Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make When Submitting to Literary Agents & Publishers

hi I'm Anne Jeannette Pannell and I want to talk to you today about the top 5 mistakes writers make when approaching publishers and agents and then we're going to follow that up with five different videos on ways to do it right so one in no particular order one of the top five mistakes made is not spending enough time on the query letter now look if you go into google and google how to create a query letter you're going to find all sorts of advice out there and I would say if it's from an agent or a publisher it's probably really good advice we will go into depth into what to include in your query letter in another video but I want to just say here that this is your first impression so you want to spend time on it and you want to get it right because if you send off that email likely an email not a physical letter anymore you send that off to an agent or a publisher they will make an instant decision about whether or not to read any more and it can stop as soon as the first line it's so important that you get it right that's mistake number one another one is that writers aren't necessarily up doing a lot of research about food they're approaching so are you writing fiction are you writing nonfiction if you're running fiction are you writing John reflection like fantasy or sci-fi chicklet or sorry commercial women fiction I'm a huge fan of commercial women fiction what are you writing make sure you're approaching the right people for what you're writing there is no sense in spending time or energy for you to send your query to somebody who stated that they have no interest in your topic at all right so do some research there are some great websites out there agent query is one of them that can live what the agents are looking for at any particular time and whether or not they're even taking submissions at all they seek clue there as well so if there are six mistakes that's one of them not checking to make sure that this particular agent or publisher is actually taking submissions now another one is a personal sort of pet peeve of mine is that miners aren't necessarily spending enough time editing their work now I don't want to tell you that you have to edit it ten times before you send it out but you should not send out an unedited manuscript the three chapters that some might request need to be fully edited and that means a structural edit I have to copy edit and definitely approve free if your work is riddled with grammar mistakes typographical errors the agent of publisher cannot take it seriously and they will check it and it doesn't matter how wonderful the content is I'm serious your people it's really tough to get rid of every typo I promise you there are books out there in the market that are printed that still have typos in them but it is well worth your time and energy getting at least two other people to look through your work and at least get rid of those that are glaring okay this is your first and best impression and you may not get a second chance so don't have them chuck it because of typos edit your work the fourth is related to that one and I would love to see more writers have a qualified reader read through the manuscript first in helping them to edit it even if you're self editing it's really great to get somebody who knows what they're doing and this means it may not be close friends or family now you don't necessarily have to spend money on a high-priced editor at first if you don't want but there are plenty of writing groups out there or writing critique groups that you might join and you are very concerning about who you give your work to it's a very vulnerable proposition to send out your work but if you're ready to send it to an agent or publisher you are ready to give it to a qualified reader who can give you the kind of feedback that you need in connection with that advice about getting a qualified reader I would give your reader I set a specific criteria that you want them to read the manuscript to look for certain things whether it's topographic errors grammar error structure content do they understand what you're trying to say give them the specifics so that they give you the feedback that you want and hopefully not the feedback that you didn't actually want like I think this is a horrible topic anyway don't give it to somebody that has zero interest in reading it but likewise don't just give it to your mom because she's going to be nice to you though hopefully her job so my final big top five mistake that writers make when submitting to an agent or publisher is that they're not following the submission guidelines now if you've done the research and you found the specific agents or publishers that you want to submit to all of them have submission guidelines somewhere on their website I promise I promise I promise they do some of them are quite general or they just want specific details like your name your contact details and then they have a comment form where you just copy and paste your query letter into the comment box but they're not fine others have very specific things that they want you to do down to the the size of the font or the kind of fonts they want you to you whether they want you to submit a Word document or a PDF follow the submission guidelines if you don't your query is going to go studies within and we don't want that granted it would be miraculous for everyone that you send it to to love it although we can always call four fingers for that but you are really helping your case if you pay attention to who they are and the way that you want them to send it so if you take all those boxes you have a much better chance of rocking up to that blind date as you will with somebody who wants to read what you sent okay so I can't wait to get in touch with the next time and tell you specifics about how to tackle each of those five mistakes and make sure that your query shine again this is engine FNL you can head over to Anjanette Pinal calm and find me you can also find me over at storyteller – ink comm and I look forward to seeing you next time bye

3 thoughts on “Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make When Submitting to Literary Agents & Publishers

  1. I have a stupid question…

    Are agents subject to unedited/unpolished manuscripts and misguided queries that often? I understand that authors are looking to handle editing through a publisher, but surely the 100,000 words they've committed are worth their additional time proofreading and relevant queries.

    I've watched a number of agents' guidelines and all of them reiterate the need for careful presentation for best results. I guess I'm having a hard time believing that writers would neglect to do so.

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