Suzann Ledbetter

To Market We Go  

About Suzann
Book List
Essays and Articles
Novel Cuisine
Email Suzann

Essays and Articles

To Market We Go    Back to Essays and Articles

    If there's one caveat I preach ad nauseum, it's BE PROFESSIONAL. The person to whom you submit your work is a professional editor. That editor expects professionalism from writers submitting their work for consideration.

    Consider this: if you wouldn't dream of trying to sell a car without spiffing it to the max, how can you justify offering your precious prose for sale, sans polish?

    Signs of a well-scrubbed submission include: proper format; dark, easily-readible typeface; double-spacing; inch- wide margins on all sides of the pages; quality-weight paper (typically, 20# bond), and few (if any) hand-corrections in the text.

    Editors don't expect these things just because they're inordinately picky and inherently detest writers. As with most rules, there's common sense behind them. Statistically, the average editor reads about 2,000 pages per week. Faded type, single-spacing, cheap, almost translucent paper, etc., don't make that reading more difficult--editors simply won't risk their eyes even trying. Why should they? Would you?

    Beyond such mechanical maneuvers:
  • Know your market: be sure the publisher/division/imprint to whom you're submitting publishes work similar to yours.
  • Know your editor: address your query/cover letter to a specific editor and spell his/her name correctly. If you're not sure of whom or how to, call and ask.
  • Study general marketing techniques: Selling a manuscript is little different from selling Ginzu knives--you must get the buyer's attention in a concise, exciting way. Don't tell an editor yours is the greatest novel since GONE WITH THE WIND--show it. If you can't effect that level of salesmanship in a query, why would lead an editor to believe your book or article is such hot stuff?
  • If book-length is your dream, subscribe to Publishers Weekly, the trade journal of the publishing industry. If you really want to become a part of the writing/editing/ publishing world, PW is an invaluable road map.
  • Never submit anything "good enough." Odds are, it isn't. Put the Pledge to it; make it shine!

  • Back to Essays and Articles

Email Suzann:
Email the webmaster:

©2004 Team Ellingsworth