Information and Advice
Sending In Your Work To Publishers
Increase your chances of acceptance by following simple, standard procedure:
- Type or print on a single side of the paper, A4 size, double–spacing for prose, single-spacing for poetry with double between stanzas, exactly as you’d wish your poem to appear when printed.
- Give the piece a title, clip multi-page works together, include your name and address at the foot of the final sheet. Avoid files, plastic covers, stiffeners and fancy clips of any sort. For prose include a word count. For poetry don’t bother.
- Keep a copy, make a record of what you send where and when, leave a space to note reaction.
- For poetry aimed at periodicals send in small batches — six is a good number — with a brief covering letter saying who you are. Leave justification, apology and explanation for your writers group.
- If you are sending a collection to a publisher assemble 30 or 40 poems and submit with a note detailing previous publication and awards (if any) along with some brief biographical details about yourself.
- For prose, if it’s a short story, article or review, send the complete piece. With a novel send a synopsis and a sample chapter with a brief letter asking the publisher if they’d like to see more. For a collection of short stories send a sample pair along with a note detailing the extent of the complete book.
- Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope of sufficient size for reply and/or return of your work.
- Be prepared to wait some weeks for a response. Don’t pester. Be patient. Most publishers will reply in the end.
- Never send the same piece to two places at the same time (and this includes e-zine vs. hard copy. The jury is still out on whether or not the inclusion of a piece on your own personal web site actually counts as publication) If you’ve entered the piece for a competition then make sure you never simultaneously send it elsewhere.
- If you are thinking of sending your submission electronically check first. In a recent survey most journals and publishers said that they refuse to accept materials sent this way.
- Send your best. Work which fails to fully satisfy even the author is unlikely to impress anyone else.
This item is adapted from Peter Finch’s contribution to Macmillan’s annual The Writer’s Handbook, edited by Barry Turner. Palgrave Macmillan have ceased publication of The Writer's Handbook; the final edition was published in 2011.