Follow the Guidelines

It’s the step unpublished writers often ignore.

A few years back, a literary agency included this warning with their entry for an annual writer’s market guide: “No exceptions. Don’t ask to be the exception.”

Agents and acquisitions editors everywhere share that frustration. There’s a reason for each item in their submission guidelines. That’s what they want — and how they want to receive it.

Imagine your frustration if you asked a clerk for a size 8 silk, knee-length dress in teal — then were shown size 2 or 12, in mid-thigh or floor length, in orange or pink wool. Worse, to be told if you only prayed about it, those would be your first choice.

Too many writers think they can be the exception. Or they never take the trouble to check what the agent or editor wants. Either way, they build their reputation.

So do writers who follow the rules: not only for their book proposal’s content, but also for how it’s submitted. You can stand out from the crowd by simply following directions.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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