Seeking a Publisher.

Grapes, strawberries and figs.

Grapes, strawberries and figs.

In the early nineties I had a friend who was married to the chief Editor for the Australian division of HarperCollins Australian publishers. At that time, all I wrote were Christmas Cards or fill in Taxation claims.  I never thought I would or even could write. I am now going to submit a few thousand words of my book to them tomorrow.

I looked up if they were  open for submissions and surprisingly,  they still are.  But only on Wednesdays. They don’t accept; “plays, poetry, short stories, essays, mind body spirit, religious titles, health and fitness, children’s books and educational texts.” But will take for consideration; ” Adult fiction, particularly commercial women’s fiction, erotica, romance and young adult fiction. Non Fiction including memoirs, biographies, narrative histories and illustrated non-fiction.”

Most publishers seem to also take submissions more serious through an agent. It will get complicated. Fortunately, most of the information on publishing is available on the Internet, but ‘be aware’. Like sharks circling the carcases of those that have failed through  being overly gullible to the lure of fame,  remember, money is much easier to part with than to earn. Even in publishing, money raises its ugly head. I mean I am hoping that ‘Almost There,’ with musings of a philosophical nature included, gets a soft  and gentle landing not a rip-off.

It is the same with medicine or seeking advice on ailments. No sooner does one type ” erectile dysfunction” or “tooth ache”  in Google, and one gets beseeched by eager moneyed eyed Russian Ladies swooningly seeking love or Indian offers for Dental Implants.( on same day.)

I am taking on the advice that under no circumstance do you start a letter in sending a synopsis of your work by Dear Sir or Dear Madam. The Sir is most likely not knighted nor is  the Madam running a brothel. Do not fawn, rattle on, or feign a special fondness for books, reading and literature. Most people in the publishing industry chuck letters of submission in the bin within the first few vowels and consonants.  You have to achieve a rapport with the first paragraph or so. My back-up is to self-publish but I thought to try and submit first to publishers. It seems very tough to try and woe publishers. Don’t people get despondent? And then what? Eat a good bake or a spoonful of Syrup?

This what I got by sniffing around in the area of publishing and the first step to take. Check it out.!

“Your Address

Phone Number




Name of Literary Agent / Publisher

Address of Literary Agent / Publisher

Dear…the actual name of the literary agent or publisher.

First Paragraph

The eyes of a literary agent or a publisher are trained to scan. They have little interest in small talk introductions. They will always scan straight to the story being pitched. So never ever start with why you are approaching them, or why you love to write. They are so inundated with query letters that those opening sentences are monotonous irrelevancies to their eyes. Cut straight to the chase: the book in question.

They want five key details about your book in this opening paragraph:

  1. Title
  2. Word count (not page length)
  3. Logline*
  4. Genre
  5. The blurb**

*A one sentence pitch of your book

**Write a blurb for your book, similar to the ones you see on the back of every book. What the story is about, the main protagonists, and entice them with the ending.


Second Paragraph

This is your CV / Resume in a single paragraph. Pick out the more impressive aspects of your writing history and include them. Do not list them. Use prose to make them readable. If you do not have any writing credentials worth mentioning, then use this paragraph to explain why you alone are best suited to tell the story of your book. Show that you are an authority on the subject in question. This could either be that you did a similar job to the protagonist, or the lengths you went to in your research. This is also the section for you to mention why you are approaching them in particular. When you do so, do not under any circumstance mention another book you are writing, or planning to. Put all the focus on the one book you are pitching in the letter.


Third / Final Paragraph

End the letter with three points.

  1. Thank the literary agent / publisher for their time and consideration
  2. If it is a printed query mention that you have included an SAE / SASE for reply
  3. Emphasise that your manuscript is complete*

*Never send a query letter about a novel that you have not finished. Only Non-Fiction books are allowed to be pitched before completion.”


Tags: , , , , ,

34 Responses to “Seeking a Publisher.”

  1. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Dear Gerard, I’m delighted that you are thinking about publishing your work. About bloomin’ time too! And you probably have the same sentiment about me since I’ve not visited your blog for so long. A hundred apologies for not doing so. I imagine it must be a daunting task, submitting your work, but take courage from the fact that you are a marvellous writer and great raconteur and your stories touch us all. You write bravely and with great humour and the world needs that right now. Wishing you every success and may 2016 bring my favourite Dutch man everything he deserves. We are rooting for you, Gerard.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Lottie. I was getting worried and looked up your blog and noticed a new and very good photo of you so beautiful. I do hope the winter is now slowing in your area of Spain and soon the first of spring sprouting will knock at your house and its lovely court yard.
      You are really a great encouragement. I do hope you too will fulfil the dream of setting up an art school.
      I too do rooting, and mainly for all those brave and aspiring creative souls.
      Who would have thought a book would be coming out of all those knitted words?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Ah yes, the query. I know it well. Excellent rundown of what to include. Best of luck! I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Carrie,

      Even so, on my early morning walk with Milo I noticed a despondent man sitting on a slatted timber bench. I felt he might well have received a reject notification about his manuscript. One could tell. He had that look. Even so, his feeding the ducks was a positive sign.
      Alas, the road to getting published is littered with manuscript rejects. The bleached bones of thousands of literary hopefuls still blowing and waiting in a chill wind.
      Keep all toes and fingers crossed. At least I have the option of self-publishing to fall back on. I’ll try first the publishing industry before the ‘Indie’ way.


