Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Submit

Before y'all all start getting antsy about a marriage post showing up in the midst of a writing blog, let me reassure you.

This form of submission has nothing to do with lovingly leaving the last scoop of your dearly beloved's favorite ice cream in the freezer.

Actually, this form of submission might have you reaching for the ice cream regardless of if it's your husband's favorite or not.

I present to you: The Do's and Do Not's of Submitting Your Writing.


* Write a killer proposal. We've done several posts and lots of series on proposals, so be sure to check those out.

* Make a "poor man's copyright" before sending your work out. Print out your entire novel and your entire proposal, put them in a manila envelope and then mail them to yourself. When you get the envelope, do NOT open it. The sealed envelope plus the stamp from the post office is your proof that on this date, you "owned" the book.

* Write your name on EVERY PIECE OF PAPER leaving your desk, digital paper or otherwise. I cannot tell you how many editors and agents have mentioned this to me. If you are emailing something, handing it off at a conference or going with the old-fashioned snail mail, write your name on everything. Add it as a header in the right hand corner of every page of your proposal.

* Try to make some contact with the agent or publisher before sending them your proposal. Whether that's through a friend, at a conference or randomly meeting an editor on a family vacation at a dude ranch. (yes. this happened to me.)

* Research. Research, research, research where you are sending your proposal. If it's an agent, scour their website, read some of their clients' books, get a feeling of what kind of writers they represent. I'm planning on writing a post about exactly what to look for in an agent and a publisher before you send your proposal next week, so if you have any questions on this, leave a comment!


* Send a proposal to just ANYONE. As sad as it is, we don't live in an honest world. Do your research and make sure it is a reputable company.

* Be annoying. If you've sent your proposal to an editor or agent, don't pester or bug them for information on the status of your proposal. Wait for them to contact you.

* Just send your proposal to one person. Agents and publishers know that you aren't going to be just shopping your proposal to one person at a time. If they want it, they will act on it. In the meantime, send it out to as many people as you can find (particularly if you are at a writers conference).

* Give up. For whatever reason, God has given you this desire. See where it leads you. You might get published someday. You might not. I don't know what God has in store for you, but you are in this place for a reason. So figure out what it is. :)

Now. Start getting those proposals out! And pass the ice cream, please.


  1. Ice cream? Is Maya Davis the real you? ;)

  2. Haha - I've been pouring over your proposal posts as I work on mine finally! (I saw that you will send an old one if I ask...I do believe I'll be emailing you today!)
    You ladies are fabulous. Thank you for sharing and encouraging so much! :)

    Should I go ahead and mail myself a copy now even if it's not polished to submittal standards yet? I assume that would be wise before entering a contest, too, yes?

    1. I got your email and I'll be sending that to you today! My hard drive crashed, so I have to dig it out from my old backups.

      And yes, I would go ahead and send yourself the proposal. It's definitely a good idea to do it before entering a contest too. :)

  3. ::::Mint Chocolate Chip:::

    I'd pass the cookies and cream but I don't share that.