Advice for Writers: How to Write a Submissions Email

Before any agent or editor even gives your manuscript a chance, they’ve got to get through your email greetings. This can be an absolute delight, full of both personality and information, or it can turn sour very quickly through ramblings, confusion, and over sharing of irrelevant details. Your email is your official introduction to a publisher or agency, and it should take some time to perfectly craft.

To help prevent you from spending more time writing a submissions email than you spent on the submission in the first place, we’ve come up with some tips to make sure you get your manuscript sent off with ease.


• Do your research. At the very least, you should know to whom you are addressing your email (read: no Dear Sirs). This is usually the publisher, an agent, or a commissioning editor. But you should also know what that publisher or agent is looking for: have a look at their submission guidelines as well as their published titles and decide if your work fits in with their interests. Then you can really pitch your manuscript as the perfect fit for their list.

• Don’t be unprofessional. At the end of the day, this is a business interaction, so save your chumminess and emojis for later on in the process.

• At the same time, do maintain your personality. Convincing someone to love your manuscript is the majority of the battle, but after a publisher decides they love your story, it’s helpful if they love you too. If your manuscript gets picked up, you’ll be spending loads of time with the people getting your book out into the world, so it’s important that you all get along. While professional, your email should still feel like there’s a real, interesting human behind it.

• Don’t lose sight of the main task: getting your book published. I’ve read plenty of submissions emails that dive into the specifics of what a movie adaptation of a manuscript would look like or how a cover could possibly look. While that is an exciting extension of the storytelling business, it’s not what a publisher is concerned with when trying to find new titles.

• Do explain who you are. Your manuscript is the most important bit, but it’s always useful to know a little bit about who’s behind it. Does a certain life experience have influence on the plot or character? Was it inspired by something unique? Have you been published before? Just be aware of how these will affect interactions with your manuscript, as they can have unintentional influence.

• Don’t fret! What’s most important is you and your manuscript being a good fit for the publisher or agent. When it’s right, your message will flow naturally and your story will soon be stuck in the heads and hands of publishers and, eventually, your readers.


As always, thank you for reading, and be sure to tweet us @AgoraBooksLDN with tips that you’ve found useful for submissions email writing!