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Unfortunately, most publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts; meaning that they will only review manuscripts submitted through literary agents. So, what is an unpublished, non-agented author to do?
The process of getting your book in front of the right person at a publishing house requires research. Review in depth the targeted publisher, scope out the appropriate genre editor’s name. If you’re unable to access the specific editor’s contact information from their website, note the genre of your book in the subject of your e-mail to the general submission e-mail. Follow their submission guidelines. Sometimes, authors get lucky, the subject catches the eye of an Editorial Assistant, and they peek at what you’ve sent. While this approach has a one in a million chance of happening, when you’re seeking a publisher you have to try every angle.
A similar process as above can be applied to seeking an agent. Do your homework, first. If there’s one thing that editors and agents despise it’s receiving unrelated genre/topic manuscripts than what they publish and/or represent. Don’t waste your time or theirs and with persistence, you will get in the door. Considering that agents are publishers’ partners in selecting which books to bring to market, agents are inundated with manuscripts. Be patient, the review process can take months. However, persistence gets results; the best approach is assembling an over-the-top proposal.
There are some exceptions to the rule in pitching your book to a publisher or agent. Some publishers will accept non-agented manuscripts at specific times throughout the year. Others may be represented at writers’ conferences where writers have limited access to editors in order to submit a synopsis of their manuscript. Entering writing contests, whether you win or not, may present an opportunity for a publisher to review your work and while you may not be the winner of the contest, you may have something of interest to the publisher who is on the panel of judges.
Ultimately, your writing must stand on its own. In all things, don’t get discouraged, the crème always rises to the top and you will find the right publisher for your book.