Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dos and Don'ts for Submitting A Manuscript to Imajin Books

As we approach our manuscript submission time (open March 15), we thought we'd share some important reminders and tips for authors planning to submit their works to us (or any publisher, for that matter).

So here are some Dos and Don'ts...


  1. …remember we read manuscripts every year, and yours must stand out and hook us immediately, so grab us with the very first sentence!
  2. …hire an editor BEFORE you submit your work to a publisher; there's too much competition not to submit your best work possible.
  3. …edit your work multiple times until you believe it's polished and ready. Then edit once more.
  4. …be sure you understand Chicago Manual of Style grammar rules—subscribe or buy the book. Refresh your memory on grammar skills often. Be sure you're using dialogue tags and beats correctly.
  5. …run your work through a spell check AFTER setting the language (US is most common, but if you're from UK and your book is set in UK, set the language to British English.)
  6. …read our guidelines, and give us what we ask for, including the genres we're looking for.
  7. …get to know the publisher, Cheryl Tardif, on Facebook and Twitter, and follow/Friend Imajin Books and Cheryl Kaye Tardif (author).
  8. …present yourself as a professional writer on your Facebook page—because we WILL check it. Same with Twitter.
  9. …include links in your first correspondence to your FB, Twitter, website and blog.
  10. …be patient, and give us at least 6 weeks to review your submission. We have a process that includes two beta readers, and this takes time. If you don't hear from us by then, feel free to email us.

  1. …send us anything BEFORE we're open for submissions. This includes agents. Thank you.
  2. …send us manuscripts outside of the ones we're looking for, which are listed on our submission page.
  3. …send us an unedited manuscript with poorly constructed sentences and dialog, and don't blame inadequate spelling skills on "dyslexia." The publisher at Imajin Books is dyslexic, and she knows the difference between that and poor spelling.
  4. …pitch your book to us as "perfect for anyone any age." Know WHO your target audience is and why they will read it.
  5. …send us a manuscript without a well-written 3-paragraph synopsis that reads like back cover text. Hint: READ back covers of other books in your genre, and fashion your paragraphs after them. Hint 2: Present tense!
  6. …present an unprofessional image online anywhere.
  7. …send us multiple emails pushing your book. If you've submitted it already, be patient.
  8. …expect huge 6-figure advances from us. We're a small, independent publishing company and we don't do large advances.
  9. …expect any publisher, including us, to do ALL the marketing for your book. A publisher can position your title for distribution, but authors sell books, and that's part of your responsibility. That's how you establish your brand. So be prepared to work hard and invest in your brand. It'll pay off in the end.
  10. …give up. If we turn down your book, it means it wasn't right for us. That doesn't mean it might not be right for another publishing company. If we give you any unsolicited tips or suggestions, which we might do on occasion, learn from them as they most likely will improve your work.
  11. ...tell us you aren't interested in a contract unless we accept your ready-made cover (or one you paid for) or edits by only your editor/friend/mother/aunt/teacher. And don't tell us you'll only reveal your novel plot/synopsis if we make a deal right now (on a book we haven't even read yet). This tells us you're an amateur and/or don't understand the publishing business.
  12. rude or demanding to a publisher, and don't burn bridges. Not only is this unprofessional, it'll bite you in the ass. Publishers usually know other publishers, and word gets around like a bad virus if there's a nasty writer on the loose.
While the Don'ts may seem harsh, please remember why we bothered to post them here. We're looking for professional authors who conduct themselves as such and treat others with respect. Believe me, if you could see some of the emails we get--and some of the questions we're asked--you'd understand why there are Don'ts.

Focus on the Dos! :-)

You can read our submission guidelines at

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