Financial Chaos: Is This the Time to Submit to Publishers?

A writer-client, who just finished her book manuscript, asked: “What are your personal thoughts about submitting a manuscript anywhere at the present time? I was going to wait until life might be more settled. What would you do if you had a book to submit?”ANSWER: First, welcome to the real world … of chaos. Recession, depression, financial collapse and political upheaval seem the norm these days. Not to mention a publishing industry in constant flux. So, frankly, I’d suggest you send out whatever you have when it is really ready to go (polished, suits their guidelines, etc.). Because these times aren’t getting better anytime soon (sorry about that!).

However, I’ll also warn you that there are some lousy times to submit anything to a traditional New York publisher.

For instance, I would NOT submit towards the end of the year, meaning from mid-November on, nor in mid-summer. I’d wait until after January 1st. Traditionally the commercial publishing world comes to a screeching halt twice a year: in August (publishers flee for vacations from the too-hot NY publishing world) and year-end. They are only half staffed Thanksgiving through Jan. 1 for the Holiday season.

What this means is that the staff members with the least seniority (meaning less experienced in reviewing manuscripts) will more than likely be both manning the manuscripts PLUS be overtaxed with more than they can handle. So the chances of anything looking “good” to them under these trying circumstances is not so great.

However, if I ALREADY had connections within the industry (any correspondence either you made directly with a publisher previously or an introduction through your networking), I would NOT put it off. I’d proceed with any contacts in a business-as-usual fashion. Holidays slow-downs and financial woes aside, they are still in business, even if a bit slower paced, so they will respect any contacts already started. And, at the least, you will be firmly in their minds once the traditional publishing world starts to turn smoothly again.

On a bright note, the online, e-book and various electronic versions of books are going great! And are often not New York-based, meaning less impact for even holiday periods. Many new publishers are going “live” to work with writers. Others, like Double Dragon, have been around for years, so they know the ropes of both print and electronic book versions. (Let me know if you’ve had personal experiences with them–I appreciate the update.) Review ALL your options, don’t get stuck on strictly the commercial, more traditional publishers.

So don’t be discouraged. Just keep in mind that it will take a while before all industries in any sector snap back … and keep on honing your writing skills in the meantime.

Any questions? Write me, Sandra Haven, at Bristol Services Intl. by clicking

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