How To Make A Compelling Submission To A Publisher

Writing tools

Ten Tips To Get Your Manuscript In Front Of An Editor

If you’ve put in all of the hard work necessary to write a novel, take the time to create a compelling submission that a publisher will want to read! Make sure you include the following in your proposal.

Cover Letter

Capture the attention of your reader and include a “hook” (one sentence that creates interest in the book) and a brief synopsis, concise enough to give a sense of the story but with sufficient intrigue to prompt an editor to ask for a full manuscript.

Short Synopsis

Give the publisher a brief, one page overview of what your novel is about.


Tell the publisher about yourself. List previously published books and articles, related work experience, awards, or special degrees. If there are any sales figures for your book, include those as well.

Author Marketing Contribution

An author’s involvement in marketing is very important to a publisher. It’s a large investment to publish and market a book, and a publisher will want to know that you’re willing to work with them to make it a success. Write a detailed outline of what you have already done to help market yourself as an author, and your upcoming book. Mention contacts you have and marketing plans you’ve already made (appearances, radio or television interviews, etc.). This outlines your platform as an author – the audience you’ve already built that has an interest in you and your writing. Your publisher will undoubtedly present you with some plans of their own, but it is a good idea to demonstrate your creativity and show that you are thinking ahead. If you are planning a launch party, a blog tour, or a media blitz, let the publisher in on it!

Market and Audience

Let the publisher know you understand your audience. Describe the target market in details (their size, their habits, interest in this book, what they read, what other media they’re interested in such as radio, TV, and websites). Do your research and present accurate facts and statistics.

Comparable Books

Let the publisher know you’ve done your homework. Include four to five novels that you see as similar to yours (state the similarity and why the book would interest the same audience). The suggested titles don’t have to be a big sellers, but do include detailed information so the publisher can do their research (full book title, author, and publication date).

Detailed Synopsis

Describe the storyline of your book in several pages so the publisher has a solid understanding of plot, character development, etc, as well as your personal writing style and approach. Include details on your book such as word count and structure.

Sample Chapters

The sample chapters you enclose have to be your best work and represent your voice and the story in its best light. You must start with the first few chapters rather than a sporadic selection. Make sure this submission is your strongest work, as it is from this reading that an editor will request a full manuscript.

Thoughts On The Publisher

You have chosen to submit to a specific publisher for a reason, whether it be their genre focus, mandate and mission, or past published works. Take the time to become familiar with each publisher to whom you submit, and explain why you chose them out of the many options available. A publisher may be pleased to learn that you have educated yourself regarding their house, and see potential for you to care about it as much as they do.

Read The Submission Guidelines Section

This tip may seem obvious, but many authors overlook this part on a website and this oversight can make the difference between your manuscript ending up in the right pile or not!


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