Directions: Instructions given, often for a reason, such as to make life easier.
In the case of a writer or illustrator looking to submit their work it is, of course, those all-important submission guidelines that are your directions on what to do. Agents and editors who have them online and/or in market books have created guidelines that work best for them. Yes, I said FOR THEM. Your work may be the next mega-seller but at the query stage you are one of many vying for attention. It is your job to make it easy for those you are submitting to to consider your work.
I wear a lot of different hats and have seen some things when it comes to direction following and I can tell you this: If you follow directions it will give you an edge on much of your competition. MUCH.
That’s right. A lot of people either don’t pay attention to or choose to ignore directions for whatever reason. But submission guidelines are important! What can following them do for you?
They let the person you are submitting to know you…
- cared enough about them to do some research
- care enough about your work to research who you send it to
- are a person who can follow directions which may therefore make you a good person to work with
Following submission guidelines makes it easier for the agent, editor, or art director you are submitting your work to. You instantly take a step onto their good side (or at least don’t step directly onto their bad side) when you do what they ask of you when introducing your work and yourself.
The person you want to submit to has different guidelines than others? It’s inconvenient? No one said this was going to be easy. Querying well takes time. But you can do it! Sub It Club is behind you all the way.