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3 Simple Ways to Get Your Manuscript Rejected

Posted by Ophelia Maynard on September 21, 2010

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition, 151,700 people identified themselves as writers in 2008. That’s a lot of competition for the limited number of writing positions and publishing opportunities available. With more and more people attracted to this profession, competition is expected to get even more fierce in years to come. Writers need to find ways to stand out amongst the throng.

Still, many writers don’t put forth the time and effort to eliminate the initial barriers that will keep them from getting published. The following list will give you ideas to make sure you end up in the rejection pile. The information is geared toward novelists, but freelance writers, essayists, and others will find the information helpful, too. With so much competition, doing the following makes it easier for editors and agents to separate the good from the bad and provides more opportunities for other writers to succeed.

First, do not have your work proofread. Editors love to get work riddled with grammar mistakes, misspelled words, and typos.

Not really. Read your document from beginning to end, and even when you think there is nothing else that can be done to improve it, read it one more time. Have someone else who is not related to you read it. You should always get an unbiased, honest critique of your work.

Second, send them a book they don’t represent. Agents and editors won’t toss your manuscript or shred your query letter because you sent them work they don’t represent. In fact, they’ll read what you send because they have so much time on their hands and will be impressed that it’s obvious you didn’t do your research.

Yeah, right. Do your research. Make sure you’re sending the manuscript to the editor who oversees that genre, and send agents only books they’re interested in representing.

Third, do not follow the submission guidelines. This is one of their favorites. If they request the document in Times New Roman, RTF, send it in Courier 8 as a Word doc. If they ask you to mail it, email it. Don’t worry about the 151,699 writers who can follow directions.

Of course that’s not true. Always, always double check the submission guidelines before you send your manuscript. It could mean the difference between having your manuscript read and having it tossed in the pile of rejects.

Freelance Assistance, LLC offers an unbiased, honest critique of your work. We do line by line editing–whether it’s just the first three chapters or the entire manuscript. Writers also benefit from our research services. Don’t have your credibility questioned. If you don’t have time to do the research, let us do it for you. Send us an email to find out how we can help you become a more successful writer.


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