As Vintage prepares to re-open to submissions on April 1st, I wanted to pass along some tidbits to authors intending to submit, whether to Vintage or another publishing house. Much of these have been gleaned from my travels around the web and from talking with other editors of publishing houses.
1. Make sure your query letter is professional and within the body of the e-mail. Do not attach a query letter to an e-mail because odds are good it won’t be read.
2. Follow ALL of the publishing house’s guidelines as listed on its submissions page. Don’t assume your submission will skate through if you don’t do one thing. It might seem like a minor thing to you, but the rule is there for a reason.
3. Know what you’re submitting is what is being accepted. If the publishing house is only accepting fiction, don’t send them a proposal for a cookbook.
4. Only send your submission to the e-mail on the submissions page. Don’t assume that you can bypass the rules and send your submission directly to the editor-in-chief, executive editor, or marketing director. That’s a good way for your submission to end up in the round file.
5. Spell check everything before you send it, and this is not just for the query letter! The best way to make sure you’re sending in a polished submission is to prepare the query letter and synopsis, put them both aside for at least a day or two, then re-read them. When you review something with fresh eyes, you’re liable to see things that need to be changed or mistakes that need to be corrected.
6. If you’re addressing the query to a specific person, please use their last name only. Don’t be too familiar with first contact and never assume it’s okay to call the person responding to you by his/her first name.
It’s entirely probably you’ve seen all of these tips before, but repetition is the key to learning. Memorize the rules, and you’ll come across as the professional you are.