1. Make sure your proposal or manuscript is ready to submit.
2. Ask your writing community about their experiences with editors and publishers.
3. Research publishers online, in bookstores and directories, and on their websites to make a list of editors and publishers.
4. To prepare a list of editors, use directories, acknowledgments in books, and calls to publishers to verify that editors are still there. Email authors and ask them about their experiences with their publishers.
5. Follow publishers’ submission guidelines. Email a personalized one-page query letter to up to about ten editors at a time simultaneously, letting them know you’re contacting other editors.
6. Email or snail mail, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE), a multiple submission of your proposal or partial manuscript, following publishers’ guidelines and letting editors know that other publishers have it. If the first submission doesn’t work, use what you learn from the process to do the next submission.
7. Submit your work, impeccably prepared, following publishers’ guidelines.
8. Research when to expect a response, and if you don’t, follow up by email or phone to find out when you can expect a response until you receive one.
9. If you receive an offer, thank the editor and say you’ll respond as soon as you can. Contact other publishers who have your work, tell them you have an offer so you need to hear from them in two weeks. If you don’t, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth waiting longer or respond to the offer. You may be able to use it to get an agent. If you don’t, get help with the contract from writer’s organizations, the Web, books, or from an agent or intellectual property attorney at an hourly rate.
After you sign the contract, celebrate!
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