Manuscripts: Hard Copy Only

I often wonder how it benefits writers for Literary Agents to request hard-copy manuscripts only. We toil at the computer from morning until night time. We neglect our families and hair appointments so that we could finish that all-important chapter (all the chapters are important, right?). We stalk Agents’ sites and listings so that we could pick the perfect one for our genre. We find one after hours of searching, only to read, ‘Sorry e-mail submissions of manuscripts not accepted.’


Manuscripts submissions

Okay, I know there are two sides to this story. Happily (it depends how you look at it. Work with me here), I don’t know the other side. What I do know is that this puts pressure on our already skint resources. If you haven't heard the word ‘skint’ before, look at a writer's larder and you'll see what I mean.

We have to print several copies of our manuscripts and stamp each one not once, but twice so they could be easily returned. (I don't want them returned!) In fact, some agents insist you’re not a proper writer if you 'don’t take the time' to include an SASE in your submission package. Notice it’s now a ‘package,’ not just a ‘letter.’

After all the writing – on a computer with a broken ‘E’ key; editing – in the cold, because the heating bills haven’t been paid; printing – off a cousin’s office printer when her boss stepped out for a ‘meeting’ from which he returned with lipstick on his collar; post office visits – in the old banger with the duct-taped side window; posting – with money borrowed from the weekly shopping budget; we’re expected to wait for nine months for a reply about the 'hard-copy only manuscript'.

Some of this is exaggeration. Okay, most of the last paragraph is exaggerated (apart from waiting for nine months for a reply). But you see where I’m coming from. I asked in one of my early posts on my older blog, 'Do I Need A Literary Agent?' Can you blame me? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this very thing.

I don't dislike Literary Agents. Honest.

Have you tried submitting your manuscript? How do you manage to post it each time without wincing. Have you got any advice for us writers on how to get around the 'hard-copy only' manuscripts' submission? Please help us all out by leaving a comment below. 

If you're an online writer here's a page of writing opportunities to help you earn a bit extra.


Icy BC September 24, 2009 at 10:37 PM  

I totally agree with the part neglecting family, and forgot paying the bills, because all I want to do is write..I've experienced the literacy agent yet, and not sure if I have it..

Dan Holloway September 25, 2009 at 11:39 AM  

Somewhere (but I can't for the life of me remember where) there is a very useful list of agents who accept e-mail submissions (it may have been the Writers & Artists Yearbook website, but I'm sure it was a little more off the beaten trackk than that)

Anne Lyken-Garner September 25, 2009 at 1:13 PM  

@ Icy, I'm sure you do. You just have to dig deep.

@ Dan, could it have been on lit match?

Judy Sheldon-Walker September 26, 2009 at 10:13 PM  

Sorry, lost my train of thought for a sec. The cat scurried across my feet in the pursuit of a mouse. Gratefully, it is in her mouth now. I wish she would play cat and mouse else where!

Anne, there is an inner drive to write and create that even a cat and mouse game cannot stop. I am with you and travel and know you will arrive as much as I know my cat always gets her mouse.

Take care & God bless!

Judy Sheldon-Walker September 26, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

Sorry, Anne, that is I am with you in your travel and know you will arrive...

She dropped the mouse so she could catch it again. That's part of the game. lol

Anne Lyken-Garner September 27, 2009 at 3:30 PM  

I know what you meant, Judy. And yes, you're right, a lot of all this is a game. Just wish I knew the rules and how to play it better. :-)

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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