Write It Sideways

Extreme Manuscript Makeover: Your Dream Date

It’s here. Your big day.

The day when you take your beautiful self and your brilliant manuscript to the next level.


It sounds far scarier than it is because, remember, this series has you well-prepared.

In our Extreme Manuscript Makeover Introduction, you enjoyed a fleeting moment of excitement as you ‘finished’ your book. But it wasn’t until you worked through Bare It All , Tone It Up, Get Polished and Phone A Friend, that your manuscript was truly in good enough shape for submission.

All that’s left to do now is breathe deeply and take the plunge. You’re about to go on the biggest date of your life — a date with a literary agent or publisher.

Extreme Manuscript Makeover: Your Dream Date

Where and how you submit your manuscript will depend on what kind of book you’ve written. A children’s picture book will have a different process to an adult novel or a non-fiction book.

Will you look for an agent first, or submit directly to a publisher? How should you go about this?

Here are the basic things you’ll need to consider about each method:

Literary Agents

A literary agent is an industry insider who, ideally, has worked with many different authors and helped them achieve publication. A reputable agent should have a website detailing who they are, their education and experience, past representation successes, submission guidelines, and any other important information.

There are many excellent reasons to submit your manuscript to an agency. A literary agent will:

A few cautions include:

Don’t be fooled into thinking a strong manuscript doesn’t need representation. A book with an agent behind it will always take precedence over one without.

Publishing Houses

There are, undoubtedly, those one-in-a-million success stories of first-time authors being picked up by big-name publishers . When hearing these stories, it can be tempting to imagine you can bypass the agent process and go directly to a publishing house with an ‘unsolicited submission.’

If you choose this avenue, be aware of the following:

That’s not to say you should never submit directly to a publisher. Here are a few reasons why you might be justified in this course of action:

The Submission Package

Whether you’re sending your manuscript to a literary agent or directly to a publisher, be scrupulous in these areas:

Go On, Get Out There

You’re ready.

You’ve got the manuscript. You’ve got the know-how. You know where you want to go, and you know how you’re going to get there.

So go!

Best of luck with your book. I hope this day is everything you hoped for, and more. And if you aren’t successful this time around, don’t give up.

There are plenty of other fish in the sea.