Thursday, June 12, 2008

Submissions R Us

I have written my first picture book (rhyming) for children. It has received positive feedback, and I would like to find a publisher. I've created a dummy, and made a list of possible publishers, intending to send individual submissions and letters of inquiry, depending upon the guidelines. Now, I've been advised to go to Publishers and and let them do the legwork. What do you advise?
I don't know anything about that service. And I think I'd want to hear something pro or con from Preditors and Editors (eg) before I paid them $240. I've gotten some "submissions" that were clearly spam. I wouldn't want my work in the hands of services like that. Anybody have something reliable on publishersandagents?


Christine Tripp said...

This is a joke right, right??
Sadly I am sure it's not. The web site for that scam looks like a 10 year old set it up. Any adult would look at it and instantly know some idiot thought it up to make money off writers who are despirate and how don't know any better. They will email publishers and agents for $240??? Heck I'll email them for $100.
This is awful but it just joins the ranks of all the many preditors out there that hopeful authors encounter. Very sad.

Andy J Smith illustration said...

Those are some expensive stamps they have over there!

Rose Green said...

I'm sure any editor or agent getting your manuscript via this service will dismiss it for the spam it is.

Money flows TO the writer, not the other way around. Always remember that!! (Yes, legitimate agents make a commission--on what they've already SOLD.)

And the $240 aside--if you were applying for a job, which would give you a better shot at it: showing up yourself, or sending a total stranger to the interview in your place?

Yes, you are going to get tons of rejections. Especially with a rhyming picture book, I will predict. Also, if your illustrations are not professional-quality, or if you have hired your own illustrator instead of letting the publishing house do it as is standard, you will likely lower your chances by sending in a dummy, not raise them. This isn't to discourage you--just to let you know that it's normal. If you hang in there, keep writing, keep revising, and persevere, you'll raise your odds of publication considerably.

Your original plan--going through your research and sending off queries/mss packets to publishers who seem to be a match--is an excellent one. Good luck!

Wendy said...

Here's what I experienced with this place as an editor at Albert Whitman:

A couple years ago a number of email queries started popping up in my inbox. They were addressed to me and fairly professional in tone, but right away I wondered how these writers had gotten my email address, since we don't accept unsolicited submissions and queries by email and make a point not to publish our email addresses anywhere. The other editors here were getting them, too, and we noticed that all the emails had certain similarities in the form and greeting.

So I wrote one of these query writers back and I politely told him no thank you, and I asked if he would be so kind as to tell me how he got my address. No answer. I tried replying to a couple more queries and again, nothing. Were all these people sworn to silence, I wondered?

By the time I got to the third or fourth writer, I explained my concern that someone out there was giving writers misleading information. Finally this last one replied and said she'd gotten my address through a service called "," which is another branch of this place. She explained that she was told that all the contacts on the list she'd been given were open to receiving queries by email, but she was finding that this wasn't the case. She'd gotten some pretty irritated responses from editors.

I emailed the woman who appears to run "publishersandagents" and told her that we don't accept email queries. She said she'd remove us from her email database, and after that, the e-queries stopped for good.

We do have an open submissions policy, so people can send work to us without an agent--just as long as it's by regular mail (our submissions backlog is only a few weeks these days, so it's easier than ever). Anyone could have found out how to submit to us by looking us up in the CWIM. Not much "legwork" involved at all.

While doesn't appear that this place is an out-and-out scam, it charges an awful lot for something that you can do on your own. It’s also likely that by doing your own submissions you'll get better results, since you won't be ticking off editors and agents by contacting them through the wrong channels.

What Rose Green said was right—you have to just get in there yourself and do the agent and publisher research yourself. It will likely take several stories and many rounds of submission before you can sell your work, but that's normal, and it's all part of the learning process. Why pay $240 to learn nothing?

Anonymous said...

"I've created a dummy, and made a list of possible publishers, intending to send individual submissions and letters of inquiry, depending upon the guidelines."

Sounds to me like you've already done the legwork. Honestly, between the submission information available on publishers' websites and the lists available through SCBWI (membership $75)... why would you want to outsource the final, easiest stage of the process?

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would add to the comments here would be to no longer listen to the person who advised you to go to use the $240 service. I gave similar advice to a new person who came to our critique group this week who has copyrighted her manuscript already.

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