Hi everyone, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of the We Make Books Podcast - A podcast about writing, publishing, and everything in between!
This is a big day, not only is it the first week of Submissions September, but we have something much more important happening: Today is the release of next novel, Rekka’s Peridot Shift Trilogy, ‘SALVAGE’! It’s an amazing book and we’d love for you to check it out.
On the WMB side of things, this is the first week of Submissions September! Rekka and Kaelyn are bringing you six, (6!) episodes this month all about the process of submitting your novel. We have a lot of awesome episodes lined up and even some special guests. Here’s what will be coming your way for the month:
Week 1 (9/3/2019): Is This Ready For Other People to See?- Submitting Your Manuscript
Week 2 (9/10/2019): My Entire Novel in Three Hundred Words - The Dreaded Query Letter
Week 3 (9/17/2019): Agents of Literature, Part 1: An Interview with Literary Agent Caitlin McDonald
(9/18/2019): Agents of Literature, Part 2: Interviews with Agented Authors
(9/19/2019): Agents of Literature Part 3: Interviews with Agented Authors
Week 4 (9/24/2019):What is Going On Over There? - The Other Side of the Submissions Process
We Make Books is hosted by Rekka Jay and Kaelyn Considine; Rekka is a published author and Kaelyn is an editor and together they are going to take you through what goes into getting a book out of your head, on to paper, in to the hands of a publisher, and finally on to book store shelves.
We Make Books is a podcast for writer and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, concerns, and any words of encouragement or congratulations you want to send Rekka’s way.
We hope you enjoy We Make Books!
Kaelyn:00:00 Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the, We Make Books Podcast a show about writing, publishing, and everything in between, and also the first week of Submissions September.
Rekka:00:09 Yes, yes, and also.
Kaelyn:00:11 But wait, there's more, there's more. It is also Book Day for Rekka Jay!
Rekka:00:17 Well, RJ, Theodore,
Kaelyn:00:19 RJ Theodore.
Rekka:00:19 Wherever she is.
Kaelyn:00:20 Wherever she is. RJ Theodore, author of Salvage the second book of the Peridot Trilogy from Parvus Press, released today. Um, so yeah, big day for Rekka. Very exciting. How you feeling?
Rekka:00:31 I'm feeling oddly calm about,
Kaelyn:00:33 Well, that's because we're recording this before it's actually happening.
Rekka:00:36 Yeah. That's the truth.
Kaelyn:00:37 It's still, it's still, it's still happening.
Rekka:00:40 It's still coming up. Yeah. Gosh, yeah. Now, now you're getting me nervous.
Kaelyn:00:44 And so, uh, yeah. So today, today's records book day, very exciting.
Rekka:00:47 So if you are listening to this live or otherwise, you can go find yourself a copy of Salvage, um, and if you don't have the money to buy a book, you can request it from your local library, which also would be very -
Kaelyn:01:00 That would be fantastic. Um, also today, you know, maybe you could show Rekka a little love, tweet her some, uh, some congratulations, some support. Um, you know, if you listened to the previous episode as, you heard that uh book launch days are stressful.
Rekka:01:16 Stressful, a little weird.
Kaelyn:01:17 Anticlimactic, yeah.
Rekka:01:19 A little quiet, I work from home, so it's just like me alone in my office and nobody's blowing birthday noisemakers or anything.
Kaelyn:01:27 Well, now, guess what we're going to do. So, yeah. Anyway, we're, we're really excited for Rekka's book launch and um, we're also super excited for Submissions September. I'm real, I'm giddy excited about this.
Rekka:01:41 Kaelyn may be slightly more excited than I am.
Kaelyn:01:43 Um, yes. So, you know, we've been a teasing slash threatening this for awhile. Um, so we're doing four episodes and actually it's going to be five episodes, it looks like. Yeah.
Rekka:01:54 At least.
Kaelyn:01:54 In September. Um, so this is our schedule this week, um, you can see from the title of the episode, we're talking about preparing your submission. Um, we're gonna talk a little bit about getting your submission ready and then actually submitting, which is a lot of me ranting.
Rekka:02:10 There is a launch sequence. Please adhere to it for everyone's safety.
Kaelyn:02:13 Yeah, which is a lot of me ranting about submissions, guidelines. So, you know, just a, just a warning, get ready for that. Um, next week, September 10th, we're going to be talking about query letters, uh, their function, how important they are, how to some tips for writing them and what they should be doing.
Rekka:02:31 Yep. And also, you know, we, we talk about getting your stuff ready for submission in this episode. It doesn't mean yeet it.
Kaelyn:02:40 Yeah, sure.
Rekka:02:40 After this episode, keep listening.
Kaelyn:02:42 Keep listening.
Rekka:02:42 We've got more good stuff for you, the rest of the month.
