20 Submission Mistakes

There are many resources that provide great advice on making a good first impression when submitting your manuscript to publishers. On the flip side, here are some surefire ways to make a bad impression.

1. Submit your manuscript to a publisher that doesn’t publish that type of book.

2. Address your query to a different publisher.

3. Provide materials that are riddled with grammatical errors.

4. Refer to your book as a “fiction novel.”

5. Refer to your book as a “nonfiction novel.”

6. Compare yourself to Hemingway and misspell his name.

7. Decline the entire editorial process because your manuscript is already perfect.

8. Guarantee that your book will sell 100,000 copies an hour.

9. Declare that your book will make a great movie.

10. Relate how much your friends and family love your story.

11. Describe the writing contest you won when you were nine.

12. List your height, weight, birth date, and hobbies.

13. Mention how many publishers have already rejected your manuscript.

14. Include your critique partner’s tracked changes and comments in the sample chapters.

15. Attach a book cover that you designed yourself.

16. Attach a provocative photo of yourself.

17. If you’re asked to resubmit per the publisher’s guidelines, send your submission back without following those guidelines.

18. Call the publisher for the status of your submission.

19. When your manuscript is rejected, do one or more of the following: insult the publisher, demand an explanation, beg the publisher to reconsider.

20. Resubmit the manuscript a few months after it was rejected. Optional: rename the book in hopes the publisher won’t recognize it.

It’s hard to believe that these blunders were taken from real submissions, but we receive them all the time. Please avoid these kinds of errors and remember that making a good first impression is vital to the success of your writing career.

—The Editors

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