This is a post from the weareoca.com archive. Information contained within it may now be out of date.
To kick start the New Year for OCA writers, publisher and writer Andrew Oldham shares his advice about what to focus on when submitting work to publishers. His advice is direct and practical. If 2013 is the year you plan – finally, perhaps! – to approach a publisher with your novel, short stories or collection of poetry, Andrew’s five dos and don’ts make good sense and sensible New Year’s resolutions.
When you’re checking doggedly for typos for the fifth time, searching through your living room for the book you want to reference for wider reading, and highlighting the assignment brief to make sure that you have included absolutely everything, it helps to remember that all of this is good training for when you are ready to send work out to be considered for publication.
1) It is always important to have read the magazine or some of the back catalogue of the publisher you’re submitting to. The reason for this is simple: there is no way that Woman’s Own will take a hard boiled steampunk novella. Likewise, you shouldn’t be submitting long poems to a magazine that only publishes haiku. It is always important to know your market and to do that you must read.
2) If you are a poet, read contemporary poetry. If you are a writer, read everything.
3) Read submission guidelines for the publisher you’re submitting to. If it states no unsolicited submissions, it means it, and you will have wasted your work submitting to them.
4) Before sending off the work that you have spent so long working on, make sure that it is typed up, that it is saved in the right electronic file, and that you have included a covering letter or email with your contact details and a brief bio. Let the work speak for itself and do not send an interpretation of your work with your submission. Make sure you retain a copy.
5) Know the name of the editor you are submitting to. Be polite, be courteous, be professional. If you are rejected do not take it personally. Just because you are rejected this time doesn’t mean you will be rejected next time. Being a writer means hard work, a lot of reading, commitment to the form you write in and an attention to detail, everything rests in the detail.
Andrew is the owner of Andrew Oldham Publishing which includes the eBook publisher, Goggle Books, which published OCA tutor Joanna Ezekiel’s e-poetry book, The Start of Rain, in September last year. He is an award winning poet and writer for page and screen, and has worked as an editor for several UK publishers.
Photo credit: ;Patrick Gage via photopin cc