Unsolicited. That word strikes fear into the hearts of all first timers, and if it doesn’t, it should. There are many Publishing Houses out there, and many who will be open to your particular genre, whatever that may be. However, when you start looking further into the publishing process, you will quickly learn that the number of Houses who accept, and here is that word again, unsolicited manuscripts is miniscule. This, in my humble opinion, is our greatest obstacle and I have no idea how to get over it.
The only thing I will suggest is to keep a close eye on any of the Houses you are interested in, they may not be accepting unsolicited manuscripts now, but they could in a week, a month or next year. Just keep checking, and when the door opens jump in quick before it closes again. For example; one of the Houses I submitted to will be closing their doors to unsolicited manuscripts at the end of June. Had I procrastinated much longer, I would have missed this opportunity. You have to remember that no matter how talented you are, you are still going to need a bucket load of luck and determination to get published.
Another of the Houses Isubmitted to, requires a form to be completed, amongst other things. One of the questions was; Which children’s authors do you admire and why? I answered; Top of the list has to be J.R.R. Tolkien. He inspired me at a very young age and his work is timeless, also, J.K. Rowling…for not giving up. And that is the key point; believe in your work and DO NOT GIVE UP.
On a slightly different topic, I know that some Publishing Houses state that they do not like it if you send your manuscript to more than one publisher at a time. The thing is…there is often a long delay from the date you submit, to when the publisher gets back to you, if they get back to you at all, and if you followed this suggestion, getting published could take many, many years. One House that I have submitted to states that if I have not heard from them in three to four months, then I can presume they are not interested in my work. For all I know they may reject my manuscript in the first week. Is it fair to me to have to wait the full four months before I re-submit? I don’t think so. I hope that the Publishing Houses understand our conundrum, and will not hold multiple submissions against us. Let’s face it, we know our work is good, and If they miss out to their competition, that’s their problem.Saying that, I fully understand where the Publishing Houses are coming from. They receive thousands of manuscripts each month and it would be a never ending task to sift through all of the work. They then have to try to decide, from a single page synopsis, query letter and a few paragraphs, whether or not your work is marketable, after all they are in the business of making money. Again, no matter how talented you are, if they do not deem that your work will sell, they will not take you on.
Let us pray to the big publisher in the city, that we may one day find ourselves in print.