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Submission Guidelines

 

Please, Please, Please...

  • Follow the Submission Guidelines below for fiction and non-fiction submissions
  • Don't send a complete manuscript until we ask to see it.

Multiple Submissions

We recognize that an author will often query several literary agencies and publishing companies simultaneously. This is only fair, given the length of time it takes for most companies to evaluate an initial submission. However, once we begin to evaluate a complete fiction manuscript or begin working with you to develop a work, we expect you to tell us if others are similarly engaged.


Guidelines For Your Fiction Submission

If this is your first novel, please don't contact us until your manuscript is Complete. While many publishers will put proven authors under contract on the basis of a detailed proposal, it is exceedingly rare for a mainline publisher to buy a first novel without a finished manuscript.

The purpose of your proposal submission is to get us sufficiently interested so that we will want to read your complete manuscript. It also gives you an opportunity to develop several items (e.g. biographical sketch and story synopsis) that we will need.

Your fiction submission should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Biographical sketch
  • Story synopsis
  • The first chapter, plus a title page
  • History of the manuscript (if any)
  • Marketing strategies (if any).

1. Cover Letter:

Your cover letter is your query letter to us. It should contain an exciting opening that will "grab" our attention. One page is more than enough. Your cover letter should be clear and succinct (like all readers, we are discouraged by spelling errors, punctuation mistakes, and poor grammar). Here is a format that we often use to identify a promising manuscript:

  • A single paragraph that introduces the story
  • A short description of the novel—its setting, its themes, its length; whether this a stand-alone book or will be part of a series
  • A brief explanation of why the story will appeal to readers
  • A concluding paragraph that introduces the writer and explains his/her motivation for writing the novel

2. Biographical Sketch

Tell us about your writing experience (if any), your education, and your achievements. These days, publishers look as closely at authors as they do at manuscripts. Don't be modest. Be sure to include any writing-related awards you have earned.

3. Story Synopsis

Prepare a three-to-five page synopsis of your story. (There are many guides available; writing an effective synopsis is one of the skills you need as a fiction writer.) The goal of your synopsis is to convince us (and eventually an acquisitions editor) that you have crafted a complete, compelling story, with no holes.

4. The First Chapter

If your first chapter is shorter than 10 pages, send us the first 10 pages. Remember: this is a sample to get us interested in reading the whole manuscript. Layout the pages with one inch margins top and bottom and slightly wider margins left and right. Use a standard type font (12-point Courier or Times New Roman), double spaced. Number each page consecutively. Place your name and title of the work in the top right-hand corner of each page. Don't justify right-hand margins.

5. Title Page

The title of a novel is extremely important. Editors will tell you that a good title can be the key to selling a book—to them and to readers. However, keep in mind that Dreams publishing have the right to re-name the manuscripts.

A generally accepted format for a title page is:

  • Title placed midway down the page in CAPITAL LETTERS; drop two lines for the author's byline
  • Author's name, address, phone number, e-mail address in bottom right-hand corner
  • Don't use fancy type faces or typographical designs.

6. History of the Manuscript

Please tell us the when's and the who's if you attempted to submit the manuscript—or earlier versions—to editors and/or publishers by yourself. We recognize that writers often meet editors at writers' conferences and other events and come away with opportunities to make direct submissions.

7. Marketing Strategies

Increasingly, fiction authors are encouraged to promote their novels themselves through writers' conferences, book signings, web sites, and related techniques. This is because we are not likely to spend significant marketing dollars to promote. Therefore, every less-than-bestselling author ought to be prepared to invest in book promotion. Let us know if you plan to set up a web site for your book, create promotional "giveaways" (e.g. bookmarks), arrange your own book signings, or attend writers' conferences. Think out of the box. Tell us also if you will be able to get a well-known writer to "blurb" (endorse) your book.


Guidelines For Your Non-Fiction Submission

Here the tables are turned. Non-fiction books are routinely basis of a detailed outline and sample chapters. In fact, many editors prefer that the writer does not offer a completed non-fiction manuscript so that the concept and outline can be fine-tuned before the detailed writing begins.

Your non-fiction submission should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Biographical sketch
  • Chapter outline
  • Three sample chapters, plus the title page
  • History of the proposal (if any)
  • Marketing strategies.

1. Cover Letter:

Your cover letter is your query letter to us. It should contain an exciting opening that will "grab" our attention. One page is more than enough. Your cover letter should be clear and succinct (like all readers, we are discouraged by spelling errors, punctuation mistakes, and poor grammar). Here is a format that we often use when we send a promising non-fiction manuscript to a publisher:

  • A single paragraph that introduces the proposed book
  • An "overview" of the intended work—including the expected word count and a brief description of the target audience
  • A few sentences about the writer that highlights his or her credentials and explains why he/she will be a credible author of the book
  • A concluding paragraph that summarizes the strengths of the book.

2. Biographical Sketch

Tell us about your writing experience (if any) and your credentials for writing your book. Publishers are especially concerned that the writers of non-fiction books be seen as credible authors by potential readers. Relevant education and/or pertinent experience are essential. Don't be modest. Proclaim why you are the right person to write this specific book.

3. Chapter Outline

A chapter outline is a detailed table-of-contents for your work that briefly summarizes the content of each chapter. Initially, one four or five line paragraph describing each chapter is sufficient. Describe any illustrations, photographs, or charts that will be required.

4. Three Sample Chapters

Prepare three chapters that are likely to impress us and editors. These chapters don't have to be sequential. The goal is to generate a maximum amount of excitement and interest in your work.

Layout the pages with one inch margins top and bottom and slightly wider margins left and right. Use a standard type font (12-point Courier or Times New Roman), double spaced. Number each page consecutively. Place your name and title of the work in the top right-hand corner of each page. Don't justify right-hand margins.

5. Title Page

A "perfect" title is even more important in non-fiction than fiction. Editors will tell you that a good title can be the key to success of selling a book—to them and to readers. However, keep in mind that publishers have the right to re-name the manuscripts they buy. Try to keep the main title to fewer than six words. Add a brief subtitle if necessary to clarify the subject of your book.

A generally accepted format for a title page is:

  • Title midway down the page in CAPITAL LETTERS; drop two lines for the author's byline
  • Author's name, address, phone number, e-mail address in bottom right-hand corner
  • Don't use fancy type faces or typographical designs.

6. History of the Manuscript

Please tell us the when's and the who's if you attempted to submit the proposal-or an earlier version-to editors and/or publishers by yourself. We recognize that writers often meet editors at writers' conferences and other events and come away with opportunities to make direct submissions.

7. Marketing Strategies

A marketing plan is a vital element of every non-fiction book proposal. It is up to the author (working with the agent) to "prove" that a sizeable target audience for the book exists, to sharply define this target market, and to evaluate competitive books (if any) in the marketplace.

Tell us what makes your book compelling and unique, along with who will read your work and why. Let us know the benefits to the reader. List competitive books and briefly describe their contents. Summarize the differences between your book and its predecessors, highlighting why your book will fill a gap or meet an unmet need. Lastly, tell us if you know a prominent person who might increase your book's salability or credibility by writing a foreword.

Submit to Dreams Publishing Co., P.O. Box 4731, Rocky Mount, NC, 27803

 

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Hello my name is Toni Child and I am the publisher for Dreams. I'm here today to answer all your questions. Simply go to the "Contact Us" page and click the online live help icon and ask me anything about Dreams and our services.

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