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Appealing To The Reader


You’ve worked hard on your manuscript and are prepared to send it to a publisher. You realize your manuscript was not something the publisher asked for specifically, yet you feel it matches their stated purpose. You have created a one page, concise cover letter and have made sure it contains no spelling or grammar mistakes.

The line is long at the post office, yet you gladly wait to personally send the manuscript on its way. You watch as the heartless postal worker twists your package like a Frisbee into the ‘out’ bin. Quietly you walk back to the car and hope for the best.

A week later the package you prepared is added to a rather significant pile of other manuscripts that have been sent to the same publisher with the same belief that the work enclosed will make a solid addition to their line of book offerings.

You wonder from time to time how things are going, but you don’t want to disturb the publisher.

In the cold, callous world of publishing your manuscript winds up in the ‘slush pile’ – a somewhat irritating pile of material publishers see every day just waiting to be read, but the publisher has little hope of actually finding something worth publishing from within that pile.

The truth is the publisher or editor may never actually look at your work. That’s not to say that your work is not reviewed. You see, most publishers higher freelance ‘readers’ who will review the manuscript and weed out the ones that fail to meet the criteria of the publisher.

Most publishers are seeking a long-term relationship with a writer and they typically have very little need for new talent.

Instead of discouraging you, my hope is to instill the highest sense of professionalism in your work. Breaking into publishing is hard work so resist the urge to simply throw something together and send it on with the belief you’ve done what you could.

The ‘reader’ will have to see something different from the others that will allow them to pass your manuscript on to an editor. What is that something? A one/two punch of professionalism and passion.

Your story has to be solid and meet their guidelines, but the ‘reader’ needs to detect that beyond a good manuscript you have a passion for your work and that you are professional enough to make the impression the editor is looking for.

If done right, you not only impress the ‘reader’, but your manuscript may just get an audience with an editor while leaving the ‘slush pile’ behind.

Submitted by:

Scott Lindsay

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of FaithWriters (http://www.faithwriters.com) and many other web projects. FaithWriters has grown to become one of the largest online destinations for Christian writers. Please visit the website at: http://www.faithwriters.com





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