In the U.S. alone, there are thousands of book publishers, each turning out anywhere from one or two to dozens or even hundreds of books each year. Over 50,000 books are published in the U.S. annually. Yet those 50,000 books represent somewhere between 1-3% of the total number of manuscripts submitted. What, you say? Just a 1-3% chance of getting published? What is a writer to do in the face of such odds? Give up? Of course not! Cheat? Absolutely not! Send bribes? Not a chance. What the writer must do is to be smart and totally professional about submissions. Remember, writing may be an art and a craft, but it is also a business. Publishing, too, is a business, and the business of publishing is to sell books and magazines at a profit. In the eyes of the publisher, your precious manuscript is just another potential product, and the bottom line is, "Will this sell?" So how do you

find the right match between your manuscript and a publisher? Understanding what goes on at the publisher To avoid the most common and most embarassing mistakes when submitting, it helps to understand what happens to your manuscript after you put it in the mail. If it is addressed to a specific editor, it may go directly to that editor's in box, especially if it is marked "requested material." You ONLY mark it as such if it really has been requested; that is, you sent a query and the editor asked to see the manuscript. Manuscripts that are not sent to a specific editor (and many that are, depending on the publisher), go to one common storage place known as the slush pile. Hired readers or junior editors have the grand pleasure of sorting the slush until their eyes cross, stuffing unwanted material back into their self-addressed return envelopes, discarding those that did not come with self-addressed return envelopes, and occasionally,…