Query letter, cover letter, book proposal, synopsis, outline, marketing plan, etc. What do all these things have in common? They’re all writing submission materials that may help or hinder your chances of getting published–frequently without an agent or editor even reading your manuscript. It doesn’t feel fair, does it?
But don’t stress! I’m going to share a few tips on how you can make your writing submission exceptional.
Literary agents Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty are pulling back the curtain and showing you exactly what goes on when an agent reads your query in the Slush Pile Showdown: How to Make Your Submission Stand Out live webinar. In their simulated slush pile, they will critique submitted queries live and give insights into which ones stand out and why, how queries could be improved, and common pitfalls to avoid.
Writers will learn how to craft a query that will get attention, what agents are looking for when they read, which rules really matter (and which are matters of opinion), and so much more! Plus, all registrants are invited to receive a written query critique!
3 Ways to Make Your Writing Submission Exceptional
1 – Follow the Submission Guidelines
Not all submission guidelines are created the same, which makes the submission process a little more difficult for those who like short cuts and cookie cutter approaches. However, the best way writers can sabotage their submissions is by NOT following the guidelines. After all, on the other side of those guidelines is an editor or agent who has figured out over time what makes their life easier.
Want to succeed in publishing? Follow the directions.
2 – Cater to Your Audience
When I say “your audience,” I mean the agent or editor who will receive your submission. What do they want? What have they accepted in the past? Take time to figure this out, and it will help you tweak your submission accordingly.
The guidelines may say they’re “interested only in good writing,” but they’re publishing history may paint a clearer picture of what “good writing” means to them. Find some common ground, but don’t make a direct copy. Instead…
3 – Differentiate Your Writing Submission
This is key to finding success in about any business, especially writing. Sure, your odds of publishing original poetry with a press that focuses on nonfiction biographies are pretty grim, but pitching a biography that’s already been done by the press won’t fare much better–unless you offer a reason why yours is significantly different.
In book publishing, this is called your USP (or unique selling point), but it’s applicable to all types of writing. What makes your writing unique will help you sell magazine articles, build blog traffic, and even carve out a niche in the world of poetry.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits the Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market books, writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, maintains the Poetic Asides blog, co-hosts a podcast for writers with Brian A. Klems, speaks at conferences, leads online webinars and tutorials, and so much more.
Robert is also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, a poetry collection published by Press 53. A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, he’s been a featured poet across the country at poetry events in Austin, Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, and more.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.
Check out previous WritersMarket.com blog content here:
- 8 Essential Elements for Writer Websites.
- How to Build a Mailing List to Find Success With Your Writing.
- 6 Blogging Tips That Will Pay Off Immediately.