Final Checklist before Submitting

By Allison Carroll

Congratulations on surviving—and thriving—for another fantastic week of So You Think You Can Write. It’s time to cross that finish line and submit your manuscript!

But first, let’s make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

You’ve revised and polished your manuscript. You’ve done your research and targeted the perfect line for your work. And somewhere in the midst of all that, you’ve started planning or perhaps even launched your awesome, easy-to-use and informative author website.

Now it’s time for the gift wrap—very simple and no-frills gift wrap. Presentation matters, folks. Here’s a handy checklist to help you with formatting your cover letter and manuscript.

  • Contact information, including a valid email address.
  • Clearly stated title, word count and subgenre.
  • Brief summary of your book, focusing on hooks, internal and external conflicts, the plot and the emotional arcs of your characters. While you want to intrigue the editor, you should not use back cover copy in your cover letter. You want to be more specific and explicit than that.
  • Relevant bio information such as RWA membership, contest wins, other publishing credits, etc. If you don’t have such credentials, that’s ok! Do not use page space explaining that.
  • Clearly labeled cover letter, synopsis and manuscript. If you are submitting electronically, save each as individual docs or have one flow in to the other in one document with clear markers for each.
  • Use a standard font, font size, margins and line spacing.
  • Submit electronically. It’s free and the editor receives your submission instantly!

If you can check off these simple but important items, you will have the makings of a professional submission. You might be a fantastic storyteller, but that won’t matter if you make a poor first impression with the content of your cover letter and the presentation of your submission.

Still have questions? Check out the Live Chat on the DOs and DON’Ts of Submitting, today at 1:00pm EST.