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Writers Guide

Within this free advice section you will find a comprehensive step-by-step guide to agency submission and publishing - If all the following info' is too daunting, then take a look at our ready made packages -

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Writers' Guide

Preparing your manuscript for submission:

Remember this is your  first pitch for publishing, invest some time and effort at this stage, and it will pay dividends


Set your work in  Microsoft  Office, font  size 11 or 12.  Present your work on

A4 matt white paper using  double spacing  


Choose a legible font, not script. remember certain fonts are very tiring on the eye, if viewed over a long period - don't create a negative by being too clever - keep it simple


Write a synopsis.

Write a good synopsis and a seperate letter detailing your writing to date - if any, your reasons why this book would sell - eg one of a kind, no competition, it's a high volume sector of the market, a different angle on an established topic. In fact, anything that adds to the weight of your pitch. Remember you are selling yourself, don't fill your letter full of meaningless waffle, give them a reson to adopt you !


Lastly check and check again. If necessary, put the manuscript away for a week or so, then check it again, you won't believe how many errors you still have - it's called 'writers blindness'.


Selecting an agent:

There is a very comphrensive list of UK agents on this website, please feel free to download and keep as a check list. At this stage, it's probably worth investing in The Writers and Artists Yearbook or similar. This will detail not only the agenciy, but  also the preffered classification for their authors - eg, crime, travel, biography and so forth. Once you have found a couple of matches, try a cursory phone call to find out in more depth just what they require, and whether they  are still taking on new clients.


Sending out your manuscript::

Unless you happen to stumble upon a publisher who asks you to submit direct - then the general rule is - DON'T send it to a publisher. Try if at all possible to keeep with a literary agent. Ensure your work is set out as above, and  send only what is requested, eg if the agent only requires two chapters don't send the full book. Enclose a SAE as a point of courtesy and be patient - the book trade is currently overwhelmed with submissions, and in the current financial climate, agents and publishers are very picky.


Be patient and be brave:

There is no set time for a reply from either an agent or a publisher. In this state of limbo, weeks can feel like years, resist constantly phoning  - this will not act in your favour. Leave your enquiry about your submission at least a month, and when you do contact them, listen clearly to the answers. it is widely accepted that most authors send out multiple submissions. If you feel you need to do this, make sure the agent or  publishers aren't in the same group - for obvious reasons.


I've received a rejection:

Welcome to the club, it goes with the territory, there is barely an author alive today who hasn't received the dreaded NO ! including J.K.Rowling. Like a game of tennis, you either walk away and accept defeat, or lob the metaphorical ball back over the net. Most choose the latter course. We are a hardy breed writers, and you will very quickly develop a thick skin and self belief system.


I have tried and tried but I can't get an agent or a publisher:

You do have one option left, do as many authors have done and -


Self Publish

Don't think this is an easy option, but it can be a good one if you approach it with a degree of realism. There are basically two types of self publishing.


Option 1 is normally a complete set up package and all orders are serviced by print on demand - that is where the book can be printed in as little as a single copy if required. Check your package includes, full ISBN (international book code found on the back of most reputable publications), British Library deposit copies, and listing on all major on-line book outlets like Amazon & Waterstone's.

Don't rush, and ask for a proof copy before final print or distribution. Unless your particular POD publisher states otherwise, this form of publishing doesn't normally transcend to the high street bookshops.


Option 2 this can be either  print on demand or purchased stock (normally the latter), the biggest difference is your work will be listed through the main wholesale ditributors and the publisher will be able to advise you about discounts, stocking and some promotion. this is normally a more expensive route to retail, but can give a more proffesional finished product and high street exposure.


Please be aware, unless you are publishing for a family and friends, either route is going to need a promotional plan. In some ways publishing your work is the easy part - now you've got to sell it.


Promote Your Book:

This is a tough one, but with a good publisher, and some hard work in advance of your publication date, you can achieve results. talk in depth with your publisher, determine your exact date of publication and decide on a plan of action. If you are taking the second option, then your book will be listed with one of the two major wholesalers, this will enable you to approach the high street chains. Order a number of advanced copies for your local newspaper or magazine, they particulalrly like local stories - 'Local author hits the shops' etc. Be persistent, this is no place for the faint-hearted.


If you can afford it, most of the above promotion can be carried out by a good book PR company, again - choose wisely.


Finally - Good Luck !