– Marci H.
A. This basic question is probably one of the most common ones out there, so I thought I would address it, even if some readers already know the answer.
First of all, let’s just define it real quick: An unsolicited manuscript is one that has not been requested. So what that means is you can’t send any mss in for review that were not first requested. If you do, these submissions will not be considered.
To get over this hurdle, you basically have two options. First, you can look for a literary agent who will represent you. The literary agent represents your work when dealing with editors and only sends it to editors she knows. Therefore, the work is now solicited.
Second, you can query the publisher. Just send them a one-page letter (the query) asking if you can submit the entire ms or at least a sample for review. If they like your query and are intrigued by the book’s concept, they will request sample chapters or perhaps the entire thing. Since they have just requested some writing, the work is now solicited.