New Submission Guidelines

April 1st, 2010 • Kate

stackPapersSmlI’ve given this a lot of thought — some of my followers may recall a comment I made on Twitter a few weeks ago — and I think it’s time for an overhaul of my submission guidelines. From now on, when submitting a manuscript for my consideration for representation, please:

  • Email both the address and my personal email address, so I can be doubly sure of receipt.
  • Attach a photo of yourself so I know who I’m dealing with. (If you do not have an up-to-date photo, do feel free to send a picture of your dog, cat, or celebrity lookalike.)
  • Send your complete manuscript as an attachment with your letter.
  • Do be sure to use as many fonts as you feel is necessary in your query letter, so I can be sure to really grasp the importance of your query.
  • Please let me know what other agents you are submitting to.  The easiest way to do this is to copy all of us on your initial email.
  • Don’t worry about coming up with an original hook for your novel.  Please use the following formula: “My novel is [John Hughes movie] meets [WB series] with [supernatural creatures]!” Bonus points for including casting thoughts for the inevitable movie based on your book.
  • Don’t include any mention of authors or books that readers of your novel might enjoy.  Instead, please be sure to tell me how most books being published recently are crap (use examples, ideally from my client list!).
  • Feel free to disregard my previously stated preferences for YA and MG fiction.  I’m dying for a great military thriller, literary tale of a 30-something unsure of what to do with his life, or sex guide to the Far East. You never know until you try me!
  • If you’re writing from prison, please let me know up front.  I love the idea of being pen pals, but not being able to gtalk at you at all hours of the night MAY put a crimp on our relationship.
  • In fact, if you can’t email, just come on by my office to drop off your manuscript.  Maybe we can grab a cup of coffee and chat!

As always, do your research and make sure you check that all submission guidelines you use are the most up-to-date and comprehensive possible.  Doublecheck all dates — for instance, this one is posted on April 1, 2010.

Good luck!

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30 Responses to “New Submission Guidelines”

  1. jessica Says:

    Just wondering how you take your coffee? Or would you rather a Caramel Macchiato, Venti?

    Just want to make sure I get it right.



  2. Sandy Shin Says:

    "Doublecheck all dates — for instance, this one is posted on April 1, 2010."

    Haha! I'd be terrified to pull this joke, because invariably some people will take it seriously. Awesome, though! 😀

  3. Susan Says:

    Great changes. My novel is Home Alone meets Animaniacs with Editors Who Love My Work! You forgot to tell us to just cut and paste the entire ms. to your blog comments. We can, right?

  4. 150 Says:

    No way THIS can backfire!

  5. HWPetty Says:

    My novel is Sixteen Candles meets Veronica Mars with ACTUAL MARTIANS.

    And really, you can just use the current cast from the Twilight movies to make mine.

    AHAHAHA… I love this.

  6. Ellen Booraem Says:

    I'm a client and you've never asked for a picture of MY cat. *is miffed*

  7. Bethany Says:

    …why would you do this to yourself? If the nightmares we hear of are true, you will still get submissions from people who "get" that you're joking, but "once you read MY submission, you'll realize why it's amazing and this will be a great blog entry when recounting how I got my agent". Enjoy.

  8. TracyLucas Says:

    LOL…. this is priceless. Love it.

    If I hadn't just put my own sub guidelines up this week, I'd be tempted to follow suit! I can think of LOTS of pet peeves I'd like to vent about. Alas, it's probably much too early for me to start messing with folks.

    I'll have to enjoy April Fool's Day vicariously through you, Google (sorry, I mean, Topeka), and YouTube. Thanks for a great laugh! 🙂

  9. kat Says:

    I feel sorry for the poor soul whose e-mail address is

    That inbox is going to be loaded with the slush of inobservant writers.

    Good one. 🙂

  10. Cynthia Faryon Says:

    Thanks for changing your very strict and specific guidelines, I have changed my submission and followed every one of your revised points. As an added bonus, I have copied your email address and sent it out to everyone on my contact list.

    Happy April Fools' Day.

    CFaryon 🙂

  11. LS Murphy Says:


  12. Kimberly Says:

    Wait, what? Nobody said anything about disclosing incarceration!

  13. Debra Schubert Says:

    Great. Now you're making me wish I didn't already have an agent. She was SO ridiculous with her submission requirements! (Be professional? No attachments? No family photos? WHAT a bunch of nonsense!)

  14. Kathleen Says:

    Good one! 🙂

  15. honeysock Says:

    You are very brave indeed.

  16. Kathleen Says:

    (Although Bethany's right…I'd delete this post tomorrow, or you'll get people really doing this.)

  17. Amber Says:

    I'm stopping by for coffee in a few. 😉 Armed with my manuscript, naturally.

  18. Irene Says:

    APRIL FOOL!!!!

    (But for a second, I didn't know what to think :-)))

    Great one, thanks!

  19. Carrie Harris Says:

    Thank you. I just spit Dr. Pepper all over my keyboard.

  20. write-brained Says:

    LOL!! After reading the first one, I thought to myself, that sounds kind of ODD!;-)

  21. Anna Roudenbush Says:

    OH DARN, I just got all that stuff uploaded and ready to send when I caught the irony of the date. (Just kidding)

    Very funny, You might be sorry you posted this, there are a few people who are a little slow out there.

  22. Atsiko Says:

    Hilarious. Thanks to Janet Reid for the pointer.

    I was wondering, can I send wine and chocolate in a promotional mug for my book?

  23. Karen A. Hooper Says:

    Nope. I'm going to be a rebel, send it to you snail mail, and enclose lots of sand and blue and green sequence in the envelope so you get a feel for the mermaid theme.

    Don't worry, you'll love it. 😉

    (all of the above was typed using the sarcasm font)

  24. Joe Iriarte Says:

    Oh, good. I'm so glad you changed to more reasonable guidelines. Frankly, your old ones made it seem as though you were *trying* to set up hurdles on the road to publication. I had just about written you off as the sort of person who enjoys killing authors' dreams. Thankfully you've come to your senses.

    I mean, if you're going to be my employee, and make money selling my books, you really shouldn't be bossing *me* around, right?

  25. Deltay Says:

    Hahaha, this is great!

  26. Tim White Says:

    Can I attach a very personal introductory video where I explain the plot with handpuppets? Or an invitation to discuss the book on chatroulette?

  27. Sherri Says:

    Oh, you SO asked for it! Can't wait to read future posts lamenting this one.

  28. ChristaCarol Says:

    You had me until the photo line. 😛 Happy April Fool's Day!

  29. Kiki Hamilton Says:

    Good one! Perhaps they should Topeka you first. 🙂

  30. Stina Says:

    I’ve been super busy lately so I haven’t had a chance to visit for a while. I can’t believe I almost missed this. 😀