FOLLOW THEIR GUIDELINES
One of the quickest ways to receive a rejection is to send a publishing house something they don’t print. Sounds like a no-brainer, but this is one of the top reasons for sending a rejection letter. Publishers don’t hide what type of material they write. It’s usually front and center on their home page. And almost all publishing houses post their guidelines on their website (although you may have to dig to find them for the large houses).
If you truly want to get published rather than see how high you can get your rejection letter pile, you can do one, very simple thing that will go a long way towards meeting your goal: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Before putting together a list of publishers, take the time to go to each website. Make sure your manuscript fits all of the publishers requirements. If it doesn’t, then don’t waste their time or yours. Move on to the next one. By the time you finish, your list may not look like much, but you will have much better odds of receiving a request for a partial or full read rather than a rejection.
Seriously, even if your manuscript is the best-written piece the editor has ever seen, chances are that they’ll send you a rejection letter (although it may be a nice one full of praise for your fantastic writing) if it doesn’t fall within the boundaries of what they publish. So don’t even think of doing any of the following.
- Don’t send a horror story to publisher that only prints romances.
- Don’t send a 150K word saga to a publisher that limits wordcount to under 100,000.
- Don’t send flash fiction to a publisher who requires a minimum wordcount of 50,000.
- Don’t send a novel about a fur trapper during the French and Indian War to a publisher that publicly supports PETA.
Save yourself some heartache, plus some time and energy. I really is worth it to take the time to do your research and find out which publishers are looking for what you have to offer.
What, specifically, does Castle Gate want? Check out our Submissions Page to find out.
Can you come up with any humorous submission mistakes such as the last one listed above? Please share them with us in a comment.