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Stuff Your Turkey with Submissions in November (Pub Sub 3rd Fri)

Dear Pub Subbers,
It’s time to stuff your Submissions Turkey in November.

In 2009 I noticed that I had many manuscripts ready to send off, but I wasn’t sending them often. Perhaps one every six months. Excuses were fear, insecurity, bashfulness, and clueless about where to send them. I didn’t like receiving all those no’s. And even more, I didn’t like the passive no’s, the no response.

I remembered that at a workshop Pam Zollman said the more submissions you have out there, the better chance you’ll have of getting your work published. That made sense to me. I set my goal to submit work once a month. To make it fun for me, I invited others to join me: my Wordmunchers’ online writing group, my friend, Linda Andersen, and the email list members of SCBWI-Carolinas and the Muse Conference Board (participants of the Muse Online Writer’s Conference hosted by Lea Schizas).

I hope you’ll join us in Pub Subbers. Our goal commitment is to submit an article, poem, puzzle, devotion, illustration, short story, picture book, chapter book, middle grade novel, young adult novel, adult novel, play, song, or movie to a publisher on the third Friday of each month for a whole year.

If you haven’t submitted lately, spend the next three weeks getting your creative work ready to send off. Start today to say, “I can do it.” Let me hear you shout, “Yes, yes. I can do it. I have the power to do it. I CAN DO IT.”

Besides a manuscript or article, below are the resources you need to accomplish your Pub Subbers goal:

Steps for Week One
1. Read this book or a similar one, or search online publisher/agent websites for current guidelines.

Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! by Jeff Herman


2  Choose three publishers/agents to submit a manuscript/query letter/illustration.

a. Read the guidelines of all three publishers/agents.

b. Select the publisher/agent to use this month.

c. Print out a copy of the publisher’s guidelines and save it in your submissions folder.

  1. Fine tune your manuscript

a. Use spell and grammar check with your manuscript.

b. Look for four errors in your manuscript. Read my blog for common errors you might miss unless you search for them: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/look-for-four-writing-errors-when-you-revise/

c. If you’ve been to a writing conference, revise three places in your manuscript using a skill or technique taught that you think will improve it.

d. Here are ten books that may help you with your writing skills. If you click on the title, it’ll take you to Amazon.com. Check out the book from your local library for free or purchase it at a book store (local or online). I’ve read all of these books. They each contain excellent advice and tips for improving your story. Little by little the information and skills soak into your mind. Your skills and knowledge improve. You’ll be able to tell when you’re critiquing someone’s work or reading your favorite book. You’ll say to yourself, “AHA. That’s how to do it.” Your writing gets better. Your critiquing improves. You move one step closer to publication. Even published writers continue to learn more about the craft of writing by reading.

Remni Browne and Dave King: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Donald Maass: The Fire in Fiction

Donald Maass: Writing the Breakout Novel

Donald Maass: Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook

Karl Iglesias: Writing for Emotional Impact

Margaret Lucke: Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories

Noah Lukeman: The First Five Pages

Darcy Pattison: Novel Metamorphosis

Jordan E. Rosenfeld: Make a Scene

Katharine Sands: Making the Perfect Pitch

Week Two Steps for Pub Sub 3rd Fri

  1. Let your manuscript sit a week in an incubator while you do your query or cover letter, resume, and proposal.
  2. If the guidelines say to write a query letter, then write your query letter.

  3. If you’re submitting a manuscript or article, write a cover letter to accompany it.

a. Include a strong pitch for your manuscript in your cover letter. A pitch is a 25 word eye-catching, heart-trapping summary of your book or article to hook the attention of the reader, agent, and/or editor.  Refer to my blog for more information about writing your pitch:  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/how-to-entice-an-editoragent-with-a-pitch-logline/

b. In your cover letter, mention one book, article, or illustration similar to yours and how yours hooks readers and attracts them to it. Each time you write a cover letter, you will improve.

c. If you’re a member of SCBWI, mention that fact in your cover letter. SCBWI has a great reputation with publishers.

d. If this is an exclusive submission, write that in your cover letter. “This is an exclusive submission for three months. On (date 3 months from your submission) I am submitting it to other publishers.” For exclusive submission with an agent, you can limit the time to two months or six weeks. Their guidelines might give you an idea of how much time they usually take. I think giving them a time, keeps you from wondering and gives them reason to respect your choice.

