Tips About What Not to Do From One of My Publishers

I asked one of my publishers to tell me what really bugged her to use in a talk I was giving and here's what she sent me:

In general: Don't CC the query to every publisher/agent in the world.

DO customize (and address it to the right person--I get queries to people I've never heard of before). Also, when customizing, get the editor's name right (I've been Ms. --, full name, and spell it right, most don't even  though it's RIGHT THERE on the website).

Don't be snarky or insulting either to the individual editor you're querying or editors/agents in general.

Don't inquire about a submission before the maximum wait time has passed (it makes you seem high maintenance. I've rec'd an inquiry for sub status two weeks after a sub when our guidelines say 90 - 120 days. I promptly rejected the writer).

Don't reply to a rejection letter.

Do follow the guidelines. Always. ONLY send what the pub is asking for.

If you're asked to send a full or partial manuscript as an attachment, give the file a logical name, such as "Title - Author - full/partial"
not "manuscript"--if they put that manuscript on their ereader to read, by the time they get to it, they might not remember whose book it is. Include a cover page with the title, your name, and contact info. Also, send in doc or rtf. Not everyone can open docx, few can open word perfect documents, and no one will willingly open a zipped attachment.

If the MS in a simultaneous submission and it's accepted elsewhere, please withdraw it from anywhere else still considering. Slush reviewing = very little time and money to go around, and it's not fair to let a pub continue evaluating it.

Follow the guidelines for submission inquiries. Don't email everyone on staff. Don't harass a publisher's other authors as they have zero knowledge of what's going on in slush.

If the manuscript has been rejected once already, don't resubmit it unless invited to.

Don't send along the cover you designed.

Don't ask editors/agents you don't know if you can take them out for lunch to pitch your book. They get hundreds of those calls. And most of them are already working on their lunch "breaks" and don't have the time to be obligated to listen to you talk about your manuscript.

Don't leave racist comments on the blogs of editors who are considering your submission.

Definitely good advice--though it's hard to believe a writer who wants to be published would do these things.


Always so interesting to visit your site.What a great info, thank you for sharing. this will help me so much in my learning.
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