Rejecting Manuscripts the Helpful Way

December 2002
by Dan Poynter

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An estimated 85-90% of the publishers in the United States do not have commercial telephone listings. They don’t want to be listed in the Yellow Pages. Of course, a residential listing is cheaper, but most are avoiding telemarketers and unsolicited manuscripts from hopeful writers. Some publishers even try to protect themselves with unlisted numbers and P.O. Box addresses.

But we still get unsolicited manuscripts, query letters, and proposals. Usable material from writers would be welcome, of course, but most often the writer has not taken the trouble to learn what kind of books we publish.

We try to help new writers by explaining that the secret to finding a publisher is simple–Match your manuscript to the publisher. Do your homework.


What We Tell Writers

Better publishers specialize in one or two niche markets. They know their subjects, want to know about all the books in their subject area, and don’t have to send your manuscript out to a reader for evaluation. They also know how to reach the potential buyer and can jump-start your sales by plugging your book into their existing distribution system to specialty shops, associations, and events.

To find these specialized publishers, visit a couple of larger bookstores. Check the shelf where your book will be and look for books as close to yours as possible. Match your manuscript with potential buyers: Would the publishers of books on this shelf probably be…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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