Kaelyn:02:44 September 17th is agent's week. We're going to be doing two episodes of.
Rekka:02:50 Right. And that's, that's the one that's like, oh, okay. So one a week, but also a fifth one. So we've got a lot of great people who volunteered to come on and give us some of their personal experiences, including an agent. Um, maybe, you know, like if we have more than one at that, after we've recorded this, then we'll include more than one. But, um, so we're going to split that up into an episode up from the agent side. And one from the author side.
Kaelyn:03:15 Yes. So, um, I know that's something we're, we're really excited for that because that's something that a lot of people, um, are in the dark about.
Rekka:03:22 Yeah. And it's the big scary part because that's like quote gatekeeping.
Rekka:03:27 So this is the part where people start to get very nervous. This is the judgment before people even read your book thing.
Kaelyn:03:33 Yes. So then finally, September 24th, we're going to be doing an episode about what's going on on the other side of things where me, for instance, an acquisitions editor. What I'm doing when I'm getting submissions, what I'm considering, how I'm reading things, how I'm responding to them, et cetera. Um, so we still have some time for if you have a few questions for now.
Rekka:03:58 Like if you're listening now we can probably get your question in at the end of the month.
Kaelyn:04:02 Yes. So we were talking about, you know, potential six episode of if we have a bunch of questions doing an doing kind of a wrap up episode, um, you know, if there's any topics that people were particularly interested in or things they wanted to engage in more, um, you know -
Rekka:04:18 Or if we have, we muddied the waters for some reason.
Kaelyn:04:21 Yeah. Or if you're very confused. And, um, so, uh, you know, if we have enough we'll probably maybe do something with that.
Kaelyn:04:30 In the end of the month. So we're really excited for this. I um-
Rekka:04:36 She smiling's it's just like teeth all over the place here.
Kaelyn:04:39 Yeah. We were talking about, you know, um, but we do organize shows ahead of time and you know, plan out what we're going to say. And we were kind of mapping out for the next couple of months, um, what we're going to talk about. And there were a lot of topics related to submissions and the more we looked at it, we were like, maybe we should break these instead of breaking these up. We should put them all together. And then it's like, okay, well we've got about three or four episodes of material here, but then doing them every other week is kind of -
Rekka:05:10 It's like months and months of just one topic.
Kaelyn:05:12 Yeah. And it's also sort of disrupting the flow. So we thought that this would be good, you know, for four topics, four weeks submission, September. And I'm that way it's kinda taking you through a process and hitting different points of things that are going to happen. So, um, we're really excited to do this. We hope it's going to be entertaining and informative as always. And Yeah.
Rekka:05:37 And so here we go.
Kaelyn:05:38 Uh, hope you enjoy the episode, everyone and, and the rest of Submissions September and we'll see you next week.
Kaelyn:05:58 Rekka first episode, Submissions September.
Kaelyn:06:01 This is very exciting.
Rekka:06:02 It's, I'm a little distracted again today though.
Kaelyn:06:04 Is something happening?
Rekka:06:08 She forgot me.
Kaelyn:06:09 I never forget you! Guys Rekka's book comes out today.
Kaelyn:06:13 Book Two of the Peridot Shift trilogy. Salvage.
Rekka:06:17 Salvage came out today and so it's my book birthday. It's a big day. It's also the first day of Submissions September.
Kaelyn:06:24 Yeah. But real quick, let's go back to you. So if you're listening to this tweet Rekka some, uh, some love and encouragement @bittybittyzap. Yeah, she would very much appreciate that.
Rekka:06:34 I would not be, um, against the idea of getting some, some call outs on Twitter and stuff like that. Positive call outs. Um, because book days book birthdays are lonely for some reason.
Kaelyn:06:47 No, it's not. You're here with me. I.
Rekka:06:48 am here.
Kaelyn:06:49 Yeah. Um, cause we're recording this exactly on September 3rd.
Kaelyn:06:55 Yeah. Yeah. Um, but it is also, this is the first episode of submission September, which we're, so I'm, I'm really excited to do this and it's because I get to yell about a lot of stuff.
Rekka:07:06 Kaelyn's been like building up and building up and building up things to say about this for awhile.
Kaelyn:07:11 Oh, the thing is I tricked Rekka into this and because before she, she agreed and then before she knew it, she was like, oh, this is a manifesto as told through five podcast episodes. Yeah. Oh that's right, everyone.
Rekka:07:24 Potentially six.
Kaelyn:07:25 Potentially six. There's-
Rekka:07:26 She's already threatened there might be six.
Kaelyn:07:27 There's already, possibly six. There's definitely five.
Rekka:07:30 Why not 20?
