Thursday, March 22, 2012

Defining "Unsolicited Manuscripts"

When a publisher doesn't except "unsolicited manuscripts", does that mean they will only except an ms or query from an agent?

Below is some information I've found. Can you verify if it's true or not?

"No unsolicited manuscripts" does not mean you can't send something to these publishers. (Those who are truly closed will say something like "Not accepting submissions.") "No unsolicited" just means you must send them a one-page QUERY first. If they like your idea and feel your book is a possible fit for their list, they will reply to your letter inviting you to send your manuscript. Then, WHEE! Suddenly you're sending a solicited manuscript.



This is one of those questions that's hard to answer without more specifics, but I'll do what I can. Unsolicited manuscripts would mean specifically that you don't send any manuscript unless it's been requested. That could mean that the publisher accepts queries first and will request manuscripts, or it could mean that they don't want anything unsolicited.

Most publishers (and I say most because I suppose there are some smaller publishers that might not like working with agents) will accept submissions from agents, but even agents tend to contact editors first before simply sending off a manuscript.

If the publisher has submission guidelines on their website, but they say "no unsolicited manuscripts," then they will expect a query first. If they have no guidelines for submissions it's likely they aren't accepting unsolicited submissions of any kind, and that includes queries.

***

On a related topic, please note that Kim Lionetti has closed to all queries in an effort to catch up on submissions and any unanswered queries she's received to date. This is only temporary. Kim will be opening again once she's all caught up. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please see our submission guidelines if you'd like to submit to one of our other agents.

Jessica

7 comments:

ivanpope said...

I'm amazed that you'd bother to comment on such an illiterate query without even mentioning that the writer probably has bigger problems than whether an agent is accepting submissions or not!

1. When a publisher doesn't except "unsolicited manuscripts"
The word you want is 'accept'. Except means to leave out.

2. You can't say 'can you verify if it's true' because verify means to establish the truth. The statement is a tautology (saying the same thing twice)

Definition of VERIFY

: to establish the truth, accuracy, or reality of

Julie Daines said...

I agree with ivanpope. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you two are nit-picky...must be exhausting to always edit and point out the flaws of others.

Try not to stress yourselves out next time.

Beth said...

Actually, this question came up @ SCBWI national con in August. An editor for a big six imprint said unsolicited meant only from an agent, but she didn't care if it was someone she knew or not. But I found this response helpful.

Charlie Holmberg said...

Ah, that clears up a few things. Thanks so much!

Bonnee Crawford said...

I've always had an idea and yet still wondered just in case the information I was given was wrong. Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

Dale Bishop said...

I've always been curious about "multiple submissions."

Thanks for establishing the truth, accuracy, and reality of "unsolicited manuscripts."