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Direct Submissions to Small Presses
Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2011 5:15 PM
Joined: 5/12/2011
Posts: 241

Hi all! I'm agent querying at the moment, but also want to make a couple of direct submissions to small presses.

Can those of you who've done this offer any advice? There is not much in the way of guidelines for a query letter on the websites of the publishers I'm looking at, just "send a query and a couple of chapters."

Should this "query" look like my agent query (brief and extremely to the point) or be more extensive? Or what?

J Boone Dryden
Posted: Saturday, October 8, 2011 1:15 PM
Joined: 5/7/2011
Posts: 42

Just like with most query letters, I would try to keep it under a page. In my experience, though, small press publishers tend to be a little more open-minded when it comes to publications, so you can move a little away from the "this is why it will sell" mentality of most agents and focus a bit more on "this is why I think you'll enjoy it."
Posted: Saturday, October 8, 2011 9:12 PM
Joined: 5/12/2011
Posts: 241

Will give it a go. Thanks!
R P Steeves
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 1:21 PM
Joined: 10/13/2011
Posts: 12

This is the route I eventually took with my first novel. I had no luck with agents, so I targeted small publishers. I started by using Writer's Market to give me some info, and looked at the websites for more guidelines. I also used Preditors and Editors (where I found my current publisher, Seven Realms). Luckily for me, 7R had very specific guidelines, which made it easy to query.

For the most part, I used a variation on my standard cover letter for the small press publishers if they did not have more specific info. It was easier to get someone to respond in most cases, and I was able to have a nice dialogue ('encouraging rejections') with a couple before I finally found one that appreciated my work. Good luck and keep us posted!
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 10:12 AM
Joined: 5/12/2011
Posts: 241

Thanks ya'll. Looks like I have one bite so far from a pretty good press. Now for the big decisions...

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:49 AM
I used to read slush for a small press - I read for their magazine, not their book line. I always enjoy a good, professional query, short and to the point.

I would get subs with no query, and to be honest, I'd have rejected on that alone if I could have - publisher wouldn't let me. ha ha I would also get subs with one line queries to the tune of, "Read this, you'll like it, you'll publish it." Doesn't work for me.


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