Well, it’s the last week of June. That means it’s the last week of our series, and the last week in which we’ll be talking about how to get yourself from manuscript to published novel. Last week, we picked out our favorite publishers. Today, I have some things I want you to think about, to keep in mind, while you’re sending things out.
Know what to expect
Even though we’ve done a mass of research into the publishers and what to expect from publishing with them, many publishing houses don’t really tell you all that much about the submissions process. I don’t understand why that is. I really don’t. So, I want to explain some of this stuff to you, so you’ll have a better idea of what you can expect once you send your work out, and remind you of some things you probably already know, while you're in this stage.
Hearing back from someone
Let’s just dispel this one here and now. With the majority of publishers, you won’t hear back once you’ve submitted, nor will you know when they’re reading your work, nor will you know anything at all until you either get a rejection letter or are contacted by someone for contracting purposes. I don’t know why that is, either. There are some publishers out there who will open up a dialogue with you before reading, and even during reading, but they’re few and far between. (RAD Writing is one of them, FYI)
Nine out of ten publishers don’t want you sending your work to other publishers while they have it in their reading pile. They don’t want to be in direct competition with other publishers over your work. From their point of view, I completely understand. However, I don’t suggest listening to them here. Go ahead and send your manuscript to a few places, and when one of them picks you, just quietly inform the others that you’ll need to pull your submission. You don’t have to tell them why, unless they ask. No point in lying, but no need to give all the facts if you don’t have to, eh?
Pretty much every publisher out there has a submissions window, a period of time in which they’re accepting submissions. Thing is, they don’t always publicize when that period will be. So keep an eye out, and try to figure out when is the best time to send in your work. Google is your friend, once again. There’s definitely someone out there who can answer your question.
There’s always a wait time, even once an editor starts reading your manuscript. Actually, there’s usually a pretty lengthy one once they start reading. That’s okay. Don’t freak out about it. There’s a lot that has to happen, once your manuscript is read. If they like it, they might pass it to another editor, or they might have to discuss it with a group of editors. If they aren't sure, maybe they need to get a second opinion. There’s a process. And remember, most publishers aren’t going to keep you in the loop during this time. I would tell you that you’ll just need to be patient, but I know how hard that can be. (FYI, RAD Writing keeps you in the loop through the whole wait time)
There’s always competition. Remember that. Whatever publisher you’ve submitted to, there’s a near guarantee that they have a pile of submissions on their desk. Those are your competition. Don’t forget that you have some. Stay humble. Remember that it’s not all about your manuscript, from the point of view of the publisher. They’re looking for a work that suits them, and they only have a certain number of slots to fill in any given year.
There is a publisher out there for you. Just remember that these things take time, and that sometimes you’ll have to wait through four or five publishers, before you find one that fits.
p.s. RAD Writing accepts submissions all the time, and the waitlist is pretty short right now. Just sayin’