How do I write a submission letter?

 Maybe the bigger question is: What kind of submission letter would they take seriously?

After being on a panel at an Author Event last night there were so many questions I felt I’d left unanswered. Not because I couldn’t answer all of them, but because I needed time to reflect. And then we ran out of time. 

Below are some additional answers to the ones I gave on the night. Take from this what works for you. Honestly, I’m just sharing what worked for me. 

Are you sitting comfortably?  

Question: What did you write in your submission enquiry letter?

Remember this – I was brand new  to the publishing world when I finished my novel. I was in Spain. It was January 2020. Before the invisible, but big bad wolf took us in its teeth and changed lives, for some, forever.

Bullet points:
Strap line
Who you are – YOUR writing credentials
What the book is about in a nutshell (one paragraph)
Don’t ask questions
Be polite, courteous, human, honest.
I used my careers as part of the reasoning / inspiration for writing the books. I told them what the book was really about in a paragraph, and now I’ve learned if your voice is similar to well known authors tell them. Apparently this is really useful. Makes sense now I have had time to think about it. Publishers will immediately know where you sit on the bookshelf.
If you are already on social media: Tell them.
I didn’t have any influence or friends on social media at the time. I blogged. For myself and for budding writers. I was writing for budding writers.
I’ve expanded my blogging to posting new releases from Authors. Happy to do this…
Be polite. Be honest. Being rude won’t score you brownie points. Telling them you’re the best thing since sliced bread won’t tick their boxes either.
Be prepared to listen to them. They are the experts. They are in the business for a reason and they know who they want to work with. They don’t want lazy. 
I’ve heard so many times ‘it’s the editors job to sort out my novel.’ 
NO. LAZY ATTITUDE. Who wants to work with lazy.
Even if you are Shakespeare’s reincarnation.
Make sure your work is as bright, shiny, and the best it can be. Of course they will want to improve your work.  Be prepared! 
But first you need to: 
Research and more research: 
Get the Writers and Artists Year Handbook – they are in your local library, there’s a ton of information in there to help you.

Find books in your genre and double check the publisher is open for submissions.

Don’t waste your time sending to a publisher if they are closed to submissions. Just keep them in your pending tray and check regularly to see if they’ve opened again.

Make sure you have the exact publisher that will fit with your book. OBVIOUS? Apparently, not to some.

Don’t submit to a Fantasy publisher when your work is Romance unless it crosses the genre.

Don’t send non fiction to an erotica publisher… Get my drift?

Research your publisher thoroughly. 

Find the persons name you are going to address it to, if you can. Sometimes you can flick through the reams of their submission information about who, and what editor would suit your writing. They will help by posting about themselves so you get a feel of what they are about.


Decide if you can identify your work alongside others authors – huge ones are good – if you can say you write in the voice of… and your work would fit in the same category this will be a major plus. Why? Because instantly the publisher will be able to know if they can market your book. It’s all business. 

Note: this may be the first major step to getting through the front door.

Research. I’ve seen lately publishers expect you to have read some of their books, published by them, in your genre. If this is the case you will need to be able talk about it. 

Be positive in your approach, be human, be professional, be polite. 

Tell them why your work would sell. What makes it interesting for readers. 

A bit more about a strapline:

If you can have a strap line like being in the ‘in the lift’ scenario: 

What do I mean?

Imagine you’ve met your dream publisher in a lift and have 5 seconds to tell them about your book and you want them to be interested without boring the pants off them!

Example: Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox is: ‘1950s London and everyone has a secret.’

It immediately tells the publisher its historical, a mystery, maybe more. Which my novels are most certainly are. Though mine has been lumped with historical romance, which I am a bit disappointed about, but then somethings are an exception to the norm. Hey, I can’t complain. 


Why would readers want to read it? Where would it sit on the bookshelves of big bookstores?

Don’t ask the publishers questions. They just want to know. They don’t want to read the chaff of promotional material. Save the tantalising questions / memes for later – they are important for your readers. 


Strap line. 

I was so green I didn’t know what a strap line was. But its a great idea. It takes some of the work out of the publishers hands.

Tell them who you are: 

I just wrote from the heart, told them about my career history, well, what was remotely relevant. I didn’t have any writing credentials. I was brand new to all of it, other than taking creative writing workshops. We all have to start somewhere. Be honest about it, your enthusiasm for your work should shine through.


My debut below: I am so grateful to those who have read my books, and I am also humbled at so many fantastic 5 star reviews. All authors appreciate them. Check out Goodreads…

More on the submission letter:  

Read the instructions required by the individual publisher.


I hope you heard that loud and clear. If you don’t follow their instructions they will bin you before you even get through the door.

I think you need a hug right now as it can sound daunting. Some people LOVE interviews. Some people BLAG their way through the common interview. Me, I’ve always struggled, but I followed the instructions and I got traditionally published, not just because I jumped through the hoops, I’d like to think because they liked what they read. 

Please don’t give up on your dream, especially if you feel like chucking it all in after reading this. You can do it. If I can. So you can you.

THANKS AND HUGE APOLOGIES to the Author of this submissions letter. I am afraid I cannot acknowledge who you are as this was shared to me without an acknowledgement. If you read this and would like me to acknowledge you, I would be very glad to do so. Thank you in advance of your work, and invaluable help, helping struggling authors like me.

Happy to chat all things writing – message me – leave a reply. 

I am on instagram, twitter, author facebook

Where silence turns to courage, survival and happiness 

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