Submitting A Manuscript To Book Publishing Companies

Stories from America suggest that every big New York publishers receives over one hundred manuscripts per day. That's about 3,000 manuscripts a month! However, sadly the majority of those manuscripts go unread. In fact many of them are returned to the sender unopened. The large volume of manuscripts that are sent to publishers is indicative of why it is so difficult to get published.

I recently had a personal experience when I met with the Managing Director of a large Australian publishing company. I was speaking about the best way for first-time authors to get published when I noticed the large pile of manuscripts sitting on her desk.

I was actually surprised when I noticed that some of them were printed on poor quality paper, some were folded, some looked like they had already been to ten different publishers, some had marks written on the pages and overall there were many that were poorly presented.

However, amongst all of those manuscripts two stood out for me. One was a gold box that had a few little knick-knacks inside to accompany the manuscript. The other one was a box with a garter around it – upon further questioning I discovered the manuscript was based on the real life story of prostitutes. In fact, a number of months later, I saw that book on the shelves and the publisher actually used that idea of the garter around the book to help in the promotion.

Back to the meeting the Managing Director noted that these people obviously had some idea about marketing and in an era where authors also need ‘good talent' as well as provide good material, these unique manuscripts managed to make their way to the top of the pile.  

However, gold boxes and garters doesn't mean that aspiring authors should print their manuscripts on floral paper in an effort to stand out. Always stick with black and white, however, think about how you can package that manuscript.

Now accompanying the package should be a short and concise cover letter that grabs the publisher's attention. If the letter is not immediately appealing then they're not going to continue reading, so it's also important to get some advice about writing a great cover letter.

A literary agent can help you out with these things. In fact, a lot of publishers are now refusing to deal with aspiring authors directly because more than 95% of the manuscripts they receive are not of a publishable standard. So literary agents will not only help improve your writing but will also suggest ways to deliver proposals to publishers.

So when you are ready to send your manuscript to a publisher, ensure that it is presented well and spend some time thinking about the possible ways to package it. With an increasing number of manuscripts all competing for publication, make sure your work doesn't get lost in the slush pile.


Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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