5 Tips for Submitting Your Manuscript to a Publisher

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in Blog | 1 comment

Submitting your book to a publishing company is a lot like applying for a job. You do research to find a job you want and a company you want to work for. You send in a professional résumé and cover letter, following the instructions in the job posting. Then you wait for an invitation to an interview.


When you submit your manuscript to a publishing company, you follow a lot of the same steps as you do during the job application process. Here are a list of tips that will help make it easier for a publisher to say “Yes!” to your book:


  1. Research what the company publishes and what else the editors work on. Find a company or imprint that matches the genre of your book. Don’t submit Romance novels to a Science Fiction publisher. Don’t submit adult poetry to a publisher that only has submissions open for children’s picture books.
    • Read the company’s website and demonstrate an attention to detail. Publishers often list their submission guidelines along with what they are accepting submissions for somewhere online.
  2. Follow the company’s submission guidelines. You should be able to find a copy of these online if a company’s submissions are open.
    • Know if the company expects a professionally edited manuscript or a draft or work-in-progress
    • Know what format the company wants to receive your manuscript in (for example, a double-spaced Microsoft Word file of the first five chapters with a word count at the end)
  3. Connect with the submissions team. Send in your manuscript as per the submission guidelines.
    • Be aware of who you’re sending the manuscript to. Is it a general address for submissions or a specific employee’s address?
    • Follow up if you don’t receive a response to say that your submission was received within a reasonable amount of time (a few weeks)
    • Do not harass editors or publicists with multiple emails such as “did you get my book?” This is a quick way to make sure your manuscript is rejected.
  4. Know your rights and what intellectual property you want to keep.
    • Depending on the company you choose to submit your manuscript to, you could own full rights to your finished book, or no rights at all. Research a company’s terms before you send in a submission if you intend to keep some of the rights to your book.
  5. Have a vision for your book. Know how much you want to be involved in the processes of editing and marketing. Different companies have different approaches to the publishing process. If you know what you want, you’re more likely to make the best choice for your manuscript.
    • Some companies do a lot of the marketing for their authors. Some companies expect the authors to do a lot of marketing themselves.
    • Some companies will involve you in every step of the editing process. Some will hand your book over to an editor and allow you minimal personal changes after that point.
    • Invest in having your manuscript evaluated before you submit it, whether it’s through a freelance editor, an editing service, or another external option. This can provide valuable insight as to how the book is viewed by someone other than its author!


It can be intimidating to send a manuscript to a publishing company, but if you consider the above points, you will be off to a great start. Keep the end goal in mind and follow your dreams!

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One Comment

  1. Great information for new writers, and for seasoned ones who sometimes forget about checking submission guidelines. Must remember, publishing companies all might have something just a little different.


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