Kaelyn:07:31 We've got, we have some really good stuff coming down the pipeline. Um, um, so yeah, today we're talking about preparing your submission, um, and getting it out into the world and seeing if anyone wants it. Now, um, I'm going to qualify real quick here that I am treating this the same as if you're preparing to submit or query to an agent or if you are submitting directly to a publishing house because these rules apply to both situations.
Kaelyn:07:58 And there are rules.
Rekka:07:59 So you know how you try to go out to high school wearing your really cool new like accessory or whatever and you try to get out of the house before mom sees you and then like you hear her call you back from the other end of the, she's like in the kitchen and you just like, can I make it in the door? Like, just won't open. This is like Kaelyn is calling you back from submitting whatever you were going to submit. She just wants to check just your ready.
Kaelyn:08:24 Look -
Rekka:08:26 It's out of love.
Kaelyn:08:27 There's a lot of moving pieces here. Um, so we're going to kind of break this down into two parts. One is preparing your submission, which is how do I know this is ready to be put in front of people. And the second is going to be submissions guidelines. And I apologize in advance for how excited I am to talk about submissions, guidelines.
Rekka:08:48 Near and dear to Kaelyn's heart.
Kaelyn:08:49 Yes. Um, so the first, the big question, how do I know this is ready? How do I know time to send this out to people?
Rekka:08:56 As a writer, I've been working on my story forever. I've been revising it a lot. I don't know if it's good enough. I mean that's why I'm sending it out cause I'm asking, please tell me, but this is good enough and you know, at what point do I stop fiddling with it and start finalizing it and send it out.
Kaelyn:09:17 So I kind of always think of this as, you know, they say like if you make a journey by halves, half of the distance at a time, you'll never actually get there. It's kind of the same thing. You're down to a millimeter. And if you keep dividing it, you're just, you never going to get there to a certain point, you do take a step back and say, okay, this is done. So when do you submit it? The answer that I know everyone's going to love is when it is the best possible version it can be.
Rekka:09:48 Another way I've heard this phrased is that when you can invest more time in it and the return on that investment of time is not significant. Like if you could make another revision pass, but if you were just like -
Kaelyn:10:04 If it's not going to help, that's when you know the half journey. You're not, you're not getting any farther at this point.
Kaelyn:10:11 Um, so we have talked about, you know, this, uh, episode two we talked a lot about, you know, pre-acceptance of your work and, um, then also working with an editor. Um, so hopefully we won't go too much into that. Again, probably people have already read it. If you're working with a freelance editor, if you've gotten notes, if you've had some Beta readers, um, you -
Rekka:10:34 Hopefully, it's not just you at this point. Y.
Kaelyn:10:36 eah. Yeah, I mean, you know -
Rekka:10:38 It might be, but like, you know, if you haven't found anyone who's interested in it, it might be that you need to work on your pitch and maybe you're telling them too much before they open it up. But, um, you can hire people to read it if you are really not sure.
Rekka:10:53 But chances are you're pretty confident in this thing. You're proud of it. You, you want to send it out.
Kaelyn:10:57 I hope so.
Rekka:10:58 Yeah, you should be.
Kaelyn:10:59 So that's the story state of things. When you're ready, when it is the best possible version it can be and you can't do much more to it right now. The other side of things from besides story is mechanics and style and grammar. When is that ready? Now I will say acquisitions editor. I do not expect to get submissions that are perfectly copy edited. There's a reason we have copy editors. It's because those that's hard to do.
Kaelyn:11:31 So that said, please use periods please capitalize. Please have a basic understanding of how commas work.
Rekka:11:44 Um, if you run this through like grammar check in word or you get Grammarly and you run through and you disagree with every suggestion, every suggestion, you probably need to reconsider your stylistic choices.
Kaelyn:11:59 Yes, definitely. So with knowing when your submission is ready in that regard, do basic writing checks, make sure that your grammar, punctuation, spelling is correct to the extent that you can get it. Like I said, no one is expecting a professional copy edit here, but watch for egregious errors. And I'm going to say something a little, I won't say controversial, the beginning of this is the most important part. If you can't, if you don't have time to comb through every single page of your manuscript, please for the love of God, at least do the first 20%. Um, because me the acquisitions editor, that's what I'm going to read first. And insider secret, I know people are doing that and I appreciate that. Now that said, if I get through your first 20% of your book and it devolves into, you know, misspelled words and abstract punctuation and you know, some really interesting uses of commas, I'm, that's gonna be a major red flag for me. So, but please pay extra special attention to the beginning of your book. Please, please proofread and closely check the first page of your book.
Rekka:13:22 And I'll say it again. If you haven't read your entire book out loud yet, do that. Like, that's,
Rekka:13:26 That's a good step to um, to making it more legible and definitely catching things that you haven't seen because you've looked at it too much. I think it's always important at least once in your books, you know, existence, um, to read it aloud. And if major changes happen, then it's always good to read new sections.
