Posted By Seth Watts Posted On

Sending a manuscript: 11 mistakes to avoid

Sending a manuscript is the first step in your editorial adventures. Avoid spoiling everything with one of these 11 presentation errors.

Sending a manuscript: we no longer laugh

Want to send your manuscript, but are you afraid of doing the wrong thing? Submission after submission, you can’t find a publisher, and you don’t know why?

After 10 years in the business, I can detail the usual errors: have you checked your text, its presentation, the object -manuscript, then the sending itself?



An incomplete manuscript is like a soup without a mustache. We search, we search, we rummage, but nothing to do, half of it is missing. You will frustrate your publisher, believe me. And frustrated publishers are publishers who say “no”.

Poorly corrected

Spelling is a courtesy to the reader. Remember that for a book publisher, reading between mistakes is an unpleasant exercise; do your manuscript a favor, give it a touch of a toilet!


No margins

Do you know what the margins are for? To give all the necessary comfort to the reader to comment and correct wildly. A generous margin is an invitation. A narrow margin indicates contempt for the reader, closure. The presentation of the manuscript is crucial: Think of the margins!

Who knows, if your project is to be published, if it is urgently slipped into the publication program, your editor will be delighted to be able to doodle immediately in the margins of the manuscript.

Handwritten form

Do you want to send a rough, hand-written formwork manuscript? Do nothing with it. If you have beautiful handwriting, reserve it for your cover letter. Your work must be typed. Who will pay for the entry, the longer proofreading, if the publisher accepts your text? Then you understand why the handwritten texts make the editor’s teeth cringe. [ 1 ]


Book-style printing

Some copy-shops or printers on-demand offer this solution. Sending a book, instead of a wad of spiral-bound sheets can be tempting. But at the whim of publishing houses, a “book-like” manuscript will be well-received (high-quality presentation) or worse (“interventionism” by the author, who gets involved in the appearance of the book, even before the decision to do or not be made).


Guess why the editor grumbles every time he takes such a manuscript:

  • office filing cabinet
  • thin paper shirt
  • a small packet of loose leaves
  • woolen strand binding
  • box of sheets organized by sticky note
  • shirt filled with block…

Presenting a manuscript is not a reason to do anything. Think about the user of your object.

Sending Manuscript

Endless mail

An accompanying letter, as its name suggests, does not help you to pour out. Sending a manuscript is not an opportunity to talk about your muse. Your letter should shine with its discretion and efficiency.

Without contact details

Yes, there are always some who forget to put an address on their text! The forgetfulness nerd! Please note, include it in the body of the manuscript.

Recommended A / R

Sending a manuscript by registered mail means to your recipient that you are wary of them. It will place you in the “chronic impatient” category, another term for “painful”. It is better to send your manuscript in normal shipment, and ensure that it is received a few days later, by email or telephone.


Some send the only copy of their text. Other times, they send photo negatives, paintings… Avoid! The publisher will keep returning this hot potato to you, and will hardly spend any time on your proposal.

Multiple submissions

Of course, for you, sending a book with your brothers and sisters is more economical. But think of your recipient, who says to himself “come on, I’m reading one more this evening”, and who finds in your envelope not only a collection of short stories but also a short novel and a play…

Do the opposite of everything I say!

Have you read everything so far? Do you now know how to present a book? Did you follow my little tips?

Too bad, you shouldn’t!

No, these tips are worthless, if you have not thought, first of all, to find out about the publisher’s requests. They are listed in what is called a submission guide. You will find it on the publisher’s website; if not, contact him, by phone or email (preferably), to find out more. What he asks of you must come before everything I just told you!

One last thing: when you send your book, think of a very simple gesture: attach a return envelope.