Today I’m happy to share a guest post from Brine Books, publisher of My Whispers of Horror.

Five Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Publishers

There are some mistakes people make. Some are quite common, others often go unnoticed by both sides but still effect the outcome.

1. Don’t beg

squirrelThis happens sometimes through either the cover letter, follow ups to a decline, or sending the same submission multiple times. This doesn’t get a publisher to approve your work. In fact, it results in them ignoring what you had written, and then going the other direction.

There is nothing wrong with following up on a decline and asking for more clarification as long as you are polite and open minded. But keep in mind: publishers have their own conferences or festivals, and they do sometimes talk with one another. So always write as though you are contacting your next publisher. Learn from what they have to say, and you will do better the next time. Heck, if you are kind, then there is a chance of them accepting your next work. Don’t close doors.

Then there are the cases where people follow up with “I’ll accept less money if you publish it”! We have received this response ourselves, even though the royalties go to charitable organizations and non-profits. In fact, we want the royalties in this case to be higher not less. So for us this doesn’t work. But it is doubtful it will work with anyone, as usually there is a reason that they said no even if it isn’t immediately apparent.

2. Read their guidelines

Always read their guidelines. I cannot stress this enough. Some publishers have niches or genres that they will only work with. Make sure that you know what they will accept before you submit. For the vast majority of cases where you go outside of these guidelines your submission will be declined even if it is the greatest masterpiece ever created.

As an example, if you submit a non-fiction short story about the mafia to a small press that works only within sci-fi then do expect a rejection letter. It will waste your time, and it could potentially ruin any chance of submitting to that publisher if you do have anything that fits perfectly for them in the future.

3. Be careful with your demands

catMost writers are good about this, but there are a few that demand the world and think that their written piece will make or break the company. Well, okay, some pieces could depending on the writer or the book, or even how the publisher conducts their business. But it is never good to provide a list of strong demands, and making statements like how you don’t want them to have company cars purchased from the proceeds of your submission.

Honestly most publishers aren’t wealthy as almost none of them get rich off of your work. It is a lot of work, and it is very expensive to move into the arena of publishing. They do it because, for them, it is a labor of love. So be respectful, and they will be respectful to you.

Honestly, most publishers especially small publishers tend to love writers, poets, and other forms of artists! It isn’t hard to make them like you. They already want to like you.

4. Send a completed work. Even if it is a short story.

Short stories can be just as important as a novel. In 2013, the Nobel prize for literature went to a short story writer in Canada by the name of Alice Munro. Don’t take your work lightly even if it is short and takes less time to write. For some writers, they will spend months or years on a ten to twenty page story.

Publishers receive many submissions within a range of quality. While sometimes they will accept something with poor grammar or an incomplete layout, usually it would cause them to look the other way and not even read your first one or two paragraphs.

You do not have to pay for your editing. In fact, you shouldn’t. That is the publisher’s job, and due to this they do not expect perfection. But they will expect that you went over your work enough that it is, at the very least, readable and capable of being understood.

Take your time to revise your work, and go over it again. And then get someone you know to read it as well. The better it is the better chance that you have of being approved.

5. Never Forget to Market You

I may have stated that publishers already want to like you. It is true. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t try to have an edge on things. There are a lot of things that you can do to increase your odds of being published now or in the future. Follow the publishers that you are considering on twitter, Facebook, etc. Comment on their boards. Make things personal. You wouldn’t believe how much this will increase your odds of being published. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stalk them as this also fits into begging, but if you find the fine line between being personable plus helpful and being overly pushy, well, you have an edge over the others that are submitting.

Also don’t forget to write a letter to them when you submit your work. This can help if you include one, even if it is a couple of paragraphs, as a way to convince them to go through your entire work. I know that it influences us in our approach to considering submitted work. So, always be marketing!

Not only this, but don’t forget short stories. Short stories are a good way to show off your art and market yourself. Get yourself into anthologies for smaller publishers. Or better yet, you can write a short story or poem on the subject of human rights and submit it to us at Brine Books Publishing!

We are always happy to find new writers, much like any other small press out there. Just read their submission guidelines, be approachable, don’t beg, market yourself, and make sure you go over your work before submitting it. Happy submitting!

My-Whisper-of-Horror-RevisedABOUT MY WHISPERS OF HORROR:

Women search for happiness no matter where they live. They want to build a life, family, career in order to insure a wholesome future. But in much of the world the patriarchal cultures women are born into simply nip at a woman’s potential and brutally guards the slave-like position that women occupy.

Women struggle as they are bought and sold as property. Their inheritance of an unequal and corrupt system that works against them. All while being enforced by domestic violence which women must deal with alone.

These issues, and so much more, are addressed by the voices of real women in ex-USSR nations. We included anonymous letters that will touch and terrify you on a personal level, while learning what women still have to deal with today.

Purchase: Amazon


We are an activist publishing company established as a partnership by a husband and wife in Ontario, Canada. The mission of this business is bring awareness for serious human rights issues around the world, while raising funds to expand our capabilities and to help fund non-profits and charities whose purpose is to better the world.

Our main purpose as a company is to find ways to better the world. We feel that if we fail in this mission then we fail as a business, so we will not give up on our goal. The release of our books and the profits that we raise are meant for this very purpose.

View their site at


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