You've written a book that you think will be a smashing success and you are eager to get it published. If you are looking to get into print through a major publishing house, like Random House, you will first have to get a literary agent to represent your book. If you are pursuing a small publisher, like Island City Publishing LLC, that accepts un-agented manuscripts you still need to convince them that your book is marketable.
In both cases, the best advice I can give you is to follow the submission directions that every literary agent and every publisher who accepts material directly from the author has listed on their website.
If they ask for a three-page synopsis, don't send five pages. If they want the first ten pages of your manuscript, don't send too little or too much. If they ask for things to be double spaced, double space. If they want all materials in the body of the e-mail, do it. There are business reasons why each company or agent asks for specific things when accepting queries from authors. Nothing will get your manuscript routed to the circular file quicker than not following their directions. You might think that once they see how great your book is, they'll forgive any deviations from their accepted submission policies, but that's a big gamble.
Agents and Publishers are looking for not only a marketable novel, but an author who will be easy to work with and that includes being able to follow directions.
Here at Island City Publishing LLC, we are more liberal in our approach to working with authors. You need only submit the on-line query form found in our Submissions section as your first step to having your manuscript reviewed. We make every effort to respond within two weeks to all queries.
--Celeste Bennett, consultant
Island City Publishing LLC