Rekka:13:45 So here's a really good place where you're going to catch stuff where you went, oh, I didn't even realize I did that. And it'll make your editor a little less mad at you.
Kaelyn:13:52 Yeah. Um, one of the, you know, I think I've mentioned this on, on this podcast before, but I use what I call the Colin Coyle method. Colin's, the publisher at Parvus Press. And he always says, your first sentence is buying me your first paragraph, first paragraphs, buying me your first page. First page is buying me your first 10, first 10 buying me your first chapter. You are trying to get me to keep reading. Now part of that is story which, you know, I, I can't help you or offer advice on that in this context, but I can tell you that your grammar, punctuation and spelling is something that I'm going to be paying close attention to there. So -
Kaelyn:14:32 Just please make sure, check the beginning of your book. That's very important. It's important throughout, but especially the beginning because that's the first impression you're making on me. Um, that's, you know, and you're going, well why is that such a big deal if you're going to get a copy editor? Because a couple things. One, it's setting the tone of your book. And I don't mean that in terms of story or style. I mean that in terms of what kind of a writer are you? Um, it's showing me that you're paying attention, that there's attention to detail and that's giving me a sense of what it's going to be like to work with you. Because if I'm getting a book through submissions and it's a mess in the first chapter, I'm going, well, this person doesn't care that much. I have other people here who put a lot of time and effort into getting this to a point that they want me to read it and this person just slapped some stuff together and sent it to me. That's, and it's wasting my time to now. So that's just gonna start off with leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
Rekka:15:37 Right. But then plus every strange choice or, um, you know, uncaught mistake is a potential like tripping point where an editor might get, it, might be enjoying the story, but then they get popped out because like the sentence doesn't actually finish and, you know, go straight to the next paragraph, um, without, you know, the second half of the last sentence or something like that where you go, oh wait, and then you're out of the book, you're back in your room and you're wondering if you want to keep going.
Kaelyn:16:06 I've had submissions where, um, I've had repeated paragraphs one right after on the first page, first page, repeated paragraphs. I've gotten ones that have really bad spelling errors in the first sentence. And it's not like they fat fingered a keyboard here, you know, like I've seen that and it's kinda like, alright, they were obviously just, you know, doing one last check through, accidentally leaned on the x. You know, it's, that's, that's fine. Um, but like first sentence spelling error is not, you know, that's not, it's not a good look for you to start with. Um, so please, you know, check, spend some time and do this. I know it can be boring. I know it can be a lot and I know it can be mind numbing,
Rekka:16:54 But if you don't want a publishing deal bad enough to put this effort into exactly. Because you're going to be doing this a lot. Like there are more edit versions to come.
Kaelyn:17:05 And that's what I mean when I say this is showing me what you're going to be like to look at. Because if I'm your editor and most any editor, I would hope you're not getting away with anything.
Kaelyn:17:17 Um, if I put a note in your manuscript and you ignore it, that's going to be a problem. So it is a, it is a first impression. Your first page is trying to hook the, the editor, but it's also making a first impression. Um, so please pay attention to these things. Um, again, especially the beginning of the book, especially your first sentence. Um, because it does, you know, it's not like, oh well, whatever. It's just one little thing. No, it is showing so much about and what you would be like to work with.
Kaelyn:17:52 It's very important please, I get hundreds of submissions every time we open for submission. So if it's a matter of the first person who couldn't be bothered to spellcheck their document
Rekka:18:05 And spellcheck is on by default in most cases, if it's giving you a red squiggly line, consider you spelled it wrong.
Kaelyn:18:11 Yes. Well assuming you know it's actually a word and not something -
Rekka:18:15 Right, yeah, I know we're talking genre fiction. So you know, the spelling of your characters name may always get a red squiggle, but that doesn't mean like turn off your perception of red squiggles. Like scan the documents, see what else is, you know, coming up as an error.
Kaelyn:18:29 Yeah. So if it's a choice between someone who couldn't be bothered to spell check the document and someone who clearly put a lot of time, work and effort into being careful about this, guess who I'm going to be more interested in working with?
Kaelyn:18:39 Um, I will say, you know, and a big thing at Parvus is we're very into getting good stories. But if it's a good story from someone, that's going to be a nightmare, we don't want.
Kaelyn:18:51 Um, a big part of this is figuring out can we work with this author? Do we want to work with this author because this is my time and my hours out of my life. So I'm not going to put that into something with someone that I don't want to work with.
Rekka:19:08 And there is a certain percentage of your decision that's going on, gut feeling. And so these kinds of obvious disregard for your time,
Kaelyn:19:17 Oh yeah, they're massive red flags.
Rekka:19:18 Massive red flags, and they're going to send your gut feeling.
