Friday, December 9, 2016

Why Submission Guidelines Matter

I see a lot of authors submit material to me that, although it might be the genre I am looking for, it doesn't meet my submission guidelines of what I am looking for. I have seen a lot of authors openly state that they think it really doesn't matter. They will often go on to say that the submission guidelines we have are just "hoops to jump through" or a way to "sort out authors they simply don't want to look at." Unfortunately, this thought is really off the mark,

When we have guidelines and ask for specific things, it is based on how we review documents and what we are really interested in.

For example, when I request material from writers, I want the material and the title of the document a specific way. Why? Because when I transfer it over to my iPad to read, it is being sorted a specific way so I can keep documents such as the synopsis and the partial together. If someone simply embeds it in the email, I am not going to be able to read it unless I am sitting at my desk.

If we ask for a document to be sent in a specific format (i.e. RTF, DOC, DOCX, etc.) it is because our computers are not set up to read some of the other documents.

There are also some agents and editors who do not want things sent as attachments and DO want it embedded into the document. Why? They have probably been nailed in the past with a virus on the attachment.

I think the other thing to consider is that if you are someone sending material that we don't want in that format, or at that time, it is clear that you are someone who has a hard time following directions. Is this someone we would want to work with when it comes to revisions and notes?

I know that this might seem like a bit of a pain, but there are reasons for what we do. Following those steps might insure a better response when we get to your story.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the clarification about why there are so many different guidelines. I know that when I'm pitching to many different agents or publishers it can be a pain to have the one submission in so many different formats but now i understand why. I'll share this piece on my FB page.