Any author that wants to be taken seriously – or one that wants their work to be published – must treat submission guidelines of the publishing house they are submitting to, as gospel! Publishers are not only very busy, but they are often impatient. Every publisher is always looking for that killer manuscript, so they try and make it easy for themselves to find such, by creating guidelines on how to submit to them …

If you follow these guidelines, you ensure the following:

  1. Your script receives the attention it requires

If your script does not meet the minimum requirements of the publisher two things happen: they throw it out (often even without reading it), or they push it to the “Read Later” bin. And read later bin often becomes, “Do not bother yourself with this material” bin. And that is how your material does not get read.

  1. You ensure that you keep the publisher interested in your script

Publishers receive tons of manuscripts every day and if they find a script that does not meet their basic requirements, the likelihood of keeping the interest of the publisher is very low.

  1. You show respect to the publisher

You want to be respected as an author, you need to do the same. You are not asking for special treatment. So you cannot can submit whichever way you want (contrary to what the publisher wants) and still expect to get a response from the publisher.

  1. You win the publisher over by showing that you are interested in doing what the publisher requires in order to be published

You show the publisher that you know what they want, that you care how they want it and that you actually researched them to find out how they work, what they do and how they do it. It indicates to the publisher that you did your homework and you are almost ready to be published.

  1. By submitting exactly according to the publisher’s spec, you have actually put your foot on the door and you won the first hurdle

The second thing that the publisher now needs to consider is genre, writing style, subject matter and other technical-academic things. These are important as they are part of the publishing house’s repertoire. Some publishers do not publish poetry at all, others do not publish vernecular, other do not take motivational books or biographies etc. So it is important to send stuff that the publisher is interested in, in the first place.

  1. You have cut the publisher’s work in half

By typesetting accordingly – removing borders, or frames, fancy typography, photos etc – you have actually ensured that the publisher does not hire anyone to do this or he does not do this him/herself. Nothing is more annoying than a very good script – by way of genre, thematically, stylistically and otherwise – only to find that it does not follow the submission guidelines.

  1. Getting feedback is easier if you submit correctly

Since you submitted exactly according to the requirement of your publisher (or potential publisher), you can ask for feedback sooner than an author who just sent their stuff without meeting the requirements.

It is important to take the submission guidelines of the publisher seriously. There are basic guidelines for submission – for example – using simple fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial, 1.15 or 1.5 line spacing and standard indenting and so on.

Also publishers do not like borders and funny artworks in the manuscripts. I know that many authors want to apply their aesthetic and artistic skills on the book, but in all honesty, that is the work of the publisher and the design team. In many instances, the publisher will involve the author in creating and developing the layout and artwork for the cover, so spare all your energy and artistic acumen for then.

Borders, line art, avatars and clip art should not be part of the manuscript at all … these should be a separate file to be submitted for this purpose.


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