A word of advice on representation

A word of advice to all those authors out there who are gearing up to submit (to anyone, anywhere) in 2013:

Be sure you know who you’re submitting to.

I don’t mean that you need to know the name of the acquiring editor, although that’s a nice little bit of research. What I mean is, you need to know whether you’re submitting to an agent or a publisher.

These are different things. Very different things.

Sending a submission to a publisher that states that you “are seeking representation for X” is not a good thing. It says to the acquiring editor, “this person doesn’t care enough about their submission to change one line in the query email to make it appropriate for the venue.”

You see, if you’re submitting to a publisher, you’re NOT “seeking representation.” You’re seeking a publisher. Agents represent you and your work to publishers; publishers, well, publish. Writing that you’re “seeking representation” screams that you didn’t edit the email from when you sent it to an agent, or that you don’t understand the roles played in the industry.

It’s a small thing, but it’s a very telling one.

Don’t make that mistake this year! Read your query and submission emails over a few times before hitting the Send button, and make sure you’ve got everything spelled correctly, formatted right, and that you’ve updated the email to be appropriate to where you’re submitting. You don’t need to tailor each email for each specific publisher/agent/whatever – although, again, it’s a nice touch – but you DO need to make sure you don’t sound like you’re soliciting a publisher for an agent deal.

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