Friday, February 20, 2009


Sometimes we get submissions where the author seems to be telling us, "I do not want my book published." Either they could not understand our simple submission requirements or they just ignored them.

Here are some real examples that scream, "Do not Publish My Book!"

1) There is nothing in the body of the email query-just attachments. Would you even open an email like that?

2) The submission is in the email.

3) Submissions are sent as pdf's. We require a word doc. or rtf.

4) The query has no synopsis, word count, or any descriptive information about the book.

5) We actually had a query that told us to "please publish my book, no one else will."

6) We have had authors that say we look like a good publisher, but could you change your contract? This is even before we have a submission.

7) The query asks many questions that are clearly answered on our web site.

8) We have received submissions that say that the book is not complete but will we publish it when done? Our requirements clearly state that the ms must be complete.

9)The query is filled with typos. Does that raise a red flag?

10) Dear Agent or Publisher. They have not even to take the time to send to us directly.

11) A simple spelling/grammar check reveals many errors on the first page of the submission, never mind the ones in the email.

12) We have received submissions that have said, "here is the ms, but I am thinking of making a lot of revisions."

Authors must recognize that publishers receive many manuscripts, are busy reviewing, editing and publishing,marketing,as well as working with authors whose books are in the process of publication. Most small presses do not mind answering questions and making clarifications. However, when the questions asked are clearly answered on the web site, the author is not making a great impression. We implore all authors to READ THE SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS. Publishers do not load their web sites with useless information. It would behoove authors to review the entire publisher site PRIOR to submission. We have received may great submissions from many great writers. If your work is good, do not have it rejected because you failed to follow some simple steps!


  1. All awesome points. I do think my favorite is "please publish us, no one else will." Why would you say that?? It is unreal to see all the ways writers sabotage themselves.

    I think a couple of things contribute to these very common problems -

    1- laziness (Its too easy to look at the website for a publisher to see what they want and how they want it - I've yet to hear a good reason not to take a few minutes to check a publisher or agent's website.)
    2- insufficient research (If they can't find time to research your website, why would you think they researched their content?)
    3-entitlement (Too many people think they are entitled to be published. I'm sorry but it is a priviledge and something that we earn through hard work :)


  2. Geesh, no wonder these poor, clueless people don't get their works published! Thanks for the article.

  3. 5) We actually had a query that told us to "please publish my book, no one else will."

    That one made me laugh.

  4. As a small independent publisher, I couldn't agree with you more. I can relate to all of your points.