“I believe myself that a good writer doesn’t really need to be told anything except to keep at it.” – Chinua Achebe
Cardinal Rule Press is excited to kick off our Special Three-Month Writer’s Series!
Over the next three months, expect great insider tips on book submissions, writing inspiration, and ideas on growing your writing community. It’s a great time to be honing your writing skills and working on long-term projects!
Speaking of INSIDER TIPS: Stay in the know by signing up for the Cardinal Rule Press bi-weekly Newsletter. This month, subscribers can download an ABC BOOK HUNT as a fun and easy way to keep your little readers at home busy!
APRIL WRITER’S SERIES: SUBMISSIONS 101
Insider tips on Submitting your Manuscript
GET TO KNOW THE PUBLISHER BEFORE SUBMITTING
In other words, do your homework. Become familiar with the publisher’s books. In publishing, we often talk about “writing to market,” which naysayers interpret as “cynically imitating successful books.” But in actuality, it’s understanding the tastes of your readers and potentially interested publishers. Honing in on a publisher’s target audience and then demonstrating your understanding, will help editors understand what type of book they can sell. By knowing the publisher’s previous books, themes and style, you can customize to certain areas or avoid others.
Editors rarely have time to edit, so your manuscript needs to be as good as possible before you submit it. Work on your manuscript until you can’t possibly think of a way to improvise it. Picture books and early readers are so short that it is even more crucial than usual to perfect every single sentence. All publishers are going to read a manuscript with one question in mind: Will this book be able to sell? You want to convince them that the answer is YES.
MAKE THE QUERY COVER LETTER PERSONAL
You don’t get a second chance, so it’s important to get it right the first time. Personalization is key. A publisher will immediately be able to tell the difference between an author who’s done their homework and one who’s simply copy-and-pasted a boilerplate email. Simple things, like addressing the letter to the specific person, with their name spelled CORRECTLY (no “Sir” or “Madam”) DO matter. Make sure the publisher knows you’ve researched them. Name-drop authors or books they’ve represented that you admire, and pitch your book as a perfect match for their specific taste or manuscript wishlist. They’ll notice you’re paying attention, and they’ll pay attention back.
DO NOT INCLUDE ART NOTES
Don’t hire an illustrator. Don’t do it yourself and don’t get your spouse, child or college friend to do it. Don’t even provide notes or guidelines. The editor who buys your book will want to choose an illustrator – so submitting sketches or guidelines will only work to your disadvantage.
Even if you have a beautifully written picture book query letter on your hands, it will mean nothing if you don’t follow the guidelines for submissions. Not only is this one of the easier steps to follow, but not doing so is essentially an act of self-sabotage. No one wants to work with someone who doesn’t listen. Generally, a publisher who’s open to queries will have a page on their website with directions for authors. Once you’ve found the page, follow those instructions to the T.
We hope you enjoyed this first installment of our Writer’s Series and we look forward to next month’s topic: Writing a Children’s Book. DON’T FORGET: Sign up for Cardinal Rule Press freebies and tips coming right to your inbox with our bi-weekly Newsletter. Sign up today!
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” –Louis L’Amour
Stay safe and healthy,
~ Your friends at Cardinal Rule Press