Monday, January 17, 2011

Submitting To Publishers by CBI Clubhouse

In addition to all the wonderful tips from CBI Clubhouse, I would like to add a few.

1. Do look for the literary agent or publisher's specific guidelines. Do not just go by the basics listed on this video. They may not apply to that particular literary agent or publisher's specific guidelines.
2. Do look for sample query or cover letters, before you draft your own.
3. Do submit via email (if it's an option). It will save you paper, money, and time.

Do Not
1. Do not write 'Dear Editor or Dear Agent' on your query or cover letter. It is frowned upon. Todays agents want to know that you've researched their houses and know their names. (I'm guilty of this one. Not on purpose, of course. I merely forgot to change the master letter that I created, and sent it out. I knew who I was writing. I'd done my homework, etc. But once I hit send, it was too late. I nearly died when I'd read the sent email. So my advice, have someone else look at your letters before you send them. That extra effort could make all the difference.)
2. Do not reply to a rejection letter, call, or email. If an agent or house rejects you, take it like a man or woman. Replying will only make you look desperate and crazy. And it WILL ruin your chances of working with that person in the future.
3. Do not try to make your query or cover letter SUPER fancy to get attention. This will not work, and people will laugh. In fact, I just listened to a really funny audio query online the other day. The guy just kept saying " I am the Batman." And while I laughed til' I nearly peed-which did get my attention-it did not earn positive attention. In the end, I just kind of felt bad for the guy. He went out on a figurative limb, only to fall off and break his 'writing' neck. So don't be like him.
4. Do not send your query or cover letters via the blackberry. They will know, people. And they will blog about it. And tweet about it. So just don't do it. It makes you look as if you don't care about your writing career.

Let me know what you think about the tips. Do I need to add some? What has worked for you? Any advice?


  1. I think your list covers it! I'd just add that once we send off the queries, starting a new project is a great way to keep our minds busy while we wait.

    I didn't realize people sent their queries or cover letters via Blackberry. I wouldn't have thought of that, which I guess is a good thing :-)

  2. Julie,
    I was surprised about the query/cover via blackberry, too. One of the agents tweeted and blogged about it around a month ago. Apparently, there's an icon that is sent out when you send something from a blackberry. Turns out it's a dead giveaway. YIKES!

  3. Great tips, Jessica!
    Finding the name of the right editor is tricky sometimes. It's a lot easier to find the name of a magazine editor than a book editor. If the writer's guidelines state to send to "Submissions Editor" I still try to find a name (for example, by researching the publisher or through Jacketflap)but often have to address the letter to that generic title, cringing while I type it.