A System for Submitted Manuscripts

March 2006
by Diane Tinney

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Publishers
trying to wade through piles of manuscripts while juggling phone calls and
walk-ins from hopeful authors sometimes lose sight of a crucial task: managing
the submitted materials. What we’ve learned about that in the past four years
is summarized here. I hope it will help other new publishers and give more
experienced publishers something to think about.

Creating Submission
Guidelines

This means communicating your
mission statement to the public and letting writers know what you want to see
(entire manuscripts? just proposals? full marketing plans?). Be specific about
what you need to advance your publishing house, and you’ll be more apt to get
it.

Your Web site should have a page
dedicated to submission guidelines. Use the Internet to review guidelines from
publishing companies like yours and/or publishing companies you admire if you
want models.

Creating Procedures

Whether you are a one-person
publishing house or have a staff of 30, you need procedures for processing
submitted manuscripts. Here’s our routine:

When a manuscript arrives, the
office manager enters basic information (title, author, brief description, and
date) in our log and passes the ms. on to our man

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