What I’m excited about

cactus bloom
A cactus in bloom in my yard.

After taking time off from submitting stories, I finally did it. I dusted off the story I wrote about my mom and submitted to two publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. Two so far.

It made me really happy to do that. The process has changed through the years. I used to mail my printed manuscript with a query letter and an SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.) Then I’d anxiously await for the publisher or agent to reply by snail mail. If I was lucky, I’d get a letter that was encouraging. Or, in the case of a novel, I’d send in the first three chapters and the editor would ask for more. I even got a few acceptance letters from magazines and newspapers.

The funniest thing was I did get an offer to publish my “mom” story. At the time, I didn’t think the offer was good enough. It was from a small publisher who said they’d do an initial run of 500 or 1,000 and see how it did before another print run. How I wish I would have said yes! That’s why I’m excited to try again, all these years later.

On the down side of submitting manuscripts, I’d get a form letter or postcard in my SASE with a generic phrase, “We’re sorry but your manuscript doesn’t fit our needs.”

Now, we submit by email or through a form on the publisher’s website. They have submission guidelines and say if you don’t hear back in so many months, they aren’t interested. You’re not guaranteed to get a response.

Doing more research on publishers, I renewed my membership in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I downloaded the market survey for small presses and discovered quite a few still use the old snail mail method with SASEs. I bet that cuts down on the number of submissions!

I received an email from one of the two publishers so far and it stated they are interested in my story and will give it careful consideration. I guess I passed the first hurdle. But, the email ended with “if you don’t hear back from us within two months, then we are passing on your manuscript.”

Eh, wait and see. In the meantime, I’m pleased to be back in the game.

What are your thoughts about submitting your writing?

27 thoughts on “What I’m excited about

      • Oddly, I got a very nice rejection letter yesterday from something I submitted in November. Do you think everyone gets nicely worded rejection letters? I can’t decide if it’s for everyone or that they really did appreciate my style

      • No I don’t think everyone gets nicely worded rejection letters. They took the time to get back to you and it wasn’t a postcard with boxes checked. 😊

  1. Interesting EA. I haven’t heard much about submissions in a while. It’s interesting to see how it’s changed. Yes, it’s speedier (i.e. email), but seems to have taken a step back. In the “old days,” at least you got a note saying it didn’t meet their needs. Now, you’re not guaranteed a response. Too funny. In any event, best wishes to you on getting published!

  2. How exciting! I’m so glad you jumped back in the game of publishing. Keep us posted on the progress. I sent off three submissions for Grow Damn It, one person wrote back immediately, the same day in fact, and said my manuscript wasn’t a good fit for him but he thought there was a place for it and recommended some publishers who were looking for my genre. So I sent it out three more times. It got picked up on day two, I sent in the whole manuscript and Reagan sent me a contract in two days. It was fast. I’m learning a lot about small publishers. Are you sending out entire books or essays on specific topics to magazines? Hugs, C

    • That is amazingly fast! I’m impressed! I’m sending out my children’s story about my mom I wrote years ago. I’m focusing on that for now. Some publishers accept picture book manuscripts unsolicited. It’s fun to see if it will be accepted or not. I have other projects in the works, but I’m not submitting them yet.

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