The Big Seven New York Publishers
All of these are the umbrella organizations for multiple companies and imprints. They change constantly as the industry shifts with the revolution in publishing. Most of their imprints require agented submissions. Smaller, independent publishing may not. Check web site submission guidelines to be sure. The complete list of companies and imprints is on pages 69-74 in 2013Writer’s Market.
Hachette Book Group USA – www.hachettebookgroup.com
Harlequin Enterprises – www.harlequin.com
Harpercollins – www.harpercollins.com
MacMillan US (Holtzbrinck) – http://us.macmillan.com
Penguin Group (USA), Inc. – www.penguingroup.com
Random House, Inc. (Bertelsmann) – www.randomhouse.com
Simon & Schuster – www.simonandschuster.com
What’s Wrong with my Manuscript? The importance of good editing
Whether you go traditional or indie, you have to have written and re-written the book many times and then have a good editor look at it and make corrections. A good reference book for checking whether you are making the standard mistakes all writers make at first is by Jessica Page Morrell called Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us. Study it. She goes over all the reasons agents and editors reject a manuscript and how to correct what is wrong . After you have done all you can, hire a good editor to edit the book before you send it out. If you don’t have the money, get someone to proof it at least. When you send a manuscript off, it has to be your very best effort.
Develop the elevator pitch
This is the two or three sentences you use to tell someone what your book is about when asked in the elevator or at cocktail parties. You have to capture your story in two sentences that describe the essence of the story. Develop it early on and make it catchy enough that a reader or agent or publisher wants to know more. You will use this in pitching to agents and editors at writer conferences. It is a very useful tool.
Write the synopsis -- traditional publishing
This is a tough one. If you have never been published before or sometimes even if you have, for a fiction book, you’ll need to have a synopsis of the book. Often submission guidelines will specify how long a synopsis they want. It could be one, two, five or ten pages. Let me tell you, it is hard getting a 300 page novel condensed into five pages. Most writers find this extremely difficult and there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth over this project. But it must be done if that’s what the agent/editor wants. In non-fiction the proposal usually includes a synopsis of the book. Again, go by guidelines.
The Query Letter
If you go the traditional publishing route, you will need to write a one page query letter using the submissions guidelines you will find on the agent or publisher web sites. In it you will use your dust jacket synopsis of the story, tell how many pages or words, what genre, and audience. You will need to include biographic information or tell what qualifies you to write this book. There are many sources giving advice on how to write the perfect query letter. Search on Google and lots of advice will come up. Be sure to check submission guidelines to see what the agent/editor wants in the query letter.
I'm a serious writer, meaning I have a regular daily writing habit, and I'm interested in sharing my work through publication. My favorite literary form is the novel. I write to entertain myself and my readers.