Is my submission complete?
Why is this important? As editors, your complete submission gives us a better chance to know who you are and about what makes your book relevant in today’s publishing market. If you have not taken the time and effort to get this basic request right, our editors will be less inclined to take your work seriously, so please read the instructions and to ensure your submission is complete.
Even before we consider your manuscript, we want to know who you are and what about your life’s experience makes you uniquely qualified to write such a book. It helps to know where you live and about your background and experiences.
In the Author Query, we want you to basically pitch us about why your book will be interesting to us and eventual readers.
The Submission Synopsis should be more than a simple paragraph and should give us a good idea about the story, characters, conflict and message.
The Author Rights Statement tells us that you have the right to publish the book, about whether or not you are using a pseudonym, about whether there are collaborators or about whether it is a derivative work.
The Author Bio tells us who you are, because as editors, we are looking for thoughtful writers with serious goals for their work. We want to know why you write, about how long you have been writing and what else you have written. We want to know if you have been published (it’s okay if you are new to writing and have never been published) and about your goals as an author. We want to know your personal connection to the book.
And finally, we want your Complete Digital Manuscript (Final Draft) in the Microsoft Word format, and we hope you have taken the time to make it solid submission, relatively free of errors.
Is my manuscript clean, polished and edited?
Contrary to what many writers believe—although we are called book “editors,” it is not our job to “edit” your book, as book editors are typically adjuncts of publishing houses. The private professional who edits your book is called a copy editor or content editor, and the person who checks your manuscript before you submit it is often called a proofreader, or polisher. Of course, we do not expect your manuscript to be perfect for us when we get it. It is often that style varies from publisher to publisher and in various print and digital formats, so we are happy to invest resources to adjustments that involve style and minor editing.
We often receive, however, manuscripts riddled with obvious misspelled words, inattentive punctuation, poor writing habits and awkward sentences from page one. It is usually enough to disqualify a manuscript from consideration, but if we are intrigued by the story (as set forth in the synopsis) and the author (who is described in the bio), sometimes we will read on. If the story is a good one, but it simply needs editing, we will ask the author to re-edit the book or send it to an editor and resubmit a proper manuscript.
As serious authors, you should never submit a sloppy manuscript, no matter how anxious you are to get your book seen, and you should never assume that someone else is going to do your work for you. Sometimes you only get one chance. Self-editing is of crucial importance before you ever submit your manuscript.
And we realize that sometimes, at the end of the process, you have read over your work at least a hundred times and you can no longer be objective, let alone distinguish errors that you have read over (and automatically correct in your mind)—it’s a problem with all writers. That is why there are professionals—copy editors and proofreaders (editorial service providers) out there who are available to make certain that errors and distracting mistakes do not disqualify your manuscript from being even considered for publishing. After all, as an editor, would you want to spend your time reading a book riddled with errors and off-putting problems? It speaks for professionalism.
We realize that by the time we receive your manuscript, you have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in its creation, so we do not want to see such an investment disqualified from critical comment, appreciation or publishing because you failed at due diligence. In 70% of submission decisions, a clean, polished and edited manuscript makes all the difference.
Take the time to explore the Editorial Services that we offer at Parnassus Press through Rumpelstiltskin, our editing contractor. Feel free to compare the cost of our services with others you might find on the web and elsewhere. Our editors do an outstanding job for consistently 30-40% less than our best-priced competitors.
Why did I write this book and why am I submitting it to this publisher?
With all the options that authors, publishers and readers have today, the publishing business is highly-competitive. As traditional publishers, we have to narrow our focus on books that we believe will be commercially successful, and that is our goal for every book we publish. So, even before you submit your manuscript, you will want to understand what you are trying to accomplish. If your main objective is “just to be published,” you probably should not submit with us. There are plenty of companies out there who will publish you for free (CreateSpace/Amazon) and there are others who will take your money to do the same.
It is best to know yourself (your motive for wanting to be published) and to know your potential publisher to make sure you are a good match. This should not be difficult, as there are hundreds of publishers and publishing service providers who do excellent work. If you have read our submission requirements and want to know more, or if you want to speak with one of our editors prior to submitting, please contact us through the website. We are always excited to speak with serious authors.
Why would a publisher be interested? And why would readers buy my book?
Who is actually going to buy this book? That is the first question that we, as publishers ask. If the submission process with us goes beyond the mere acknowledgment, we are going to ask the question,
“Do you have an Author Platform?” In other words, “What advance work have you done to ensure that you have written a book that anyone would be interested in reading?” and, “Do you truly have an audience?”
If you have never heard any notion of an Author Platform, don’t despair. In spite of its paramount importance in the ongoing transformation of the publishing industry, there are many authors who do not realize that a vibrant, adaptable Author Platform is perhaps the best advantage that an aspiring or established writer can possess. You can write the world’s finest novel ever, but the effort is wasted if no one knows who you are or that it exists. Of course, if we publish your book, we will work with you to better develop and/or improve your Author Platform.
What are my long-term goals for writing?
At Parnassus Press, we are looking to develop long-term working relationships with serious writers who have specific career goals. Please share those with us in the Author Bio section of your submission.