Plight of the unpublished author
IN her column Localise last week, Daphne Lee’s topic about submission of manuscripts was rather interesting.
I am guilty of bombarding publishers with my manuscripts. I have just finished my fifth children’s book, and although the last three manuscripts have never been sent out, my first was accepted by two publishers. However, I turned down their offers when I was asked to help finance the cost. Since then I have been looking for a “home” for my “babies”.
As for submissions, from my observation, most guidelines are vague. Synopsis, sample chapters, and a brief bio about the author is what most publishers ask for. We are encouraged to submit it online, too. One time, I got a reply from an agent that they weren’t accepting submissions, even though it was clearly stated on their website that they were.
One editor told me that my work did not “suit her list”. When I asked what list she was referring to, she said that on their website they state that they accept children’s books of every genre simply to avoid any risk of missing an exceptionally good book by a new author.
I guess at the end of the day, for an unpublished author, it is still about bombarding – or rather, knocking on every door available.
Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors On How And Why They Do What They Do is an excellent book about writers’ experiences prior to getting their big breaks, and they have written about submissions, too.
Adrian T Penang