You’ve written a book, you’ve agonized over edits, you’ve painstakingly written your query letter, and now—you wait. This part sucks. We get it. As Tom Petty once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” We hope it will make you feel a little bit better to know what’s going on behind the scenes while you’re at home biting your nails.
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Step 1: Intake
When you submit your manuscript through our website, it goes through our submission intake process. Your manuscript submission is received through our website form, and then the submissions editor puts your manuscript in the reader queue. You will not hear from our submissions editor unless they have a question about your submission.
Step 2: The Queue
We receive hundreds of submissions per year, and we want to make sure we give every one its due consideration. This can take some time, since we accept unsolicited submissions, or submissions without an agent. We love having this open-door policy, but it does mean that our slush pile gets big! Your submission may be hanging out in the queue for a few weeks while it waits its turn.
Step 3: Review
When it’s time, the submissions editor will send your manuscript to a reader. This reader will be trained in manuscript critique and editing so they can see both the potential of your book as well as the work it needs. This reader will also specialize in your manuscript’s genre! We wouldn’t want a children’s book editor trying to evaluate the merits of a dense, adult science fiction epic.
Your reader will review your entire manuscript, or if it’s quite long, key selections. They will then consider the craftspersonship of your manuscript, its marketability, your previous works, and other variables to make their official recommendation for your manuscript. But your submission’s fate doesn’t lie in the hands of one subjective reader; next it goes to the team.
Step 4: Team Decision
The entire acquisitions team will review your manuscript, your other submission materials, and the reader’s recommendation independently, and then they’ll come together to make a group decision that will work best for you, your manuscript, and the team.
Step 5: The Offer
Once the whole team has agreed, one of our acquisitions editors will reach out to you with our decision. This may be a traditional offer, an Emerging Authors invitation, a self-publishing offer, or an outright rejection in some rare cases.
It’s up to you what to do next!
We are so grateful for the submissions we receive, and we’re lucky to be able to review every single one, whether the author is represented by an agent or not. We understand that waiting for a publisher’s decision can be agonizing, so hopefully, understanding all that goes into this process will help encourage your patience. We can’t wait to check out your manuscript!
by Christina Kann
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