Kaelyn:19:23 Exactly. Um, so your book is in the best possible state it can be You've spelled checked it, other people have read it, you're ready to go. So we're going to do more on a querying and how you find these places. Um, but, and again, for the purposes of this, we're lumping publishing houses and agents together.
Kaelyn:19:47 Um, you query an agent, you submit to a publishing house, but it's tantamount to the same thing.
Kaelyn:19:54 So what you're going to do is look for people that are open for considerations. For agents they'll say, I'm open for queries for publishing houses, they'll say, we're open for submissions. The first thing you want to do is do some research on this house or person.
Kaelyn:20:10 Look at what they're interested in and where you will find this right off the bat is in their submissions guidelines,
Rekka:20:19 Right. Yes. Most of the time they will tell you exactly what they are not looking for and if it's in that list it means they are sick to death of it. And you are no exception to that rule.
Kaelyn:20:28 Yeah. Your book is probably not so special and interesting and unique that it's going to change their mind.
Rekka:20:34 Right. So if they say no zombies and no werewolves, no, vampire romances is just -
Kaelyn:20:39 Just don't.
Rekka:20:40 - don't, and you've written that, don't, don't go for that.
Kaelyn:20:43 Um, the other thing you should be doing though is looking at either, you know, other authors that the agent represents and the kind of stuff they write or in the case of the publishing house, the other things they've published. And just kind of see like where you would fit into this.
Kaelyn:20:58 Do your research on these things. It's really important. Especially I would say, especially with publishing houses, you know, check them out, make sure that you know, this isn't some kind of predatory vanity press. Um, and with agents, um, good agents by the way, if you know they're interested in working with you, if you ask them, you know, can I talk to some of your other clients? They'll have no problem with that whatsoever.
Rekka:21:22 Because they don't want you to talk to other clients, you probably don't want that agent.
Kaelyn:21:26 That's a big red flag right there. Um, so, but submissions guidelines, what this is going to be is kind of two parts. One is what I'm looking for and what I'm not looking for, like the kinds of things that we're publishing. And then the other is, here's how I want you to get your submission together in order to present it to me.
Kaelyn:21:46 I think people do not take these seriously enough.
Rekka:21:52 Or it looks like a big overwhelming bit of text. So they just do the best they can. And they have a manuscript that they um, they have made sure is in a standard manuscript format and they just throw it on over.
Kaelyn:22:04 And why do they like what's so special about them? Why do they want it in this format? Because they're the one who's doing this and they get to say so, right?
Rekka:22:10 They get to say so and they probably have a good reason. Like this is worked out for them in the past. It makes their job a little bit easier and makes them less cranky when they approach the submissions, which is exactly what you want.
Kaelyn:22:21 But I will say their reasons for it are none of your business. If that's how they want this, then -
Rekka:22:26 It's not up for debate.
Kaelyn:22:27 It's not up for debate. And if you want to submit to them, that's how they do it. Um, I have had people write to me and say, well, I really don't want to do this because, and my answer is I don't care.
Kaelyn:22:40 You know, like I write them back and go, well listen, you can submit however you want, but if you don't follow this submissions guidelines, there's a very good chance that this isn't getting looked at.
Kaelyn:22:48 Um, so the other part of the submission guidelines are going to be do this, do this, don't do this. I want it in this format. Um, for publishing houses, I know for us we ask for a query letter and then your entire manuscript.
Rekka:23:05 Which is not 100% of the time common.
Kaelyn:23:09 Um, it depends. Yeah. You know, some, uh, I know a lot of agents now are that used to be a thing. Agents wanted your first a few chapters and a lot of them now are saying, I want your entire manuscript. Um, and this is kind of going into how it's easier to transfer digital files. Before agents didn't want your entire manuscript. They didn't want a hundred pages. They wanted the first few chapters.
Rekka:23:31 Right, because these were arriving in a mail room.
Kaelyn:23:32 Exactly. Now it's, you know, there's um, you know, you have like a submissions manager and it's really easy to go into. Um, we ask for, you know, your entire manuscript. I think a lot of publishing houses that do open submissions, we'll ask for your entire manuscript. A lot of agents are asking for entire manuscripts now, so if somebody asks for your entire manuscript, send the entire manuscript. One of the reasons that we do this is I want to know is this done?
Rekka:23:57 Yeah and does it end okay?
Kaelyn:24:01 Yeah, that's another -
Rekka:24:01 I mean, you may not make it that far.
Kaelyn:24:03 But well, if it's something I'm strongly considering, then I -
Rekka:24:06 You jumped to the end.
