When you're ready to submit: queries, submission links, etc

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Nov 28, 2015
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Advice please?

Hello Red Bird, I have arbitrarily selected you for advice, since I am brand-new to this site, registered yesterday and have found it rather overwhelming. There is so much going on that I have struggled to find where to start, really.

Here's the thing. I have just completed my first book, my autobiography called White Zulu, it's an account of how I grew up on a remote cattle ranch in the South African Bush, raised by the Zulu staff, and only went to school at the age of 12.

Nowhere could I find an agent to represent me, so I did the obvious thing and went to Austin Macauley, who kindly offered to print my book for the princely sum of nearly £3000. I'm severely disabled and live on benefits as it is, so there's no way I could cough that up. Also, bearing in mind that this is a publishing outfit masquerading as a publisher, but in fact a vanity publisher. If I really wanted to self publish. I could get a good product for £800. But I am in no condition to do the marketing once I have had the printing done.
AM have a reputation of producing a very shoddy product, and there is no bookshop that has any evidence of caring, even one of their publications.

In South Africa, all the big publishing houses allow one to submit unsolicited work, so I sent my submission off to Penguin/random, Jonathan Ball and the Marsh Agency, all of whom acknowledged receipt about three weeks ago, telling me that it would take a few weeks before I heard from them again.

Must I carry on waiting before I hear from the big publishing houses? Should I send them an email saying that I have interest here in the UK, but they are my first choice of publishers? Or should I go ahead and self publish, bearing in mind that once one has self published, none of the publishing houses will touch you? All in all I have a trilogy, +2 other books to offer, in other words, a stable for any publisher who would take me on. I'm using speech recognition software to write this, so please forgive any anomalies that occur. All my best, Fi
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Jeff C. Stevenson

Super Member
Aug 25, 2015
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New York City
Hi Fi--

Not sure if I fully understand your situation. If I follow:

You have submitted to Penguin/random, Jonathan Ball and the Marsh Agency, and they all acknowledged they have your ms. That's all they've said, right? "We have received your submission."

Not sure what you mean by "Should I send them an email saying that I have interest here in the UK, but they are my first choice of publishers?" At this point, from what you posted, you have no "interest" from any publishers, right? They are simply looking at what you sent.

As for self publishing, don't start there. Make it a last resort. Look for an agent.

You wrote "Nowhere could I find an agent to represent me." Finding an agent can take months/years--did you spend all that time contacting agents? Publishing is a SLOW process and demands patience. It can take a long time to get an agent and then a long time for him/her to find a publisher and then a year or longer for your book to be published. (It took me seven years from start to finish for my book to find a publisher.)

Anyway, my suggestion if I'm clear on the above is 1) Don't self-publisher. 2) Keep looking for an agent 3) Don't contact any of the publishers you contacted. They don't like that and they've already said they have received your manuscript so you need to wait to hear from them.

Best of luck!

Siri Kirpal

Swan in Process
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Sep 20, 2011
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In God I dwell, especially in Eugene OR
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The password for most of the Share Your Work section is vista.

If that link is to Query Letter Hell, I want to caution you that the critters there aren't geared to memoir. So take all recommendations with as much salt as you need.


Siri Kirpal

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