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The Don'ts of Book Submissions

Categories: writing conferences.
Aloha writerly friends,

I’m back from the Maui Writers Conference. It was definitely hard to drag myself into the office today, but I made it. Maria refused to come home until she had evened out her tan, so don’t expect her back until early next week.

In the meantime, I thought I’d pass along these five don’ts that I picked up attending a panel at the conference. The three panelists, Elizabeth Evans (Reece Halsey North Agency), Catherine Fowler (Redwood Agency) and Robert Guinsler (Sterling Lord Literistic), said these are tips every writer should abide by:

The Don’ts

1. Don’t send your full manuscript off the get go. Only send what’s requested in the particular agent’s guidelines. (They almost always can be found online.)
2. Don’t respond to a rejection letter or ask “why.” Just move on.
3. Don’t be rude or disrespectful—rejection isn’t personal, it’s just part of the business.
4. Don’t submit to one agent at a time. The industry is slow so it’s unrealistic for agents to assume you haven’t sent it to other people (unless an agent asks for an exclusive read).
5. Don’t resend a query or manuscript a day or two later with a note, “I found a mistake in my proposal and fixed it.” Once it’s sent, it’s sent.

I hope you didn’t miss us too much. I definitely missed all of you—it’s hard to survive a week without my writing family. Next time I’ll see if I can get the WD jet to swing by and pick everyone up. I’m sure Maria can write that into the 2009 budget.

Take care of yourself and your writing,

Check out Brian’s Questions & Quandaries blog.

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9 Responses to The Don'ts of Book Submissions

  1. Kathy Wood says:

    Thanks for the five Don’ts, especially the one about sending to multiple agents at one time. I’ve been sending to one at a time thinking this was proper procedure. I’m glad to know I can increase my mailings, hopefully finding the one right agent!
    Thanks again for the info!

  2. soly paraiso says:

    Of course we missed you, Brian! Welcome back!

    Thanks for the five Don’ts. We’ll keep that in mind.
    Although I haven’t tried any agent yet. (I had a book published via POD as it’s faster than waiting for some agent’s response.)

  3. Jim Boyd says:

    Thanks ever so much. I am just at the point of seeking an agent and thought it rude to send out several requests at the same time.

  4. Thank you Brian. Good tips and reminders.

  5. And one other tip…keep writing! While you wait for responses, keep those creative muscles strong and flexible.

  6. Joanne says:

    Why would a writer do any of those 5 things?

    Anyway, I’ll keep reading :-)


  7. Welcome back, Brian, and thanks for passing along the tips. I was especially glad to hear the one about not submitting to one agent at a time. That info is timely for me — thanks!

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