HOW TO…let go of your manuscript and submit!

HOW TO…let go of your manuscript and submit!

It’s the child that never talked back. You’ve nurtured your manuscript for years, poured your heart and soul into it, wept over it, laughed over it and probably (guiltily) spent more time with it than with your own family. So why, when it comes to clicking save for the final time, is it just so hard to let go and submit…

What if it was all for nothing? What if after all those painstaking hours, nobody thinks your manuscript is any good? Yes, the fear of rejection might seem overwhelming, but allowing your manuscript to become dustier by the day in a dark, forgotten drawer is as good as failure anyway! Let your manuscript fly the nest, let it begin its own journey – you never know where you, and your story, might end up!  

And to help you on your way, here’s our checklist to letting go and submitting your manuscript:

1)      Dot the I’s and cross the T’s…

Do one, final read-through and make sure your manuscript is in tip-top shape! Spell-check was invented for a reason, use it.

2)     Check the guidelines!

Always, always read the submission guidelines! Make sure your manuscript is suitable – and if it isn’t, there’s no rush, make those changes.

3)     Word count…

You’ve been warned…whether you’re over or under, make sure that your word count is as close as possible to the preferred limit.

4)     Cracking covering letter?

Keep it snappy, but tell us – why does your story deserves to be heard? Have you ever been published before? Have you won any prizes? Is the story part of a series? We want to know!

5)     Sorry, your name was…

You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget to include your contact details! But how else will we get in touch with you. 

6)     A scintillating synopsis!

Your synopsis is a very important part of the submission process, especially if we’re only seeing three chapters. Think of it as an extended blurb, exciting, captivating and crucially, detailing your characters’ journey from beginning to end, but aim for a page or two – no more!

7)     The matter of formatting…

No, we’re not going to reject your manuscript if it’s written in Calibri rather than Cambria, but just make the text legible, sensible and clear – usually in 12 pt and double spaced.

8)     Stop fiddling!

No artist is ever happy with their work. Whether it’s the 2nd or the 307th time you’ve read your story, there will always be something that niggles. Save yourself from over-editing!

9)     Be brave…

Yes, it’s terrifying to finally click ‘send’, but the hardest part is now over! It’s time for your manuscript to spread its wings – and at least you’ve given it the chance.

10)  If at first you don’t succeed…

Try, try and try again! Every rejection is a learning curve, and one day it will all be worth it! Never, ever give up!

Happy writing, and happy submitting!

For more great tips, follow editor Charlotte Mursell and Authorlab on Twitter!