Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Follow the Guidelines – It’s Vital…

December 9, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Guidelines – definition: an indication or outline of policy or conduct

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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?

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Is Flattery the Way to Query an Agent..?

April 22, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Blandish – definition: to coax or persuade with flattery : to cajole

flattery

Although flattery might be a temptation, it is probably not the best way to get an agent to recognize your work. Obviously you can mention you have read through their profile, seen the authors they already work with and taken care to submit to their preference. However, blatant cajoling is apt to have the exact opposite result you are wishing for. That is not to say that you can’t use any connections you may have up your sleeve. An introduction or meeting at a conference or another author’s recommendation are excellent ways to open dialogue.

The most important aspect about approaching an agent is to make sure you have thoroughly researched the genre’s they are interested in or promote. A romance agency is not going to accept a science fiction manuscript even if there are romantic elements in it. Wasting the agent’s time is a big no – no! As you can see from these links time taken researching the agency’s website and the individual agent’s will ensure your time is productive.

http://rebeccabradleycrime.com/2013/04/19/querying-that-literary-agent-in-5-simple-steps/

http://chasingthecrazies.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/querying-writers-please-do-your-homework/

The more care we take to polish and correctly submit our submissions the better. An agent will respond more favorably if our pitch is to their criteria. After ‘pressing the submit button’ we can only wait for a reply. Another point to make a note of is the agency’s response guidelines. Some will email back, some not and others may site on their website that if we have not heard in a certain amount of time, our submission has not been accepted.

The waiting is the hard part…!

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