So, Lisha talked about how to format your email sample chapters and I must say, she is good! But, I said I would do a post about emailing your picture book submission so here’s a few more tips about email submissions. They aren’t really picture book specific because it’s basically the same no matter what the genre of the work you’re sending, so this post has tips is for all subbers. Woohoo!
- Write your cover letter in your word processing program to make sure you create a complete letter and can identify any typos. When we email we tend to be quick, and you want to take the time to make sure you get your letter right.
- Include in your letter that you are pasting the pages or manuscript into the email so the person you’re querying knows it’s there. For my picture book submissions I say something like, “you will find the manuscript (or TITLE) pasted below.”
- Paste* the letter into your email starting with the greeting. Do not put in the common letter heading used in paper letters with addresses and date. The date is automatically added to an email so it’s unnecessary. Wait until the end of the letter to add your contact information. After your sign off you can put your address and phone number. You can put your email address there too if you really want, but you are sending from that email (right?) so it isn’t necessary.
- Drop down a line or two. (You don’t want to be too far down from your letter otherwise the person you’re querying won’t see your manuscript and you don’t want that to happen.) Now copy and paste* your manuscript into the email. Don’t worry about the headers with your contact information or the page numbering. You don’t need it and the submission will read much more smoothly without it. As long as you’re following submission guidelines regarding the amount to send you’re good. Start your copy right at your title and byline.
- Lisha suggested typing END at the end of your pasted text. I have never done that with an e-submission, but my pieces are short. I like to think that it is clear that my picture book has ended by the text. I can see how this could be a good idea for people submitting partials. Either way is fine in my opinion.
- Check out ways you can add your links into your signature if you haven’t done that already. But be sure not to do too many. Sometimes emails with too many links can get sent to spam. I have personally found three to be just fine.
*Pasting. It can be a problem. Pasting words from a word processing program to email can cause formatting issues. The thing is, I use Word and Gmail. I copy and paste straight from one to the other without issue so… it all depends I guess. Do a check on your email, send it to yourself, and see how yours works. If you have issues refer to Lisha’s post to learn how to remove formatting.
A couple of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Do send each email for each submission separately, and of course, personalize it if at all possible. Email can make it easy to feel like you can skip things and be more informal but don’t. This is your business introduction to your work.
- So obviously, Don’t CC or BCC your email submission. Take it slow. Make each submission count. If you send out a carbon copy submission chances are you’re going to get an automatic rejection. Yes, of course you can use the same basic letter of introduction but for goodness sake, put it in a clean, new email. It really doesn’t take that much extra time.
- Do make sure you change the greeting and personalization in your letter each time you send out a new submission. It’s bad business, plus it’s just plain embarrassing.
- Do file each submission in a folder in your email system. That way you can refer back to your submission if you need to and you have exact dates things were sent. This can be really helpful in the long run when you start submitting to places multiple times. It’s great to be able to search an agent by name in your email, for example, and see what you have submitted to them before, the response, and how long it took for the reply.
- Don’t put the email address of the person you are querying into the To: box until you are absolutely ready to send your submission! You can avoid a lot of stress and embarrassment that way.
Being able to submit work via email is a great thing. It saves trees, ink, money, and time spent waiting for the mail to go through the post office. It can take a little figuring but it’s definitely easier than sending paper submissions in my opinion! Thanks technology.