  1. Write your resume.

a. Include your snail mail address, phone number, email address, website, blog.

b. List all memberships in professional organizations.

c. Include all of your publishing credits.

  1. If needed, write your proposal.

Steps for Week Three: The next Pub Sub day is November 19, 2010.

  1. Read aloud a printed out (hard copy) of your manuscript. Make all necessary changes.
  • Print out your manuscript again. Read it aloud, again. Then read it from the bottom to the top, and from right to left. This will help you notice more errors that your might not notice in other ways.

  • If you see errors, correct them.

  • Print out the GO FOR IT copy of manuscript, cover letter, resume, and/or proposal.

  • Put one copy of manuscript, cover letter, resume, and/or proposal in 9×12 envelope

  • Print out and save another copy of manuscript, cover letter, resume, and/or proposal in a folder called “Submitted Manuscripts.”

  • Make sure you put your snail mail address, phone number, email address, website, and blog on your cover letter, proposal, query, and/or manuscript. If it’s an email submission, follow the publisher/editor/agent guidelines about attachments. Many publishers do not accept attachments. Follow their guidelines.

  • Print out label for 9×12 inch envelope – use the mailing address in publisher’s guidelines. If it is an exclusive submission, mark it as such on the outside of the envelope.

  • Enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope, if the guidelines ask for one.

  • Put sufficient postage on the envelope.

  • Leave the envelope with all the items inside over night (24 hours is good).

  • Pub Sub 3rd Friday
    13. Check your manuscript, cover letter, proposal, and resume Friday morning.

    1. Put addressed, stamped envelope with your PUB SUB in a mailbox or email. Say a prayer. Ask God to bless this submission. Say to yourself: I allow myself to receive a positive response, such as, “Yes, I’d like to publish this manuscript.”

    Each time you submit, you will get better and better. In case you’re not ready on Friday, November 17, 2010, go to my website and print out a rain check: http://www.joanyedwards.com/pubsub3rdfri.htm

    See my other Pub Sub 3rd Fri posts for more information. https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/category/writing/pub-sub-3rd-fri/
    Thank you for reading my blog.  Good luck in publishing your work. Let me know if Pub Sub 3rd Fri helps you get published.

    Please sign up for an email subscription from the “Sign me up” block from the top of the left hand column. The 50th person to subscribe from the left will receive a free paperback copy of Flip Flap Floodle or a 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer.Writer/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm

    Joan Y. Edwards

    Flip at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/

    Pub Sub 3rd Fri webpage http://www.joanyedwards.com/pubsub3rdfri.htm

    Pub Sub 3rd Fri blog pages https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/category/writing/pub-sub-3rd-fri/


    3 Responses

    1. Hi Joan,

      I enjoyed reading the history of PubSub3rdFri. Imagine my surprise when my name appeared in the post.

      Your creative approach has encouraged many to submit more regularly. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

      Linda A.


    2. Interesting idea, but it looks like you are doing a lot of preliminary work just for one sub
      a month. I agree with the concept “keep subbing” but I do it differently. I do a majority of
      my subs on Saturday morning when Duotrope sends out their weekly update. Then I go
      through it looking at the markets (well, the paying one, anyway) and saying to myself.
      “have I got anything that fits that market?” If so, send it! Don’t agonize over it for three
      weeks, just send it!

      One other problem, your “resume” which you say is to “Include all of your publishing
      credits.” How are you going to do that when they usually want a bio not to exceed about
      100 words? You have to skim the cream of your pubs. I’m down to books/e-books and
      anthologies plus “other magazines and e-zines” to keep the size reasonable.

      Like I say, the concept of “Keep subbing” is good, but there are other less painful ways to
      do it.


      • Dear Jim, Thanks for stopping by and leaving your great comment. I was unfamiliar with Duotrope. I went to their website and looked around. http://www.duotrope.com/index.aspx. This is a great resource. About my saying to include all your writing credits in your resume, I believe writers will tweak their resumes to follow the publisher or agent’s guidelines. Of course, writers can submit more than one time a month and more than one manuscript submission at a time. I’m trying to get people to knock down all their excuses for not submitting. I want submitting to be a habit for them, just as it is for you. I want all of us to get published!

        Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

        Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm Flip at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/ Never Give Up Blog http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com


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