  3. Mary Cathleen Clark Says:

    Best of luck, Gerard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yvonne Says:

    Some more fingers crossed here for you, Gerard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Best route of all is to know someone in the industry, so go for it and the best of luck. Next, really difficult bit is to listen to what they say, good or not so good, and act on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I have just submitted the synopsis and few bits to HarperCollins. They thanked me and will let me know within four weeks. No promise of a feedback if one doesn’t get to hear anything.
      I used to know the editor, but that was a long time ago and now lives in the UK. She runs “Two roads.” publishing.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. stuartbramhall Says:

    If all else fails you can publish it as an ebook (at no charge) on Smashwords:

    Liked by 2 people

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    That’s worthwhile considering. Thank you Stuart.


  8. Big M Says:

    I always thought, for about five years, that Gerard Oosterman was some kind of established author, or a retired academic. Can you imagine my excitement all of those years ago, when I received polite and respectful replies from (in my mind) Dr Oosterman to my comments at the Drum?

    I eventually met Dr Oosterman, what did we talk about? Dogs, kids, bookshelves, coffee, Helvi.

    The only person I have met who can write a story about the mundane, and make it sound wonderful.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Charlotte Hoather Says:

    Fabulous, and good luck 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Intricate Knot Says:

    Wow! You are doing it! I really like the format of your letter. I have also read that you must do the research and then address your query to a specific person. Apparently, many people don’t bother, which seems rude to me. “Dear Sir or Madam” doesn’t show any thought at all. I can’t say I blame them for throwing those queries straight into the bin.

    Good for you, Gerard. I wholeheartedly wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you. See what happens. In a way, i am being published through WP already. It is just that I would like to have a hard copy that my grandkids occasionally can leaf through. Even that, might be wishful thinking seeing they seem to prefer being stooped over and fiddle with electronic gadgets.
      They might even say; ‘the old man was a bit weird!’


  11. Intricate Knot Says:

    By the way, those fruits look delicious. Now I have a craving! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. berlioz1935 Says:

    Gerard, my best wishes go with your submission to HarperCollins. You have the knack to describe the surprising and funny elements behind the ordinary events in your life. This might encourage others to have another look at their own lives. Those who don’t read your writings are the losers, those who know your writings are definitely enlightened.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Berlioz,

      I finally managed to get to open the Amazon kindle on my small laptop. But the laptop still doesn’t synchronize with my computer. Yet, despite all those irritations, things are moving ahead. I don’t know how H puts up with me!
      You are a great encouragement.


  13. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    When I first found you a few years ago you modestly assured me that all you did was put one word after the other. Well you have been charming us all these years with your simple words. The humor you generate and your home grown philosophy will keep all our fingers and toes crossed.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Ah, beware of an attractive Russian woman with a dental implant… 🙂 Good luck Gerard. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  15. rod Says:

    I think going direct to a publisher is good. You spend a long time trying to find an agent to take you on but, like all of us, you don’t know how much time you have. (I feel safe to say this being antique myself.)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. shoreacres Says:

    That’s some good advice you’ve listed up there, Gerard.
    There are so many intricacies to the process, At this point, I’m quite sure you know more about the publishing industry than I do.

    Does HarperCollins allow duplicate submissions? Some magazines and journals do, as long as you let them know you’ve done a double or triple submission. If you could submit elsewhere at the same time, you’re only increasing your chances.

    Rejection’s always a possibility, of course, but here’s a wonderful, only slightly tongue-in-cheek look at the experience — including a list of authors who received unbelievable numbers of rejection letters before being published. I really was surprised by some — for example, William Saroyan got 7,000 rejection letters before he published his first story.


    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Ha, ha.

      I remember some years back now, when an unloved Australian Prime Minister’s face was printed on thousands of toilet rolls, and he had not even submitted his manuscript.

      I don’t know about duplicate submissions!. Goodness me, many publishers don’t even have the courtesy to acknowledge a rejection and simply state that if nothing is received within four weeks one has to assume it has been rejected.

      It is a cold world outside. But, there is a much warmer climate within the community of bloggers.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Patti Küche Says:

    Love all this, sounds easy enough to follow except for the full manuscript part . . . . and you are way ahead here!!!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: