Once you finish writing your romance manuscript there is an immense feeling of satisfaction. Your baby is taking shape. Now, all you need to do is get it published. Here are a few tips to help you go about submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers.
1. Who do you need to contact? For the previously unpublished author, your first line of inquiry will probably be the publishing houses. There are agents that will take on new writers if they are very, very good. If you believe that much in your work and your skills, that is another avenue to pursue.
2. Read and reread your manuscript. Let another writing colleague or an editing service go over it. Manuscripts with typos may make it onto the desk of an editor or agent but it won’t stay there long. These professionals have too many other manuscripts to wade through to take time to tackle grammar issues.
3. Do your research. This is an important tip because many first-time writers don’t know anything about the business of romance publishing. Start at the local bookstore. New titles are coming out all the time and it is worth your while to check them out especially the ones in your genre. What are the plotlines? Your book will stand out if it takes a different tack than the others.
4. Fashion the best query letter possible. A query letter is required for editors and agents. The Writer’s Market includes sections on agents and publishing houses. Discover which agents are looking for new writers and which publishing houses accept unsolicited manuscripts. These are the people that you want to reach out to. Within the query, discuss your book and what makes it special. Include a synopsis of your book or a few sample chapters. What you send depends on what they want to read.
5. Follow the writer’s guidelines to the letter. Think about your job. If someone came to apply, you’d expect them to know something about the company and be dressed appropriately for the interview, correct? It’s the same with agents and editors. Your manuscript needs to be “dressed” according to what they like if you want them to take an interest.
6. Join a writer’s circle. It can be a local one or online. Here you will gain valuable insight from other romance writers both published and unpublished about how to play the game. Writer’s groups try to provide their members with guest speakers on writing, publishing information and critiques on your work by other members of the group. This is not just joining for the sake of your resume, get involved and make it worth your while.
7. Enter romance writing contents. These are fun and potentially lucrative ways to meet agents and editors. It is also a dry run to see how your writing fares against a larger pool of writers. This is similar to what it’s like in the publishing world. Enter as often as you can afford to and pay attention to any feedback that you get.
Submitting your romance manuscript takes time, preparation and knowledge of the industry. Let your publishing savvy show through and get your work read.