Saturday, June 1, 2013

5 Tips for Submitting After a Writers Conference

Did you know that only 30% of writers will follow up after a conference? That's right. 30%. That means that 70% of writers who attended the conference and were asked to submit will NOT follow-up with the editors and agents who requested their submissions.

Which gives the 30% a great shot at being published, right?

So what are you waiting for? Submit. Submit. Submit.

Here are 5 tips for making submissions:

1. Make sure you've edited your submissions. If it's your novel, and it's going to an agent or an editor at a publishing house, you will want to pay for (or swap services with) a professional editor to polish it up for you. When a proposal comes across my desk that is full of errors, I don't even want to read the sample chapters that are included. I'm quite certain they'll be full of mistakes too. Make sure someone else (preferably a professional) looks at your story before you submit it.

2. Follow the guidelines!!! I can't stress this enough. When you neglect to do so, you present yourself to the agent/editor as lazy, careless, negligent, and a long list of other adjectives. Editors and agents have a lot of work on their desks at all times. Someone who follows the guidelines will have a much greater chance at making it out of the slush pile than someone who doesn't.

3. Make sure you have the correct name on everything. Find out which editor of the magazine you should submit to. Find out which editor at the publishing house works with your genre. Spell their name correctly. Nothing turns an editor/agent off more than finding someone else's name at the top of the cover letter they've received (or finding their name misspelled). Show you care, and you'll earn brownie points.

4. Make a professional impression. In the world of writing, a second impression isn't always available. If your first impression turns off one agent, they have friends in this business. Their friends are likely to hear about it. The same goes for editors. Always address them properly. I've received emails from writers who want to be featured on my website. They've neglected to address me: Dear Mrs. Morales, Hello Alycia, etc. Nothing. No greeting. They've proceeded to write the email as if I knew them personally and didn't mind misspelled words, incomplete sentences, and poor grammar. Needless to say, I didn't even consider their contribution. Be polite. Write a business letter as you were taught in high school English class. If you need help, find someone who knows how to do so and ask them to teach you.

5. Leave your contact information on your submissions, unless otherwise directed in the guidelines. The most important information is your name, email address, mailing address, and a phone number. That way, if the agent/editor loves your work and wants to reach you, they can.

What have you found important when making submissions? If you are an editor or agent, what other tips could you share?


  1. Wow, Alycia -- only 30 percent? Yikes, that's crazy. I love your tips and will put them to good use this month. I'll be in the 30 percent club :)

  2. This is a minority I want to be a part of! No more going with the crowd for me!

  3. I'm so glad to hear it, Susan and Tina! :) Let me know your results.


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