Only a couple of months ago I compiled a list of publishers to query. I made up a spreadsheet with details such as contact details, whether they accept e-mail or postal submissions and a link to their submission guidelines pages.
Today as I was polishing up a query letter to send out to one of the publishers I thought I should double-check their submission guidelines. I’m so glad I did, because some of their guidelines had changed drastically since my last visit. Their biggest change: previously they only accepted postal submissions, now they only accept e-mail submissions (postal submissions are now ignored). Imagine if I had simply gone by the details I had saved only few months ago – I would have been prepared to send my submission by post.
On double-checking another publisher’s guidelines I noted they are no longer accepting unsolicited submissions. If I hadn’t checked, I would have sent my submission and it would have been a waste.
The lesson here is to ALWAYS double-check the submission guidelines before you send, even if you think you know them already. Guidelines change, submissions close or open and editors/agents may leave. Yesterday the guidelines may have said to post your letter with your first three chapters to Paul Newton, but today the guidelines may say to e-mail your letter with a synopsis to Lisa Simpson or submissions are now closed until June.
And if you’re the kind of person to keep a spreadsheet or Word document with publisher details, make sure you update it regularly (and still double-check the publisher/agent’s website before you send).
3 thoughts on “Why You Should Double-Check Submission Guidelines”
Very good point. I’m glad you brought it up.
Yes, I’ve had this experience while querying agents. Guidelines are changing all the time…now, rather than keep submission guidelines on the spreadsheet, I just put names and websites. That way I have to view each set of guidelines before I query.
I’ve had a similar experience. Just this morning, actually. Excellent advice!