Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Finding the Right Home for Your Story

“That’s a no brainer.”

I hate that sentence because what is a “no brainer” to some is a legitimate question for others.

They say there are certain things about the manuscript submitting process that are “no brainers.” Among these is included format (12 point font, Times New Roman or Currier, double spaced, and 1 inch margins). So, if you didn’t know those, note them for future manuscripts.

But, don’t note them too fiercely. Every publisher or editor is different. Read what they want before submitting. I came across a place the other day that wanted submissions single spaced. After my eyes popped out of my head and I figuratively shouted at my computer screen for twenty minutes (not really), I bookmarked the site for future use.

So, this Writer’s Wednesday, I’m here to talk about a very important “no brainer” of the submitting process.

--Submitting to the right people--

At first glance, you may say “no kidding.” If you did, you are one of those no brainer people, and I’m glaring at you. Be nice to the kids who are less knowledgeable. Submitting your work to the right place is very important. It’s so important that most publishers and lit mags put it on their submissions page—“If your work isn’t (insert what they are looking for), then please don’t submit it to us.”

So, if you have written a stellar science fiction novel, do not submit it to a publisher who deals in strictly erotic romance. On that note, if you have written a stellar post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, do not submit it to a science fiction publisher who is not interested in post-apocalyptic stories. The genre is right; the subject matter is wrong, and they will not read your manuscript.

Having trouble finding the right home for your story? I recently discovered a pretty neat resource in the form of Check out their list of lit and poetry mags. Each listing includes contact info, a basic overview of what the mag is looking for, and their website.

Regrettably, I don’t have a similar link for novel-length works as of yet. For those, I generally just Google “(insert genre) publishers.” I get good results. Try it, and if you have a super awesome link that lists them, feel free to leave it as a comment!

Another quick tip, go to your bookshelf, or, or your local library/book store. Go to the section that matches the genre of your book. See who published the books in your genre. Make a list, go home, Google them, and pick out the ones that most closely match what you’re looking for. I’ve done this. I accumulated nice lists.

Hope this is at least a bit helpful. Also, remember before submitting to revise and edit and write your synopsis. (The above are links to my posts on those two.)

Good luck in all your publishing endeavors!

P.S. How did I forget? Also check out Ralan and Duotrope, great pro market sites.

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