Sending your finished manuscript to a publisher increases your chance of a rejection slip.

That’s right. The last thing publishers want is your full manuscript to read.

How do I know? Because publishers tell you what they want these days. Which leads me to my final tip in my series of 10 Tips to Win a Publishing Deal (find the other tips here). It is this:

#10 Follow the publisher’s pitch guidelines

If you have followed all my other tips and chosen a publisher or two to pitch your book idea, go to their website, and search for their pitch guidelines.

They will have them.

If you cannot find them, give the publisher a ring and ask if they provide guidelines for authors who want to pitch ideas.

The receptionist will almost certainly send them or direct you to them.

Annoyingly, most are just a little different from each other, which makes sending your pitch to multiple publishers more difficult.

Broadly, however, they all ask you to provide:

  • A 200-word synopsis.

  • The audience for your book.

  • Why the target audience will buy your book.

  • How you will market it.

  • Whether you have a “platform” such as a social media presence, expert status or regular speaking or training gigs to help promote sales of the book.

Lobbing your whole manuscript at a publisher is a no-no and marks you out as an amateur. Don’t do it.

Ringing up and asking for their pitch guidelines shows them you have smarts.

Not only are you more likely to get your book accepted, but they might also even give you a better deal, since you look like, and are, a professional.

Go forth and publish, dear author. You can do it.

Stick to it.