Monday, November 9, 2009

Ask the Editor About Submitting Manuscripts

Question: Which is the best way to send manuscripts to publishers? Email or snail mail?

Submitted by: Amber Rigby Grosjean
Author of Cursed Blood, Stolen Identity, and Spawn of the Curse (one more on its way)
Visit Amber's website and blog for more information about her books.

Amber, Thanks for sending your question to Ask the Editor. When it comes to submitting manuscripts, the choice is rarely the author's to make. Each agent and publisher/editor will have specific submission guidelines which they expect authors to follow if they want their work read. My own publisher is a good example. Five Star accepts mystery and romance/women’s fiction manuscripts only through its acquisitions firm, Tekno. Manuscripts must be sent as Word attachments to an e-mail, strictly formatted to Five Star/Tekno’s requirements.

Here are the links to the submission guidelines for agent Janet Reid and mystery publisher Midnight Ink:

Janet Reid, Literary Agent
Midnight Ink (publisher)

Although there are many places to find these guidelines, such as Writer’s Market, it’s always best to confirm you have the most up-to-date information by going to the agent’s or publisher’s website.

If authors fail to submit according to those published guidelines, it's possible their submissions will be discarded, deleted, or returned unread.

If you have concerns about the security of postal mailing versus e-mailing manuscripts, let us know as that could be a separate Ask the Editor topic.

Thanks again for submitting a question to Ask the Editor. We hope you visit The Blood-Red Pencil often.


Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog.

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  1. Thanks Patricia. You are so right. How to submit your manuscript and even the query letter is not up to the writer, but the agent or publisher. And all the guidelines vary.

    Straight From Hel

  2. It's funny. This seems like such a no-brainer question, but it is amazing how many writers forget, or don't take the time to find out, how a publisher wants a ms submitted. With all the new e-publishers and other small publishers cropping up, it is even more important now to make sure the ms is formatted and submitted the way they want it.

    Gone are the days when it was just standard i inch margins, indent f for new paragraphs and use your freshest typewriter ribbon. :-)

  3. "The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.

  4. I agree. I've been asked this same question which is why I chose it. I wasn't sure what else to ask lol. Some writers actually choose publishers based on how to submit their work so it is important to know those guidelines!

    Thank you!!!



The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.