You’ve managed to finally finish your story. Over months, even years, you’ve poured your heart and soul into it. Foregone normal human interaction in favour to that of your characters. Edited, rewritten and edited some more. Now you’ve decided to submit your pride and joy to a publisher or agent.
But how do you get it in front of someone to make them love it as much a you do?
Lauren Parsons, Commissioning Editor at Legend Press gives five valuable tips to help your manuscript stand out and make it through the almighty slush pile.
What is the first thing an author submitting a manuscript should do?
It always pays to do your homework. When authors have researched the company, it saves both their time and ours. When reading cover letters, you can see who has taken the time to find out who to address the letter to, what sort of titles we publish, whether they have read any of our books, and where amongst them they could see themselves.
What are the main things authors should include in their cover letter to a literary agent?
It’s always beneficial to include any previous publications. All is relative whether it’s magazine articles, short stories, or self-published titles, as these show the author is experienced in the industry and passionate about publishing their work.
What should authors include in their synopsis?
We ask for a detailed synopsis of no more than two pages. The layout varies for authors, and this is something that is individual to them so we tend not to dictate this aspect too much. Whether you choose to write your synopsis as a summary, or a detailed chapter breakdown, it all depends on whether we can gather a succinct gist of the novel and therefore determine whether it would be right for our lists.
How should the submission package be presented to a literary agent?
A clean-cut submission is best – provide a framework of your submission, and leave it to the reader to find out the rest. At Legend Press we only accept unsolicited submissions via our online form which can be found at www.legendpress.co.uk
What is the most important thing about the submission package?
There is only one chance for you to provide a first impression so take the time to evaluate your submission before sending it out. In such a highly competitive industry, you want your work to be recognised for the value it holds, so the pitch is where a great deal of time needs to be dedicated.
Legend Press was set up in 2005 and is focused primarily on publishing mainstream literary and commercial fiction. The publisher is now the most successful independent in 30 years to start up with no capital and runs a range of successful across-industry initiatives and joint-ventures. The team also runs Paperbooks, Legend Business and does consultancy work for Kingston University Press.