Create a Perfect Submission Package

If you’re interested in writing a book, you’ll need to know about preparing submission packages. This isn’t necessary for other types of writing, but if you botch the submission package with an agent or book publisher, you’ll likely not be given a chance to publish your masterpiece. Submission packages have a number of components:

The Query Letter: The top page of your package should be your query letter, asking the agent or publisher to review your idea. Make sure you go over the basics of a query letter before you write this document.

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Your Resume and Clips: Most agents and publishers like to see your past experience with writing and with your subject matter. Some specifically ask that you do not include a resume or clips or past work, but if they don’t, you should assume they want to see them.

The Synopsis: Your synopsis should be a page to two pages. Basically, you want to sum up your book and why readers should care about it.

Market Research: Books are a huge investment for agents and publishers. They stand to lose a lot of money, so they want you to prove that the market is ready for what you have to offer. Do research on similar books currently on the market, as well as consumer trends relating to your subject matter.

Your Working Table of Contents: This might not be set in stone, but you should include an annotated table of contents, meaning that you describe what each chapter is about.

The Sample: Every publisher is a bit different. With a book, you should send a sample, usually a chapter (though it doesn’t have to be the first chapter). Some publishers will ask for more, and some will want to see fewer pages.

Remember, you might have to send out 100 or more submission packages before someone accepts you. When you do get replies, go over whatever comments they give you. If you’re getting a lot of form letters, you probably want to rethink your subject matter or edit your submission package, but many times publishers will send you a “No thanks, but…” letter that includes really constructive criticism. Not all negative replies are bad, so don’t get overly upset when you’re rejected. All freelance writers get rejected constantly so do yourself a a favor, man up and get used to it.

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