"Solicited" Manuscripts - Page 2


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Thread: "Solicited" Manuscripts

  1. #11
    I believe Sam is right on the definition. (I'm from Canada).

    Actually, in my experience (and I've queried NA and UK) the most common practice is query letter and first five pages.

    Most publishing houses prefer solicited (meaning backed by an agent) submissions, as well as editors, but not all. But, though it's not common, it's not rare for people to submit to a publishing house and, if they get an offer, go find an agent to deal with the contract, etc, etc.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tally View Post
    I believe Sam is right on the definition. (I'm from Canada).

    Actually, in my experience (and I've queried NA and UK) the most common practice is query letter and first five pages.

    Most publishing houses prefer solicited (meaning backed by an agent) submissions, as well as editors, but not all. But, though it's not common, it's not rare for people to submit to a publishing house and, if they get an offer, go find an agent to deal with the contract, etc, etc.

    You may believe what you wish, of course. But when it comes to North America (including dear old Canuckastan) what you believe is incorrect.

    I've been a published writer for nearly 40 years. I've dealt with dozens of publishers, editors and agents. I am acquainted with, and/or friends with, many agented authors. I'll state this as plainly as possible: "Solicited," is synonymous with "requested" in New York, LA, Toronto, Vancouver and points between.

    If you folks want to use a different definition, one that applies to the UK, you would be doing members and lurkers a service by designating the definition as UK-specific. Otherwise, you risk costing someone a publishing contract -- someone like me. I could not interest an agent in my ms. After my top 30 choices nixed it, I approached an imprint of McGraw-Hill which, like 98% of legit publishers, did not accept "unsolicited" (not "unagented") submissions.

    I sent a query which tweaked their interest. They then requested (read: "solicited") my complete ms. I sent it. They bought it. I negotiated my own contract and have been collecting royalties twice a year for the last six years.

    Had I followed the definition used here, I might still be trying to woo an agent, or given up in despair.

    It bears repeating: To thousands of publishers, "unsolicited" simply means, "query first."

  3. #13
    Baron
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    Quote Originally Posted by eraser View Post
    You may believe what you wish, of course. But when it comes to North America (including dear old Canuckastan) what you believe is incorrect.

    I've been a published writer for nearly 40 years. I've dealt with dozens of publishers, editors and agents. I am acquainted with, and/or friends with, many agented authors. I'll state this as plainly as possible: "Solicited," is synonymous with "requested" in New York, LA, Toronto, Vancouver and points between.

    If you folks want to use a different definition, one that applies to the UK, you would be doing members and lurkers a service by designating the definition as UK-specific. Otherwise, you risk costing someone a publishing contract -- someone like me. I could not interest an agent in my ms. After my top 30 choices nixed it, I approached an imprint of McGraw-Hill which, like 98% of legit publishers, did not accept "unsolicited" (not "unagented") submissions.

    I sent a query which tweaked their interest. They then requested (read: "solicited") my complete ms. I sent it. They bought it. I negotiated my own contract and have been collecting royalties twice a year for the last six years.

    Had I followed the definition used here, I might still be trying to woo an agent, or given up in despair.

    It bears repeating: To thousands of publishers, "unsolicited" simply means, "query first."
    You are totally wrong. Unsolicited means not presented by an agent (or acceptable third party) in any country.

  4. #14
    The word 'solicit' means to 'offer one's services'. A solicited manuscript is one which is submitted with the backing of an agent. If you send an unsolicited manuscript to a publishing house which doesn't accept unsolicited work, they will bin the manuscript without fail. It doesn't matter if you've written the best query letter in the world.

    "We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts". You will encounter that in various publishing houses. What does it mean? That you have to query them first? Nonsense. It means you need an agent.
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  5. #15
    Let's ask an agent. Hey there, Miss Snark? Whatcha got to say?
    ...Unsolicited manuscripts are big, fat, space hogs. Query letters are svelte. For some reason I don't feel a single twinge when I toss manuscripts unread. And I do. All the time. I do not want to spend my time reading unsolicited manuscripts. I want to spend it reading work I've expressed an interest in. And really, if you think about it, so do you...(full article here)
    If you Google the term "unsolicited manuscript" (with or without quotes) you'll find plenty of reading material.
    My own experience has been that you don't need an agent, you need an invitation. An agent can get you one, through the ubiquitous network of contacts, or you can try querying on your own. Quite a few "smaller" publishers accept unsolicited mss. Look em up on pred&ed and the rest. Be sure...and research thoroughly. Lotta scammers out there.
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  6. #16
    Baron
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by moderan View Post
    Let's ask an agent. Hey there, Miss Snark? Whatcha got to say?

    If you Google the term "unsolicited manuscript" (with or without quotes) you'll find plenty of reading material.
    My own experience has been that you don't need an agent, you need an invitation. An agent can get you one, through the ubiquitous network of contacts, or you can try querying on your own. Quite a few "smaller" publishers accept unsolicited mss. Look em up on pred&ed and the rest. Be sure...and research thoroughly. Lotta scammers out there.
    It's true that some of the newer publishing outlets will respond to e-mail queries, if the query is interesting enough. These don't usually send out rejections. If they're not interested they don't reply. These want only the e-mail query because, like so many, they're wary of opening attachments.

    The major publishing houses still require postal submissions in the traditional form; query letter, synopsis and however much of a preview of the book their guidelines state. This is usually the first three chapters. When these publishers state that they don't take unsolicited submissions they mean that if it isn't presented through an agent it won't get read.

  7. #17
    Let's see what some publishing houses (and agents) say:

    Random House (picked out of a metaphorical hat) certainly seems to agree with you. They say, in part "If you would like to have your work or manuscript considered for publication by a major book publisher, we recommend that you work with an established literary agent." But they're very conservative, old-school, and that's to be expected. I would imagine others of that class feel similarly.
    Tor (not from the hat) has a whole section on how to submit sans agent. They're a special case, though they are definitely a major publishing house. You get no less social cachet from publishing with Tor than with anyone else. Just put that in so people reading can be aware that there are exceptions. That doesn't mean that Tor will publish anything, you should understand. They're picky, and rightly so.

    Sasquatch Books (our randomly-chosen small press) says "Sasquatch Books is happy to consider queries and proposals from authors and agents for new projects that fit into our West Coast regional publishing program. We can evaluate query letters, proposals, and complete manuscripts.
    When you submit to Sasquatch Books, please remember that the editors want to know about you and your project, along with a sense of who will want to read your book."

    Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (again randomly picked from the results) seems to have a hierarchy. The eponymous one "is not currently accepting unsolicited submissions. However, she welcomes referred and recommended projects."
    However, her underlings "Jill Marr, Elise Capron, Thao Le, and Jennifer Azantian are currently accepting unsolicited submissions by email."

    Based on that and some others which I didn't quote or link to, it seems that what you have there is absolutely correct.
    But...there do seem to be a LOT of exceptions, and interested parties might consider doing a little legwork. You're going to want to do that anyway.
    Last edited by moderan; October 7th, 2011 at 10:28 AM.
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  8. #18
    I tried to get this post in through the back door, but the Forum would not accept it without the solicitation of my agent.

    The term I have heard in regard to agents is that many of them will not take on new clients without a referral from either: clients or other fellow agents. In regard to the publishing world the term solicited refers to an agent (salesman) getting your manuscript onto the desk of an editor.

    This is not a UK - US issue, I have lived in North America my entire life and have not heard or seen anything to tell me there is a difference.
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  9. #19
    So it your solicited you might get a contract,
    if you are soliciting you might get arrested?

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