
About the Author

Nadria Tucker holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has contributed articles to "Birmingham Magazine" and "Lipstick Magazine" and her fiction has appeared in "THE2NDHAND," "New Southerner" and the fiction anthology "All Hands On: THE2NDHAND After 10."

Photo Credits
  • Andrea Chu/Digital Vision/Getty Images