What To Do When They Don't Want 'Unsolicited Manuscripts'

Author:
Publish date:

Q. I have recently completed a manuscript for a children's book. I have looked online for publishing companies to send the manuscript. All the publishers I contacted said they do not except "unsolicited" manuscripts. I came across the Guide to Literary Agents website looking for direction. Do you have any suggestions on how to get my manuscript to the publisher for review?
- 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.

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Author Alexander Weinstein discusses how he came to select the theme of his new short story collection, Universal Love, and what it was like to see those themes reflected in the real world.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank me poem.

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

Author Samantha Downing discusses the techniques she used when writing her literary novel He Started It, which focuses on family secrets, old grudges, and lots of scores to settle.

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

Crime and suspense author W.A. Winter discusses why he decided on fiction over true crime for his latest novel, The Secret Lives of Dentists, and how writing this book brought him joy.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Love and/or Anti-Love poem.

Stationery vs. Stationary (Grammar Rules)

Stationary vs. Stationery (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of stationary and stationery on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Erik Larson Quote

Liminal Spaces: A Profile of Erik Larson

WD gives a peek at the daily routine of Erik Larson and the writing process behind his bestselling narrative nonfiction in this Nov/Dec 2020 profile by Zachary Petit.

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Debut author Jennifer Boresz Engelking discusses what led her to write her historical nonfiction book Hidden History of Lake County Ohio and how research gave her a new appreciation for her hometown.