Your Submission Must Be Electronic and Easily Readable
|Every editor needs an electronic submission.|
About a month ago, I received an author contact from one of my colleagues. That day, I sent an email to this author letting her know exactly what I needed and how to submit her material. A few days ago, I got a text from my colleague asking about this author. I said she had never responded to my email. Something many people forget is email sometimes does not get through. I reached out to this author again on email and picked up the phone to call her (rare for an editor or agent to call).
Later that day I began to receive her submission in hard copy on my phone—which I could not read. It was pages of a manuscript texted to my phone. I asked her to email it to me. The email came one page at a time with the hard copy attached—-many emails. I went back to this author and explained I needed a single file in an electronic form as an attachment.
In conversation, I learned this author had an electronic file for her manuscript and then her computer crashed. She lost the electronic files with her computer crash. She only had a hard copy of her manuscript. With this explanation, I understood why she was trying to get me the hard copy.
I told this author how for years, every publisher requires the author to send an electronic version of their manuscript or proposal. It is the only way to get your material into the consideration process with an editor or agent. Your computer crash and the fact you don't have the file is a barrier to getting your submission considered. If you have this problem, you can:
1. Retype your manuscript into a Microsoft Word file.
2. Hire a student or transcription service to type your submission into Word.
3. Forget about this book and start another one. This last point is not what I would recommend since the author has invested hours into creating her book.
I have no idea what this author is writing and whether it has any merit or not—since I did not receive it in a form where I could read it. I've reviewed thousands of submissions during my years in publishing and never seen this particular situation. I point out several lessons from it:
1. Get your manuscript to the editor or agent in a format they can read. I've met authors who do not type. If you don't type, then take a typing course or get a book or figure out your way around this barrier.
2. Before you complain to the company or editor, make sure the format of your submission is not the issue. The reality is every editor and agent receives many submissions. Sometimes things do get missed and we are not perfect in this process. Just make sure it is not your issue before you reach out to someone else.
3. Follow the editor's or agent's guidelines. If you don't follow directions, then you can't get considered.
4. Follow-up to make sure you are giving the editor what they need. We receive volumes of material and want to help but have limitations on our own time and resources.
As a writer, you are searching for the right fit for your submission. It will take effort on your part to find this fit. Good communication is important every step of the way. It took some digging on my part to figure out why I was not connecting with this author and her manuscript. I'm encouraging her to retype her lost manuscript and get it into the market for consideration.
Have you been skipping a publishing basic as an explanation why your submission is not hitting the mark? Let me know in the comments below.
Learn why must your submission be electronic and follow the guidelines from an experienced editor. (Click to Tweet)