I’ve been reviewing lots of unsolicited submissions and thought I’d share some advice based on things I’ve seen recently. When you’re sending a submission:
DON’T WRITE YOUR EMAIL IN ALL CAPS, PLEASE! I feel like I’m being screamed at. :)
DO format your cover letter nicely. And it’s fine for your email message to be the cover letter.
DON’T send a link to follow to find your submission. I get plenty of spam with links to who knows where, so I’ve just made it a rule that if you can’t include your work with your proposal, I’m not going to go looking for it.
DO use Microsoft Word attachments or a format that can be opened in Microsoft Word. I still frequently receive Word Perfect and other formats that I just can’t open.
DON’T be overly confident that a publisher will certainly contract your book. I am always turned off by cover letters that tell me what I am thinking and what I will do.
DO be confident and honest about yourself, your writing abilities and experience, and why you’d love to work with the publisher. But remember to keep this relevant and brief. It’s good to share some information about yourself but not a whole autobiography.
DON’T send back an obnoxious reply to a rejection. This is so irritating, and I am completely baffled over why people do this in such a competitive industry. An obnoxious reply indicates an obnoxious person that we’d probably never want to work with.
DO send a gracious reply thanking the publisher for their time. I am always impressed by these. I received one today that said, “Thank you so much for reviewing my novel and taking the time to respond. I appreciate it very much, even though it wasn't what I hoped for. Thank you for helping bring good Christian fiction to the book shelves. Hopefully, one day, my own work will be among them.” That’s one of the nicest rejection replies I’ve ever received, and I appreciate this author’s great attitude.