I’m in a mood. The e-mails below are just a sampling of a few I’ve gotten lately. I’ve highlighted in red the parts that made me want to be snarky.
I don’t want to be rude (well, maybe I do want to be rude, but I will refrain because like I said, I’m in a mood and this is more about me than you). . . the answer to all these questions is DO YOUR RESEARCH.
I am just finishing a book I am writing. You can find the first 12 chapters below [link to website]. Can you give me some direction on an agent or publisher?
Snark: No. I don’t have time to go read someone’s sample chapters and then customize a response.
Serious: As to finding an agent, you can look at AgentQuery.com or QueryTracker.com. Make a list of who is looking for your genre. Then go to their website or look them up in Writers Market and carefully read their guidelines. Narrow down your list. Put them in order of who you liked most. Start sending queries.
To find a publisher, go to the bookstore or library and find books that are similar to yours. List and rank the publishers you’re interested in. Then do research online to find their submission guidelines.
Before sending anything off, check your lists against Preditors & Editors to screen out the bad ones. (Although most of the agents you find at the sites I’ve linked to and the publishers you find in the bookstores are going to be okay.)
Just a quick question, I have a fantastic idea for a [book], and I have never seen it done anywhere. A few years ago we had been in contact with another christian publisher and they wanted to publish [it]. When we started asking too many questions about the contract, they backed out! I would love to have an LDS publisher take a look at our idea and draft we have come up with, but I have no idea who is out there and the best way to go about it. If you have any suggestions, that would be great!
Snark: See, there’s this thing called Google and you just type in a search word or phrase (like “LDS Publishers”) and magical things happen.
Serious: When I googled “LDS Publishers” I found a link to to the Storymaker’s list of LDS Publishers near the very top. Scroll through. Visit the websites and see who might be interested in your idea. (A clue to interest: they have published similar but not the same.)
I think you would be a great publisher for my book. I can tell by your posts that you would probably like it. You’ve said to check the publisher website for submission guidelines, but I can’t find any guidelines on your site. Would you prefer I send an electronic copy (is WordPerfect okay?) or should I mail it to your P.O. Box?
Snark: No. No. And no!
Serious: This is an information only website. I do not accept manuscripts through my secret identity. If I receive a mss in the mail, I will throw it away. Same with e-mailed mss.
Snark: And WordPerfect? Really? I can’t even convert those files anymore. Go with Word or rtf. But don’t send it to me.
I feel better now.