Friday, June 18, 2010

Submitting a manuscript

Au-u-u-urgh! I can’t believe I’m going through all this again! Three books into a series of five, and my publisher goes dysfunctional. So far I’ve had five emails asking about AMMANON Book Four, The Journey. What can I say? It may not happen in our lifetime!

Deciding not to add a years-long ordeal of snagging representation to the years-long ordeal of getting a publisher, I am, at the moment, submitting on my own. Probably a mistake, but I’m getting old, you know.

Submissions are terribly tedious. One publisher asks for a cover letter to include bio and 3-paragraph synopsis, with the ms (manuscript) attached. Another wants cover letter with contact info only, with a 2-page synopsis and ms attached as separate documents. The next one wants background on the story’s conception and research, along with a one page synopsis as part of the cover letter. The ms, this time without page numbers, attached.

The only common standard (for the ms) is 12 pt. type, double-spacing, and the 1” margin all around. When it comes to headers and/or page numbers, they’re all different. So far they differ on only two basic fonts: Courier or Times New Roman.

Obviously, there’s no cutting and pasting on the cover letters and synopses. Very little, anyway. Dealing with such radical differences, there’s no choice but to write each from scratch.

Right now I’m doing a slash-and-burn to meet a desired word count for yet another. Gone is the glossary, map, and Epilogue of excerpts from Book Five. On the other hand, much of what I’m cutting from the narrative won’t hurt the story all that much. It’s just that the voice of my first editor still guides me: “Give me more description! Put me there! Let me see it, smell it, hear it!” And it is fun to do that. However, despite my classical literary writing style, I still prefer fast-paced action to lengthy scene-setting. So a lot of these cuts are making me bleed!

Still, this particular publisher is a favorite of several authors I admire. Getting past the Word-Count Czar may be worth it.

Where am I getting my list? I started with a site called Predators and Editors that both lists and rates publishers. Unfortunately, this list is pretty old. A tragic number of them went belly up in the downturn. I’m now shifting to the BEA’s roster of exhibitors. At least I can be sure they’re still in business!

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