Kaelyn:24:08 I want to read it and you know, at least get an idea of where it's going, make sure it doesn't completely go off the rails. Um, but that's a question. You know, like when I, every time we open for submissions, I get at least a dozen or so that are like, here are the first five chapters of my book. And it's like, well, yup, out the door. But also the big thing is I'm wondering is, is this finished? Is this all you've written of the book? I'm not going to wait a year for you to finish writing this. Um, there will. So that's one thing, you know, they're gonna say, I want to these things, I want to query letter, I want the entire manuscript, I want a little bit of a bio from you. Maybe you know, that kind of stuff. Then there will be other guidelines with say a word count. Um, Parvus we have a 60,000 minimum for novels.
Kaelyn:24:59 And again, I constantly get emails going, mine's at 45. Is that okay? No, it's not.
Rekka:25:06 It's not 60.
Kaelyn:25:07 And is that less than 60?
Rekka:25:10 There's your answer then.
Kaelyn:25:10 No, it's not. Okay. Please don't go into this thinking I'm special.
Rekka:25:19 Truly, I am the exception to this unnecessary rule.
Kaelyn:25:23 Yeah. Mine's 45,000 words, but it's a really solid book and I think you guys should definitely take a look at that. And what that's saying to me is I do not want to take a look at this and I don't really want to work with this person. Yeah. Um, pay attention to the submissions guidelines. If they say they want anonymous submissions, make sure you have that.
Kaelyn:25:46 You should have a version of your manuscript with all of your personal information scrubbed from it. Well how do they know how to get in touch with me then?
Rekka:25:54 Their system is set up.
Kaelyn:25:55 Don't worry about that. That's when you, you know, for us, for instance, our submissions manager, you have to register your new username. It's um, so we'll find all your information in there if we need to. We'll go look it up by manuscript ID and be like, okay, this is how I get in touch with this person. Don't worry, they'll figure out how to get in touch with you. They've done this before. Um, read the submissions guidelines, follow them. This is the easiest, silly thing you can do to immediately get yourself knocked out of consideration is not following the submissions guidelines. Why is that, Rekka?
Rekka:26:33 Because if you want to have a professional relationship with a publisher, you need to show them that you are professional. And the easiest way to do that right from the start is to follow the submissions guidelines and give them exactly what they're looking for and nothing they aren't. And also, you know, just not proving that you're going to be difficult at every stage of the process.
Kaelyn:26:57 Exactly. It's.
Rekka:26:58 Speaking of being difficult. Hey, as a publisher, will you sign an NDA before I send you my, my manuscript?
Kaelyn:27:06 Oh God. Yeah. Um, here's this is, I am not sure, [laughs] Rekka's watching me like make like very exasperated facial expressions and like -
Rekka:27:18 I can't see past your hands what youre expression.
Kaelyn:27:20 Like that are just like covering my face. Like, I don't know where this paranoia comes from. And in some cases that's the only way I can.
Rekka:27:33 Somewhere there's an urban myth or it's probably happened. But somebody sent a manuscript off to somebody, they said, no thank you. And then a book came out that was awfully similar. So that author of course assumes that it was stolen and maybe, you know, like I said, there's probably cases where it did happen that way, but an NDA isn't going to stop the publishing house from doing that anyway. This is why you research a publishing house before you submit.
Kaelyn:27:54 Yeah. I mean if, if that happens to you, then you've got amazing legal recourse because in this day and age, everything is digitally tracked.
Rekka:28:03 So that it's not like you're sending off sheets of paper, they just tear your name off the top.
Kaelyn:28:10 Um, don't make ridiculous, outlandish requests. If anyone emails me and says, can you sign this NDA? I'm not even going to respond to them.
Kaelyn:28:20 That's like, and that's telling you how difficult they're going to be right off the bat. And plus that aparent level of paranoia is going to pervade through the entire process.
Rekka:28:28 But also it's showing me I don't trust you.
Rekka:28:31 Why? Like hold on, why do you want to work with me?
Kaelyn:28:33 Right. Um, and there's a lot of trust that goes into what's gonna come next. Yes. And it's setting, well, I can't say it's setting a bad tone for a relationship because there isn't going to be your relationship at that point, but you really need to reevaluate what you're doing., if you think that everyone you need to send your book to your manuscript to, it needs to sign an NDA.
Rekka:29:02 A publisher sees so many books and if they have an open call for submission, they're looking to buy books. So if you have a great book, they're going to buy it from you. They're not going to steal it from you.
