Books Magazine

The Great Submission Challenge 3/100

By Crossstitchyourheart @TMNienaber

We’ve almost made it to the end of the week fellow bloggers!  Not that weekends really mean anything when you work abnormal weeks…but this is my last week with a Sunday off before I start teaching my ACT prep class again so I plan to enjoy it as much as I can.  It’s also almost my birthday, which I want to be excited about but I’m having trouble getting there.  I do have the day off work though, so that’s something to get excited about.

I have to say, only 3 submissions in and this challenge is killing me.  I never realized how much of a mental block I have about submitting my work to people.  I guess I always got over it before by saying “I’m submitting to this one place and then I’m never submitting again and I may not even check my email.”  But something about forcing myself, every Thursday, to submit somewhere has me scared.  It won’t just be over once, I’ll have to do it again the next week, and the next, for like…2 years.  I keep hoping the more I get used to it the less freaked out I’ll be…they say you have to do something 25 times before it becomes a routine, so maybe on submission 30 I’ll finally be taking it all in stride.

That being said I want to thank all my lovely followers and readers for you enthusiastic support just 3 weeks in.  If I’d made this pact with myself and not told anyone else I can tell you with 100% certainty  I would not be doing it anymore.  I would have given up after submission number 1.  So thank you for coming to my blog, reading, commenting, and supporting.  I hope that you keep reading, and that maybe some of you will get inspired to submit your own work too.  Alright, on to what you really came to see.

Submission #3 was to Browne and Miller Agency in Chicago.

This is my first submission to an agency not based in New York/Los Angeles and I’m very excited because Chicago is a lot closer to home.  They specialize in women’s fiction, specifically inspirational/Amish fiction, mysteries, and literary fiction on the adult fiction end and literary and commercial young adult lit.  They don’t want: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, children’s.  Response time to queries is 6 weeks.  Even though this group is based in Chicago they have connections everywhere and have an impressive list of sold and in-publication work.  Like the other agencies I’ve submitted to they are a full-service literary agency which means they work with you throughout the whole publishing process.  If you’re interested in submitting check out their guidelines at  They want query letters only no attachments, and will accept snail mail submissions but prefer emails to: [email protected]  Even if you don’t want to submit here particularly, I’d suggest going to their website anyway as they have a really excellent, concise list of what agents look for in a successful query letter.

Submission #2 Feedback from Maria Carvainis Agency

I got feedback already!  Well, by feedback I mean a very polite form letter saying the agency was not “sufficiently enthused” with my proposal to want to see a manuscript.  But this agencies turn around was less than 14 days, much shorter than the 3 month response time listed which was a very pleasant surprise.  And, while the email was form I decided to take a look at my synopsis/cover letter anyway and see how I could make it a little more intriguing.  Since this is the first thing the agency reads, before they even decide they want to look at your actual work, I decided I should give it the same care and attention I gave my manuscript.  And after re-reading as someone who has no idea what the book was about I realized…it sounded boring.  I wouldn’t publish it.  This manuscript is about a topic that I have personal experience with and hold very close to my heart but none of that was coming through.  So I rewrote it to make it sound a little bit more like the book I want it to be, rather than just what it’s about, and I’m much happier with the results.

Another thing I learned in my submission adventure.  I have always been told in creative writing classes, Writer’s Guild meetings, etc… that a synopsis should be approx. 500 words and basically what you’d put on the back cover of your book to sell it.  When agents ask for a synopsis, however, they’re looking for something much longer than that (think pages, 3-5) which explains your work, what it’s about, what it does that’s original, and where it’s going.   So I’ve got some work to do on that.  I wonder if there’s a difference between a short form/long form synopsis… Anyone know?

Hope you all enjoy your upcoming weekend!  Have you submitted anything recently?  Let me know and I’ll post a link.

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