A Few Rules for Manuscript Management
Like everything in life, there are rules you can follow to get ahead in writing. Here are some suggestions for new writers many editors and publishers have found helpful. Those who write keeping the following suggestions in mind enhance their chance for a publisher assert of accepting their project.
If you have been in the writing business for a while, you probably already know the following. For those of you who are just starting out, these suggestions may help you in starting your writing career.
Suggestion Number One – Send your manuscript only when asked. Please do not send a paper manuscript. We now live in the Twenty First Century and it is a magical time. BluewaterPress LLC no longer accepts the old-fashioned paper manuscript. We only accept files electronically. To this end, our preferred software is Microsoft Word, (.docx).
Suggestion Number Two – Don’t be too anxious. Editors understand you are anxious to find a publisher. They know you want to see your work in print. For an editor to make a judgment call on your book, they need to see only synopsis and two or three sample chapters. If they need more information for a decision, they will contact you to request it. If they think your book is going to make money, they will be in touch. For magazine articles, you should query the editor with a letter.
Suggestion Number Three – Always send a backup copy. Be very careful to send a copy of your Microsoft file. This is important: never send your original, especially if it is the only copy you have. Computers are full of glitches and it is very easy to lose files. So here is a very important piece of advice: always make copies, lots of copies, and store them in different places. For instance, have a copy on your computer, save a copy to an external drive, and just for laughs and giggles you would probably be wise to have three copies stored on three separate thumb drives.
Number Four – Send what is asked. If you are a relatively unknown writer (which more than likely you are), you need to play the game publishers and editors’ request. Like any job, they have a workflow which they use in order to do their work as efficiently as possible. To that end, help them out. The more you follow the rules set by the house, the better your chance becomes for publication.
Number Five – Word count. If you have written a 100,000 word or more manuscript, that might not be so good. BluewaterPress LLC focuses on books averaging from 70,000 words to 95,000 words. The reason for this is that length of manuscript creates a book of 200 to 230 pages. This is the best size for the best profit return. Authors need to understand the marketing side of the business; one important rule is that readers tend to avoid buying really big books. Hence, 200 to 250 pages is the best size for production costs and sales.
Number Six – Technology is your friend. If you are computer-phobic, get over it. As mentioned above, we’re living in the Twenty First Century. Everything we do today has the fingerprints of modern-day computers all over it. Computers and word processors and make the job of writing so much easier. Additionally, when it comes to editing, it’s almost impossible to do the job without the help of a computer.
Number Seven – Get Microsoft Word and Grammarly. This is the 21st Century; try to use a computer and common software for your writing. Most organizations use Microsoft Word for their writing and editing needs. Remember that editors are very much like electricity – they are going to take the path of least resistance when it comes to work. If your project is handwritten or typed on paper, it becomes difficult to process, which reduces the likelihood of editors accepting your project for publication. Right or wrong, this is the new norm.
Don’t know where to put that comma? Should you use a colon or semi-colon in that sentence? What about parentheses? How are those used properly? The answer to these and many other questions about verbs, adverbs, prepositions, subject-number agreement, and more is available to you through Grammarly.com. This software comes in two forms: free and paid. It is one of the most useful tools a writer can own on his or her hard drive.
Typewriters or the use of pens, pencils, and paper makes converting a book into a very long process. This equates into time, which of course, equals money. Keep in mind that publishers are interested in saving money.
Number Eight – Sell, Sell, Sell. Continue selling your project. It is not sold until you have either a check for a magazine article, or a contract for your book. Be careful of knowing your market. Some editors and publishers will not consider a simultaneous submission. If they do accept simultaneous submissions, continue to market. Keep in mind it is sometimes a long time between a submission and an answer.
Number Nine – Market yourself. This is easier said than done. Do not become discouraged. Believe in yourself and in your work. Continue to market your projects. When your magazine article or book returns from an editor, go over your manuscript again proofing for any mistakes, and then mail it out to another publication. Also bear in mind you may or may not receive any feedback from an editor. If an editor offers constructive criticism, take it to heart and use it to improve your writing.