Tuesday, 21 July 2015

When to Hit Submit

No, I’m not talking about 50 Shades of Gray. In fact, if you are thinking of writing something similar, or titling your book, novella, or story Fifty Shades of [insert any color or item here], please don’t.

I’m talking about submitting to a small press.

While I would love for you to submit to Tirgearr Publishing, where I act as Senior Editor, some things I have seen on the acquisitions side are now fueling a short rant, hopefully filled with some useful advice, no matter where you decide to submit.

Some of you are great at self-publishing. You hire great cover designers, editors, proof readers, and formatters. You understand the need and the value of investing in your work, treating your writing like a business, and making your book the best product it can be. This post is not for you, unless, like me, you want to be a hybrid author, and self-publish some things while you submit others.

For the rest of you let me simply say this: If you don’t have the money to invest in publishing your work properly, please do not self–publish. Even if you have money, but would rather invest it in marketing after your book is published, then please submit. Submit to a reputable small press, and let them take some of the burden for you: sourcing a cover designer, editor, proofreader, and formatter, and getting your work distributed as widely as possible. Whatever your reason for submission, please follow these few steps before you hit send:

Revise your work.
Sound obvious? Not so fast. You would be shocked how many manuscripts we get that look and feel like rough drafts, still containing some basic punctuation and grammar errors easily fixed by using the tools in Microsoft Word or any other word processor. Most would be obvious if the author just read over their own work at least one time.

Truthfully, the cleaner your work is when we see it, the more likely we are to accept it. So it is only in your best interest to make it the best it can be before submission. Editors at this stage are not here to help you re-write your first draft, but to polish your work and make it shine. You need to clean it up at least a little bit first.

Follow the Submission Guidelines.
We now have an online form. You have to fill in certain blanks before you can even press send. The system is designed to make the process as easy and mindless as possible. Still there are a few simple rules I have seen violated over and over.

·       Do send us what we ask for.
·       Don’t send us what we don’t ask for.
·       Send things in the formats we say we accept.
·       Don’t offer excuses why you can’t do the three things above.

Part of the process is us learning about you as an author. If you cannot follow directions at this stage, how do we know you will follow the directions your editor gives you? How do we know you will properly use the marketing tools we give you? Cooperation at this stage shows us you care about what we care about, and you are willing to do as we ask. This is really important in our future dealings with you. First impressions, and all of that.

Be Professional.
We are professionals who are looking for professional authors. Be thinking about an author platform, if you do not already have one. Answer questions we ask you in a professional way. Don’t use emoticons or nude selfies in your signature. In fact, if you do not have a signature, at least type your name at the bottom. Respond promptly. Don’t call me names. Take care to spell the names of those you correspond with correctly.

Does the above seem obvious? Things we should not even have to mention? If they do, please submit. I like you already. If you struggle with the list above, remember this: you are an artist, and you can treat your book as your art as much as you wish while you are writing it. But once it is finished, it is a product you (and hopefully we) are trying to sell. So treat this process like the business it is, just like you would at any other job.

Really, we appreciate it. And we want to hear from you. Please submit. Just make sure you’re ready first. Make the first step in your author career, or the next step, the best it can be.

Troy Lambert
Senior Editor
Tirgearr Publishing

Leading the Pack
Tirgearr Publishing is currently seeking novella and novel length adult genre fiction -- mystery, thrillers, romance and erotic romance, suspense, science fiction, general and women's fiction, horror, fantasy, etc, and all cross genres.

We're also seeking cross culture and same sex stories...M/M, F/F...as well as multiple partner romances and erotic romance.

We're actively looking for career-minded authors with a view to a future in publishing multiple stories. Sorry, no hobby writers.

Please see our standard submission guidelines and our guidelines for the City Nights series.

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