Want to send your work out but don’t know how?
Here are some tips for sending your poem/story/manuscript to agents and editors and looking like a professional doing it.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
If you’re submitting your poems or story to a journal, read past issues. If you’re submitting to a small press, read the books they publish. If you know the kind of thing they usually publish, you’ll know if your poem or story is a good fit for them. If it’s not a good fit, don’t submit to them. Find people who like the stuff you’re making.
If you’re querying your manuscript, make sure the agents you’re submitting to actually like and want to represent the kind of thing you’ve written. I know this seems basic, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t do this.
FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES
Every agent/journal/publisher has different submission guidelines. Read the guidelines and follow them. I promise you, if you do this, you’re already setting your submission apart.
Do not respond to a rejection by insulting the person who sent it to you. Rejection is not personal, and agents and editors aren’t trying to ruin your life. Take it, and move on.
Say something like, “Thank you for considering my work.” Agents and editors read submissions over and above working hours. They’re spending their time reading your words. They’re doing their best. Do yours.
MAKE SURE YOUR WORK IS READY
Only submit work you’re really, really proud of. My recommendation is to do a first draft, let it sit for a little while, then read it again and do your own revisions. Send the second or third draft to critique partners, do more changes, and then maybe you’ll be ready to submit.
Editors and agents have many, many submissions to get through. Be patient. Don’t nudge them incessantly. Don’t refresh your inbox obsessively. Instead, get to work on the next thing you’re going to send out. That’s where the gold is.
Were these tips helpful? Is there anything I left out? Let me know in the comments! Happy writing and happy submitting :)