Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Writing Wednesdays - Submitting

So, this week, we're going to be looking at another scary step.  Submitting.  You've written something, done all of the hard work, and now you have an edited, finished piece of work.  If it's an anthology entry, or a longer novel, you've worked on it for a long time, edited it, and you're finally happy with the result.  Now, you need to decide what you want to do with it.

There are two main options, if you want to get it out there.  The first one is self publishing, and the second is submitting it to a publishing firm.  For either of these, unless you are purchasing physical copies of your job with associated printing costs, my advice is to not spend money - if a website charges you to list your work, that is quite possibly something you should avoid.

Self Publishing:
If you want to self publish, there are a lot of guides out there - look for advice at how to best format things, and look at the range of different websites.  Amazon has a big marketplace, but may not have the best terms, whilst Book Baby ( has a lot of support available but is less known about.  Createspace ( can be quite good if you want physical copies of your book, and if you do Nanowrimo you may get a discount code or a free proof copy... I'm not a self publisher, but just look around - the information is out there, and self publishing can be a wonderful way of getting your writing out there! 

Think about what your work is - who is it for?  Is it a short story, a novel, or a piece that should be serialised?  Once you've answered that, look around for different websites that might support it. 

Personally, I write LGBT fiction, so I'd be looking at places like Dreamspinner Press (, Torquere Press ( and Storm Moon Press (  If it's been written for a particular call, follow the steps to submit.

If it is something that is unsolicited, take a while to look around their site - make sure that they take unsolicited manuscripts.  If they do, look at what calls they have available, and what is popular right now.  If, for example, they're selling a lot of steampunk books right now, and yours has a similar theme, you can mention it in your email! 

Take a look at the submission guidelines.  Then take another look.  Make sure you meet every one as best as you can, especially for simple things like formatting - if they've asked for something double spaced and yours is single, they may open it and close it without bothering to read it.  Publishing places have a lot of things submitted to them, and if you can't even take the time to read what they've asked of you, they won't bother spending the time to look at what you've sent.  Harsh, but true.

When you've met formatting and other guidelines, you'll need to write a summary, and answer various other questions.  Make sure you give them the information that they need.  As for summaries, try and make sure you meet what they're asking for - a summary is the entirety of the book, not the limited section you'd put on a blurb.  If there's a major plot twist, you mention it in the summary (unless it specifically says not to do it!)

Once your summary is written, it's worth getting someone else to look it over if possible.  Then once that's done? Send it in.  Don't expect to hear back immediately - it may be a couple of months or more before they reach your submission.  And once you hear back, well, hopefully it will be good news.  If it isn't?  Then keep trying.  JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before someone picked up Harry Potter. 

That being said, there's no point being a writer if your goal is to get rich.  You need to actually want to do it.  If you love writing, then try and get those words out, and send them out into the world.  Best of luck!

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