do agents ask for so much in their submission guidelines?
Answered by Joyce Hart
We have to know who you are as a
person; we need to know something of your education and your
background. Have you been published? Do you have a platform? Then we
want to know what you are willing to do to promote the book. Are you
willing to spend some money to get this book out, are you on Facebook,
do you attend writer’s conferences, and do you know what your
competition is? We need to see a good summary of the book, one that
tells the whole story and doesn’t leave questions about the plot.
Finally, we need three chapters to see your writing. If you are a
first-time author, the whole manuscript must be available if we request
The bottom line is we’re asking
from you what the editor asks from us. We tailor our guidelines to
reflect the guidelines of most publishers. The competition is tough,
and if you want to be published, you will have to offer a well-prepared
manuscripts over 120,000 words an automatic rejection? ~
Answered by Terry Burns
In a word, yes. Most publishers
want in the 80,000 to 100,000 word range. They have a template for
their product and like to be within the range they request in their
submission guidelines. Every 10,000 words a project is over their
submission guidelines represents a 10 percent increase in production
costs, not something they are favorable about doing for an author who
does not have an established reader base. This is particularly the case
when they are getting other projects that are good and well written and
do not require the increased investment.
publishers so fussy about word count? ~
Answered by Tamela Hancock Murray.
Authors are a creative bunch,
and it can be frustrating to discover you need to add a new plot thread
to take a 70,000 word story to 80,000, or to cut 20,000 words to meet a
the story matter? Of course it does, but
publishers have to consider marketing your book, so they have to be
fussy about word count.
answer about why most
120,000 word books are automatically rejected offers insight into
publishing expenses. I also offer that consistency is important, as
well. If you own a number of books in a series, take Nancy Drew for
example, look on the shelf. Do you see how each book is almost
identical in size? This is because readers of this series expected a
certain length and price point. Most authors end up writing at least
three books for a series, and their readers also expect a certain
length and price point.
Do you want to write for a
publisher who distributes a large number of books through a book club
and then through stores? They have a set price they charge club
members, and again, the books must be consistent from month to month
with what their customers expect. Just as you can’t expect them to
indulge you with paying for an overly long book to send to readers, you
must be fair to readers by writing as many words as they expect. No
matter what the overall economy, readers want value for their dollar.
percentage of manuscripts submitted to you do you take? ~
Answered by Diana Flegal
It is getting harder and harder
for someone to get added to my list. Nonfiction is pretty much platform
driven, since that is what the editors are expressing to me. Even if I
am especially fond of a nonfiction title, I cannot take it on if the
author does not have a way of personally promoting and selling a good
number of their books.
It’s hard for new authors to
break into fiction, with pure romance being the genre with a wider slot
open on my list. The writing has to be stellar and practically camera