During our recent school visits, a question that has been asked several times is: “What do I need to do to make sure my book will get published?” Unfortunately, we cannot provide a specific answer because every book is different, but here are some good guidelines to follow:
1) Make sure your story has a beginning, a middle and end.
We have received several manuscripts from teens who finished their books without tying up loose ends. When we called them on it, they would often say, “Oh, I’m planning a sequel,” but that sequel may be years away and if you don’t wrap up your story, chances are when your next book comes out the people who read the first one won’t want to pick up the series because they remember being disappointed by the lack of an ending. Unfinished stories may work on TV, but they don’t work in books.
2) Review your manuscript for grammar and spelling errors before submitting it for publication.
Over the years, your English teachers have probably taken points off your papers for spelling and grammar mistakes. That may seem petty to you, but it’s not. They are actually doing you a good service. In the professional world, if you turn in work that is riddled with mistakes it not only reflects poorly on you, if the errors don’t get caught, they will reflect poorly on the company you are working for too. Mistakes can be grounds for getting you fired. remember, check your work.
3) Follow the submission guidelines on the Sigma’s Bookshelf website.
STEP 1: Submit your completed manuscript and cover image through this website. Incomplete manuscripts will not be considered.
STEP 2: Completed manuscript is reviewed by the Sigma’s Bookshelf review team. (NOTE: Submission does not guarantee acceptance. There is a review process.) Authors will be informed of a decision within 30 days of submission.