Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wisdom on Wednesdays: Doing Pre-Submission Research

This is more of a tip than a "wisdom," but it's something not everyone knows about, so I'm posting it anyway.

First and foremost, you have to do the pre-submission research. Subbing blind won't get you anywhere, unless you're extremely lucky when it comes to random drawings. In which case, buy a lottery ticket while you're at it.

And if you want to make your pre-sub research a lot easier, do online book searches according to the publisher. Most libraries in largish municipalities offer this feature in their online catalog search: type in the name of the publisher or imprint you want to scope out, choose the "search by publisher" field, and off you go: every book by that house or imprint in the library's system. Once you've got all the books by an imprint in one place, it becomes really obvious whether they do primarily dystopian or paranormal or picture books with talking animals. It makes it much easier to tell whether your MS would be a good fit for them.

Have any of you tried this? Do you have any other tips for making pre-submission research less painful?


  1. I liked to use Query Tracker when I was sending out queries. You can narrow down your search by selecting only agents who want exactly what you write.

    It makes it very easy.

  2. When I was querying I used publishers marketplace to see who had sold the type of books I was interested in.

  3. You can look up books by publisher on too. Plus it often lists books that are soon to be released. It can be a more complete list than looking in the library's system since no library can carry every book. I always have my library's page open and order the books they have as I go. Plus I make purchase requests for the books I really want to read that the library doesn't have.
    Research = fun!

  4. I haven't queried yet, but I keep a list of books I read with publisher and agents. And I also keep a list of agents who represent in the genres I write. And of course, Casey does a lot of the agent research for us on Literary Rambles.