Literary Agents and Publishers – 9 mistakes to avoid

These days literary agents and book publishers don’t have the time to critique your query letter or manuscript. They won’t even tell you why you got rejected to allow you to do better next time.

Let me give you the inside scoop of the top 9 reasons a query letter submission gets rejected. Use the list to check your next submission BEFORE it goes out!

1. No Unagented Submissions. Some publishers don’t accept submissions from the general public — Only from agents. Locate a good literary agent first!

2. No Writing Platform. A writing platform is your ability to drive sales through your fame or media experience. That means you’ve done TV interviews, radio interviews or written for a newspaper before. If your goal is to be placed with one of the large publishing houses like Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins etc. THEY WILL NOT CONSIDER YOU without an established platform.

3. No Market Information. You did not identify the size of your market in your query letter. You failed to provide statistics that justify the number of potential readers for your book. Because, book publishers and literary agents are in business to make money.

4. Your Query Letter is Sloppy. You have typos, misspellings and grammatical mistakes in your letter. Agent’s and publishers expect you to be a professional writer — that means no mistakes. If you have mistakes you will be rejected immediately. Hire an editor or get someone to review your work.

5. Your Book Has No Market. It doesn’t matter how good your writing is, if no one cares about your topic it won’t sell and no one will publish it. A good clue your book is unmarketable is if you can’t find books similar to yours in the bookstore or you don’t have a clue which section your book belongs in.

6. You Are an Unpublished Writer. Some agents only work with authors who have been published previously.

7. You Didn’t Identify the Correct Agent/Publisher. Some agents and publishers specialize in certain genres. So, if your book is a romance novel don’t submit it to an agent who specializes in science fiction.

8. The Agent/Publisher is Not Taking Submissions. The book publishing industry has seasons as well as peaks and valleys. Some agents/publishers are busy with other projects making it impossible to review any new submissions.

9. Your Writing is Not Good. Your writing does not flow and does not capture the reader’s attention. Contrary to what most people think, if you are the best writer in the world your work will still be rejected if you don’t pay attention to the items mentioned above.

So, there you have it. This list accounts for probably 99% of all rejections made by book publishers and literary agents. Pay close attention to any query letters or book proposals you send out.