How to Prepare Your Book Manuscript for Submission

Are you having a hard time selling your manuscript to agents or publishers? Check out this article to find out how to give yourself the best chance at a book deal.

Aneta Torchia

2/27/20232 min read

When it comes to manuscripts, the competition is fierce if you want to get your book signed with a traditional publisher. But there are some tried and true things you can do to make your book stand out among the thousands of queries literary agents and editors get in the inbox every day. Check out these five to get started:

1. EDIT your work!

There is nothing more off-putting to an editor than a manuscript - or query letter - that is full of grammar and spelling errors, poor sentence structure, and confusing messaging. Proofreading your work is an extremely important part of your submission process. It is also often a good idea to have your manuscript and query letter reviewed by a third party or professional editor, if possible. If professional editing is not feasible, be your own worst critic and edit your work. Sleep on it. Come back to it the next day with a fresh mind. This will help you catch things you may have missed. Remember that your query letter is your first impression - make it count, and make it as perfect as possible! Don't give agents or publishers a reason to hit that delete button before they even get a chance to open your manuscript. As the mug in the blog photo states, "Write without fear. Edit without mercy."

2. Write a good query letter

This is easier said than done. A query letter should include specific elements to provide the exact right amount of information for the person reviewing it. Remember, agents and editors see thousands of these. It needs to stand out! A whole blog post could be devoted to this topic alone, but to start, make sure that you are introducing your manuscript in a catchy and memorable way. You can include an elevator pitch, or open with it to grab the reader's attention. Remember to include the genre, word count, and target market. The main part of your query should be devoted to an overview of the story. This is not a synopsis, but rather a few paragraphs introducing the book and giving the reader a taste for it (no spoilers). Some agents may ask for a synopsis separately (this includes spoilers). Also, include a short biography about yourself and include anything that may make you stand out as an author or speak to any expertise you may have. Remember to make the story the focus, and always address the reader with respect. This should be a formal letter, so write like a professional.

3. Read the submission instructions!


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