Come on over to the New Website:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Submissions and Solicitation

A couple questions were put to me after my recent post. I'm going to try to answer them fully in this post.

Question 1: Someone asked if writing credits from their childhood should be included in a query letter. Here are my thoughts and how I, as editor at FPP, feel about references to items published when the writer was a child:

If I receive a letter that states "I had several short stories published when I was a child and even a small book" that may grab my eye. But if that first statement is NOT followed up by "and I have continued to publish short stories through the years. My work has appeared in Lightning Flash Fiction, Blizzard Magazine, and Seafish Digest (note: these magazines do not exist)" If I don't see particulars on where that writer has been published I cannot determine if the magazines are credible. Also, notice that I made the writer say they have 'continued to publish short stories through the years'. A six-year-old is not going to write the same way as a twenty-year-old, so I need to have proof that the writer has continued to hone their craft. Most importantly, if a writer has indeed continued to write and get published in recent years, then I know that writer is dedicated and will work hard for my company.

On the other hand if I receive childhood credits and it ends there.... Then I must act on the evidence presented, which tells me they had a phase where they wrote, but time has proved they aren't dedicated to it. I would, most likely, pass that writer up for someone who has recent credits to their name.

Question 2: What is a solicited submission in contrast to an unsolicited submission? This is the first time someone has asked me this. The answer is simple, however. An unsolicited submission to a publishing company is when the publisher did not solicit/ask/invite the author to submit their work for review and consideration for possible publication. Unsolicited submissions of query letters and/or manuscripts are automatically discarded by publishing houses, unless that publishing house has specifically invited unsolicited submissions (which never happens with manuscripts, and rarely happens with query letters). Why? Because the author either did not do his research, or is trying to slip past the necessary steps to submitting his/her work.

Any writer who sends a manuscript to a publisher without prior invitation by the publishing house demonstrates a lack of knowledge and/or courtesy. By reading books on the submissions process writers learns what not to do.

When I approached AMG Publishers back in 2006 with my manuscript, I did so at a writers conference. I scheduled a slot of 15 minutes to 'pitch' my book to their acquisitions editor. Then, when I met with him, I pitched my book and waited for his yes/no. His answer was an invitation to submit to the company (making my submission Solicited by the acquisitions department). A solicited submission carries a coveted stamp of approval. For the next two years I went back and forth with that publishing house.

The most important thing that I did as an unpublished writer was to read and study on writing, and the publishing process. Too many writers send me query letters that tell me (by what they don't understand) that they have not done the necessary research. That is an immediate turnoff and I pass on to the submissions that show the writer is taking the time to do things professionally.


"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.

I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.