The following is a checklist I put together based on my experience that will help you determine what you need when approaching an agent or a publisher. The submission guidelines will determine which items in the marketing tool box you will need to have ready.
1. Must have completed, fully edited MS in proper format:
12pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, one inch margins, indent paragraphs 5 spaces, one space after period, header at top left, page number top right.
2. Determine by word count whether MS is: novella (15-42K), short novel (50k), or novel (70-100k).
3. Determine Genre.
4. Marketing Tool Box:
On social media
100 word bio
Query or Cover letter
Synopsis (2-3 page present tense retelling of your novel with plot points and ending)
Detailed marketing plan
First 5 pages of MS
First 50 pages
For short story collections: 1st three stories, an overall
summary of collection and a 1-2 sentence of each story.
Duotrope (www.duotrope.com). Annual fee.
Poets & Writers database of small presses (www.pw.org)
Writers Digest annual Short Story and Novel Markets
NewPages (www.NewPages.com). Free.
WORD LENGTHS BOOK LENGTHS (From the Writer’s Digest blog)
Adult Commercial and Literary
Range is: 80,000 to 100,000 but can be as few as 71,000 to 77,000 or to 109,000. Below 80,000 too short.
80,000 to 89,999 totally cool.
90,000 to 99,999 Generally safe.
70,000 – 79,000 Might be too short, probably all right.
100,000 – 109,999 Might be too long, probably all right.
Below 70,000 too short.
110,000 or more too long.
SCI FI AND FANTASY
100,000 – 115,000.
20,000 – 45,000.
UPPER MIDDLE GRADE
32,000 – 42,000.
Middle grade resemble YA books in matter and storytelling, but still tend to stick to Middle Grade themes and avoid hot buttons. YA acceptable themes such as sex, drugs and rock and roll.
55,000 – 69,999 Top end for Sci Fi.
32 Pages (500-600 Words).
50,000 – 60,000.
80,000 – 89,999.