Kaelyn:29:13 Yeah. Because I mean alternatively we're just going to publish it as from this publisher? Who's going to be the author. So do I take it and do I take it and give it to another author? What would be the point of that? It's so don't, don't be obnoxious. I like, that's the only way I can come up with to describe that is that's borderline obnoxious. I'm sending these sort of things, making demands of the publisher and look, the power dynamic here is definitely a little weird. And if you're a writer, not great because the truth is you don't have much if you're doing an open submissions call. So don't send NDAs to people. Um, but yeah, and back to Rekka's point. This is showing me what it's going to be like to work with you. If you can't follow a set of directions that doesn't bode well for the time, money and investment we're going to put into you. For agentss it's the same thing. They're going to spend a lot of time trying to shop you around, talk you up, get you the best deal possible. And if you're going to make their lives miserable, you're maybe not someone when they want to be having as a client either. So the submission guidelines are there to make my life easier, but they're also there to show me a little about you and show me how you function. Show me if you can follow directions.
Rekka:30:35 And one thing I, I feel I need to say is like we make it sound like, you know, don't be difficult, don't whatever. It doesn't mean you're going to set up an expectation that this publisher can walk all over you. What you're showing them is your competence. So if you are competent enough to follow submissions guidelines in the first place and you're competent enough to write a good story that they want to buy, they will also expect that you are competent enough to stand up for your rights when it comes to negotiating contracts, et Cetera, et cetera. So don't feel that by not asserting yourself with, you know, various, um, you know, like standing your ground sort of mentalities at the beginning of this that you are going to end up like being the doormat for this publisher. That is not, that is not what we're trying to set up here. We're trying to set up a great working relationship
Kaelyn:31:22 And I will take this a step further and say, I'm not saying don't be afraid to ask questions if you have a question, um, you know, email them and just say, Hey, I'm, you know, what's best for me to do with this sort of thing. Um, now that said, before you do this, you should try to figure out if your answers in the submissions guidelines.
Rekka:31:43 Cause it's probably in the submissions guidelines.
Kaelyn:31:46 Um, one thing that I'm a little bit of a gray area about is like, well I read in your submissions guidelines that you're not taking things with werewolves in them, but my werewolves are in space and it's Scifi.
Rekka:32:02 So if you don't understand that, they're like talking specifically say about urban paranormal romance and it's not that clear but like, you know, clarify. But.
Kaelyn:32:14 And I would also say, you know, if you want to email them, that's fine. Um, and to be honest with you, there's a good chance, you're not going to get a reply back. Um, but you can also put that in your query letter.
Kaelyn:32:25 And you know,
Rekka:32:26 Just in a query letter -
Kaelyn:32:27 Yeah. We're going to talk about query letters next week and that's a good place to kind of make any sort of conditional kind of stuff that you want everyone aware of. Like, I know this title werewolves in it, but it's werewolves on Mars. That actually might make me go. Huh. All right. I'll take a look at that.
Rekka:32:46 Right. So, yeah, maybe not asking the question about like your specific story, but the questions about the submissions guidelines themselves.
Rekka:32:55 Send an email and say like, um, I'm looking at this email and I think there might be a typo in your like email address or something like that because it doesn't match the domain name, like, yeah, you can write an email about that.
Kaelyn:33:08 Just to clarify or you know, just to make sure like this is, um, I'm going to go on a little short tirade here right now, I apologize. When asking questions like this again, keep in mind how many emails and how much stuff is going on. Please take the time to actually compose an email. Um, I don't know if everyone, I think most people probably feel the same way with this with me, and I don't know if this is me being overly fussy, but I hate when I get emails that are just, hey, so like what about this thing? And that's it.
Rekka:33:45 Yeah. Like keep in mind that no, this is not your official submission. This is probably talking to somebody who might review your submission as a professional corresponds.
Kaelyn:33:53 This is not, you're not sending me a text or a DM. This is, hi Kaelyn. You know, I'm so and so. I'm, I'm interested in submitting to you. I just had this one question because I'm getting ready to submit and I don't want to get disqualified for something silly,
Rekka:34:10 Right. I,
Kaelyn:34:13 I don't know if it's just a pet peeve of mine if it's just, you know, something that really sets my hackles up is when I get emails that -
Rekka:34:23 It's like one line and it's right to the question and it just comes off as rude and demanding.
Kaelyn:34:28 Demanding is exactly that, right? Like, hey, tell me about this. Like, no, first of all go read the submissions guidelines second, like take some time and compose an email for me. You know, I'm not saying this has to be, you know, the equivalent of the Queen's invitation.
Rekka:34:43 I mean, this isn't a query letter itself. You don't have to worry too much about it, but just be nice, you know, like -
Kaelyn:34:48 Like you would any other professional setting,
Rekka:34:50 To Whom It May Concern if you don't know who you're writing to, exactly. And say I'm reviewing - like, here's what I'm doing, here's my question. I appreciate your time and answering it.
Rekka:34:59 And sign off professionally.
Kaelyn:35:01 It doesn't need to be paragraphs. Please don't make a paragraphs. Um, but think about, you know, if you were interviewing or applying for a job, same thing. This is a professional setting.
Rekka:35:09 Let me tell you people still, you know, I've interviewed people and I have still got emails like that.
