Here’s an Oldie But Goodie post from several years back that shows you an inside look about the submission process…maybe this can help you in your own journey!
Today I submitted a nonfiction picture book manuscript that had been hidden away in my cupboard for several years.
Why was it hidden away?
That’s my strategy. You see, I know that in the business of publishing, if you want to get serious about earning money and getting manuscripts published, you have to land the contract BEFORE you write the book.
But sometimes, I just want to write a book. I mean, I HAVE to write a book. The story is just burning inside me, ready to burst forth. It won’t wait for the time it takes to try to land a contract first.
So I write the book.
Then I have a strategy. I make a list of potential publishers who might be interested in the book. I try to study their websites to make sure it fits each of their lists. When I have about 10 -20 targeted publishers on my list, I send out as many submissions as I can for about $20. Yep. That’s it. That’s all I can afford since there’s no guarantee of a sale.
But for $20, I can usually contact all the publishers on my list. Some accept e-mail submissions. That’s free. Some accept queries. That’s only the price of one stamp. Others accept only snail mail manuscript submissions. Those are the ones I don’t target a lot unless they fit into my $20 budget.
After I send my new book out to as many publishers on my list that fit into my budget, then I move onto other projects, get back to the business of trying to land contracts BEFORE I write the book, and wait.
It usually takes 3-6 months to hear back. Or not hear back according to the new method of simply not responding if a publisher rejects the manuscript. After that, I figure I did my part in trying to land a publisher for my manuscript.
That’s when I tuck it away in a file folder in my cupboards I have in the garage.
But it’s not forgotten. No manuscript is forgotten. You see, I’m an optimist. I’ve heard of too many stories where a writer’s manuscript or artist’s painting was “discovered” years or even generations after it was created.
So this month when I read in my issue of Children’s Book Insider that a certain publisher was looking for a certain type of nonfiction manuscript that described MY manuscript, my heart skipped a beat. Bingo!
I went out to my cupboard, found the book manuscript that had been waiting, and prepared it for submission. I sent it on its merry way, and then got back to work on a children’s book deadline I’m currently writing under contract.
That’s how I maintain my writing career. I spend most of my time writing manuscripts that are under contract. I occasionally write manuscripts for myself that I just gotta write…and occasionally send them out to specifically targeted publishers. So far, I’ve landed over 75 books contracts before I wrote the book. I’ve landed zero book contracts for the manuscripts I wrote and THEN tried to find a publisher.
But hey–I’m an optimist! That’s why I sent out my nonfiction picture book submission today. But I’m also a realist. That’s why I got back to work on my book deadline after it was gone.
What’s your strategy?