Saturday, May 21, 2016


When everything is said and done, when the author has dotted the last I and crossed the last T, when he or she has finally laid down the editing pen, it is time to send the manuscript out. This process is called submission. No, this is not—despite what some authors may feel—because the author must become submissive to the publisher. This process is giving the manuscript to a publisher—submitting it—for acceptance. This process can be both intimidating and mysterious for the new author.

There are many so-called rules for submitting a manuscript. For example, some publishers do not accept agented submissions, while other publishers only accept agented submissions. Do the rules for submitting to an agent differ from those for submitting to a publisher? The truth is, there is no consistency in the so-called rules anywhere, be it between publishers or agents. One thing that is generally true, however, is most publishers and agents post their own rules for submitting. If the process is not outlined on their website, then contact them and request a submission document or template. Information on the submission process for Tin Whiskers Publisher can be found on our For Authors page.

How strictly do you have to adhere to the submission rules or process outlined by a publisher? Again, there is no consistency. Some publisher are very strict and use any variance as a reason to reject a manuscript. “We said submit five pages, and you gave us six; sorry, but we cannot accept your project.” In reality, most publishers are flexible. If they ask for five pages, but your story has a natural break on page six, then give them six pages. However, do not give them a dozen pages. If they want to see more, they will ask to see more.

One rule that is strictly enforced pretty much across the board is adherence to a submission period. If a publisher or agent states they are not accepting submissions, then don’t send a submission. Your manuscript will be returned unopened, if it is returned at all. Many publishers have a submission season, which is tied to the market. Publishing is a complex business, but it has a fairly set schedule. Books for sale to consumers in the fall are actually sold to distributors in the spring, which means they need to be rolled out the previous fall. If a publisher has a submission period, that will be outlined in its submission process or document.

Tin Whiskers Publisher is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). IBPA’s mission is “to lead and serve the independent publishing community by providing advocacy, education, and tools for success.” IBPA is a not-for-profit membership organization serving and leading the independent publishing community. Founded in 1983, it is the largest publishing trade organization in the United States. IBPA members pledge to uphold the organization’s code of ethics.

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