Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ineffective tactics

Publishing houses that accept manuscripts directly from authors have guidelines for how to send work to them. You'll find those guidelines on their websites.

If you choose to submit to them, read the guidelines. Then follow them.
Don't call an editor to say you represent yourself.
Much like a lawyer who represents himself, you'll have a fool for a client.

You don't need tricks to get attention.
You need good writing.

And after good writing, you need to present clear and compelling evidence you are not a yahoo.

5 comments:

Laura Martone said...

Although I intend to try for an agent first, if I strike out that way, I might have to approach editors directly. So, thanks for the advice!

Mira said...

Wow - I didn't even know there were publishing houses that accepted manuscripts directly. Good to know.

I wonder if they want you to get an agent to negotiate after the fact?

Or perhaps this is more for the smaller publishing houses.

Melissa said...

Not arguing with your advice, but it made me wonder... If an established literary agent wrote a book in a genre he repped, would he represent himself or seek out a different agent? If the latter, why? Solely for objectivity?

Jennie Bentley said...

Melissa,
not the same thing at all, but in real estate, when a realtor is selling his/her own house, he/she will often list it with another realtor. It has to do with objectivity, and with getting some distance. It's often easier to sell someone else's 'stuff,' and harder to be objective about one's own.

BJ said...

Mira, there are some large publishers, too, who accept non-agented works (Tor comes to mind) BUT they rarely find anything in their slush, and it can take over a year to get a response from them. There used to be a page on the internet (can't find it now) of why: offices FILLED with piles of manuscripts all over the floor and desks and shelves. This is why most large publishers require writers to go through agents. That way, the agents cull the slush and only show the publisher what he wants to see.

It *is* a good idea to get an agent involved if offered a contract with a publisher, if only to go over the contract and make sure it works in your favour. If not an agent, then a lawyer who is very familiar with this type of contract.