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- author Jackie French

Friday 13 July 2012

Publisher's Insider: Top 5 Tips for Submitting Your Manuscript

So, you’ve written a children’s book manuscript and you would love to see it published. What are the top 5 things you should (or shouldn’t!) do?

1. Do your research
There are many children’s book publishers out there but not all of them will publish the style of book you have written. So visit bookshops and look online to find out which publishers would be a good match for your manuscript. Prepare a shortlist.

2. Follow submission guidelines
Check your target publishers’ websites and follow their submission guidelines exactly. Publishers set these guidelines for a reason — they receive hundreds if not thousands of manuscripts a year and need an effective system for managing this. (Some publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. In this case, you might need to consider finding yourself an agent.)

3. Ensure your manuscript is grammatically flawless
It’s a very, very competitive market. Publishers are not only looking for great stories, but they’re also looking for authors who display the right level of professionalism. You might have written the best story in the world, but if it’s full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, you will be vastly reducing your chances of success. If you know you might be weak in these areas, consider getting a professional editor to give your work the necessary polish before you submit it.

4. Friends and family mean nothing to a publisher
Please do not mention in your covering letter that ‘My friends and family have all read the manuscript and think it’s wonderful!’ Publishers don’t care. And unless you have particularly honest friends and family, you should probably take their opinion with a grain of salt too …

5. Don’t be abusive if rejected
This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of times publishers receive letters from rejected authors telling them at length that they’ve ‘made the biggest mistake of their lives’! Remember, you might want to submit other manuscripts to these publishers so a polite ‘thank you for your time and feedback’ note is a far better investment in your possible future career!

Anouska Jones is our KBR Editor. Mum to a gorgeous little girl, she has nearly twenty years' experience in the book publishing industry. A publishing consultant and editor, Anouska is obsessed by all things to do with words, writing and books.