Writing 101: How to Submit an Unsolicited Manuscript

by Jill Nagel
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Writing 101: How to Submit an Unsolicited Manuscript

You’ve finished your novel. The long days/months/years spent perfecting every detail, editing, and re-editing have come to an end. You’ve combed through every paragraph and checked ever comma. You’re happy with it (or at least as happy as any writer is with their manuscript) and you’re ready to show your creation to the world. So, what now?

The face of publishing has changed a lot in the past few years. Digital publishing has taken over, vanity publishers are everywhere, and self-publication has even become a viable option. With so many avenues to consider, it’s hard for beginners to know where to start. How do you get your manuscript in front of the right eyes?  How do you get your story to the right audience?

You can’t deny the allure of self-publishing. You have complete creative control. There’s no one to say no and the profits are all yours. The risks are too. Editing, marketing, and distribution all falls on your shoulders. With traditional publishers, the burden is shared.  They can get you into bookstores and give you a marketing push. They’re invested, and sometimes just the name of a well-known publisher on your cover can help move units.  Here’s a list of established publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Do your research, follow their guidelines, and let your work speak for itself. Everyone wants to sign the next Stephen King or JK Rowling. Who knows—that might just be you!

Second Story Press: Second Story Press is a Toronto-based feminist publisher that is looking for manuscripts dealing with the many diverse and varied aspects of the lives of girls and women and focuses on Canadian authors.

ORCA Book Publishers Canada: Orca publishes children’s and books for young readers, and accepts submissions from authors and illustrators.

Red Deer Press: Red Deer Press is an award–winning publisher of literary fiction, non-fiction, children’s illustrated books, juvenile fiction, teen fiction, drama and poetry. They accept unsolicited children’s and non-fiction submissions.

Tradewind Books: Tradewind Books is a publisher of books for children and young adults.

Nimbus: Nimbus publishes books about Atlantic Canada in the categories : biography, art, history, science and nature, political and social issues, folklore, children’s fiction and non-fiction, sports, guidebooks, cookbooks, and photographic books. Their Vagrant imprint publishes Canadian literary fiction and collections of short fiction.

Tor & Forge: Tor is one of the most successful science fiction and fantasy publishers in the world. Forge publishes a variety of genres including historical fiction, thrillers, and women’s fiction. Their website hosts guidelines specifically for new writers.

Harlequin: Harlequin is one the most recognizable romance publishers in the world. They love receiving submissions from new talent. Their editors are on-hand to answer questions through their chat board and on Twitter.

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