Thursday, April 9, 2009

Submission Flaws

Editors and agents see this all of the time. Submissions that are pathetic. No. I'm not talking about the stories that were submitted. I am talking about the format of the submission. I have to honestly say, I have rejected people because the submisison was poor.

Here are the big ones:

CONTACT INFORMATION IS WRONG - Look people. The contact information is very clear and very accessible to everyone. Go to my CONTACT US page and you find the exact address, the name of the person and what to send. I still have people who submit to me as:
Mr. Greyhaus, Ms, Greyhaus, To Whom it May Concern and even my intern's name (Which I have not had for several years). Sure mistakes happen but this is one that is easily remedied.

SENDING THE WRONG MATERIAL This goes back to my earlier post. Before sending anything you should know what to send. Do your research. Don't send something we are not asking for.

TYPOS AND SPELLING ERRORS Hallmark says, "when you care enough to send the very best." I actually received an e-query this week that included no contact information, no title, no genre and apparently was sent via a text message because of the lack of capitalization and punctuation. Can you say REJECT?

NOT SENDING WHAT WE WANT If I ask for a full, send a full. If I ask for a 3-5 page synopsis, don't send me a 10 page synopsis. If I ask for the first three pages, send me JUST that. I don't want art work that you have designed. I don't want to see your pictures from family vacations. I don't want to see your self-published books. This is just getting you a reject even sooner.

And yes, a SASE is required! No exceptions!

LACK OF PROFESSIONALISM - This is a business. Beginning your letter with jokes, or "witty statements" is not professional. You are applying for a job and that means you treat this like any other cover letter. This letter should show me that you are ready to make a jump to the professional world of writing. Being cute just tells me you are immature.



  1. Family photos? Not even a hot babe in a bikini? Oh my.
    I have always sent multiple pages in a photo mailer, but am never sure if this is overkill for a 1-2 page query or not. It also feels wrong to fold it in threes like a business letter, and send it in a long envelope. What are other people doing for a 1-2 page query?

  2. If I can throw my own two cents in here, I've never sent a query or synopsis in anything other than a 9 x 12 (or close) envelope. There's just something about folding it that never struck me as right.

    Isn't it odd what a person can fixate on?

  3. You really are on a rant this week. By this post I take it to mean you are working through your submissions? Tell me, there has to be one or two correctly submitted? Or does the bad out weight the good?