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Writer's Checklist

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.

Check List

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:

Web site/blog

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 chapter

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.


100,000 – 115,000.


20,000 – 45,000.


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.

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