Guidelines – definition: an indication or outline of policy or conduct
Guidelines are important and should be adhered to when submitting your work. Whether it is for a competition, a particular genre or for freelance submissions. How we submit is almost as crucial as the work itself. Many publishing houses and agents now accept email instead of snail mail, but remember to read carefully how they expect your work to be received. Some prefer attachments while others want everything in the body of the email.
When freelance writers are contacting potential clients the guidelines change from company to company and an incorrect submission can mean the difference between success and failure. Researching the company’s profile, any articles already published and establishing the correct person to contact enables you to refine your work and ensure the piece is received and not lost in the internal mail system of the company.
For manuscripts, submissions are more tricky. Which agent or publisher to send your novel to requires a good deal of research before you send anything to them. Find out which genre they publish. If one company publishes or represents numerous genres ensure you identify the correct agent and read up on their profile before sending. Try to make the ‘match’ as perfect as possible for the genre and the person you are contacting. Send exactly how and what they require – no less, no more.
Competitions are a great way to practice submitting your work but again who, how and where to send is still important. A horror story will not make it with a romance competition even if there is a romantic element within it. Again adhere to the instructions given.
A handy tip is to print out the guidelines and tick off each item to ensure you have crossed your T’s and dotted your i’s as per the guidelines. It may be time consuming but worth while if you want your work published.
Do you have any tips or experiences you would like to share?
- Submitting Your Manuscript: Getting Started (carldouglass.com)