Kaelyn:35:13 No. And I mean, I'm sure you know, there's, it's, it's systemic of, you know, the online, it's symptoms of the culture, unfortunately. Um, but that is, that's another thing that is gonna make me go like, oh my God, this person, why do, why would you send this to me? Um, so just be conscious, be aware of this as a professional interaction.
Kaelyn:35:38 So that's getting your submission ready. Um, do your research, do your spell checks. Um, talk to people that you know, can maybe point you in the right direction and follow the submissions guidelines. It is the smallest thing you can do to get yourself removed from consideration unnecessarily.
Rekka:36:03 It's really surprising what a fight people will put up when it's not that much effort.
Kaelyn:36:08 Yeah. And one thing I will say also is, um, when I say research, especially publishing houses agents as well and especially publishing houses is check for context. Yes, maybe what you're writing falls within the submissions guidelines, but make sure it is actually something that you think they'd be interested in publishing. Um, can I tell a story that's slightly inappropriate?
Rekka:36:35 I mean we can cut it later or if I, if I go, you know, I don't like this story.
Kaelyn:36:39 I got a submission once that was an epic, you know, high epic fantasy and it was, you know, very sword and shield like, um, I have no, I don't remember anything about what it was about because all I remember is within the first two pages I got lengthy graphic description of three different men's penises.
Kaelyn:37:07 Extolling the virtues of each of them. And, and I'm reading this going, this person is not a bad writer. And this sounded like this was maybe an interesting story. I, but no.
Rekka:37:20 However I'm done.
Kaelyn:37:21 I'm burning this, I'm going to print it out just so I can burn it. Um, so that's just another thing.
Rekka:37:28 So know your audience.
Kaelyn:37:29 No, that's exactly. Yeah. Know your audience. And that's a good thing to keep in mind while researching publishing houses, if they don't seem like they're interested in having stories with graphic descriptions of male genitalia crammed into the first 300 words the book,
Rekka:37:48 I mean maybe pick up one of their other books and see if that's in there.
Kaelyn:37:52 Yeah, yeah. I mean, if you're gonna, if you're going to go for something then like that, I mean one may be don't, but two, you know, make sure -
Rekka:37:59 There's an audience for it somewhere, you've just got to look a little harder.
Kaelyn:38:01 Exactly. And you know, so be, be aware of that kind of thing. So, um, you know, that's, I think that's a good.
Rekka:38:08 We can end on the penises.
Kaelyn:38:09 On the penis story. Cause I don't know where else to go from there.
Rekka:38:14 There's no where to go from there.
Kaelyn:38:15 No where to go from that.
Rekka:38:17 Mic dropped, podcast is over.
Kaelyn:38:19 We're done. Good luck everyone. Uh, no. So that's um, you know, that's prepping your submissions on next week. We're doing query letters.
Kaelyn:38:27 Um, I'm excited for that one too.
Rekka:38:28 Yes. Query letters is a more artistic expression of following the submissions guidelines because -
Kaelyn:38:33 Well for you, for me it's, you know, okay, I've got an agenda.
Rekka:38:36 Okay, fair. Alright. So up next week there's a tease.
Kaelyn:38:42 Next week Kaelynand Rekka duke it out over query letters.
Rekka:38:45 And again it is next week because for submission September we are doing weekly episodes, maybe even more depending on how things go. So, um, yeah, look forward to that and let us know if you have any funny penis submission story is or otherwise.
Kaelyn:39:00 Yeah. Like, you know, um, so we're recording a lot of these in advance, but you know, we did talk about, we'd mentioned in the previous episode, we did talk about, you know, we got some questions and stuff. We'd be very happy to do a wrap up episode. Yeah. And kind of maybe if there's a few topics, pick those and kind of talk about, flush them out a little more.
Kaelyn:39:18 Um, yeah, we're, I'm having such a great time with this [laughs] Rekka's giving me a look right now because I must have like Harley Quinn like giant crazy eyes right now. Um, cause I am just giddy over getting to, uh, getting to talk about this stuff. So, um, anyway, uh, thank you you for listening. We'll see you next week. In the meantime, you can hit us up on the socials as usual,
Rekka:39:42 Twitter at @WMBcast, patreon.com/WMBcast, Instagram @WMBcast. And of course you can find wmbcast.com and listen to all the old episodes or if you are new, you can go back and find some of your new favorite episodes.
Kaelyn:40:02 Thank you everyone for listening. We'll see you next week, which that's exciting to say.
Rekka:40:06 Oh my gosh. Like don't get used to this.
Rekka:40:08 I don't think we can sustain this pace, especially with the cost of the train fare over here. So thanks everyone for listening in and next week: Query letters,
Kaelyn:40:17 Query letters. We'll see you there. Bye.