Monthly Meeting: May 2024 - Post-Conference Submissions Workshop

Created May 30, 2024 by Laurent Sewell

Texas: Austin

The month of May not only brought us The ALL Y'ALL Writers and Illustrators Conference, it also ushered in the chance to start querying agents and editors from the conference. Therefore, at our May Monthly Meeting, our very own Regional Advisor, Madeline Smoot, took us through “The Complete Submission Checklist.” Point by point, Madeline explained exactly what writers need, to garner the best chances of acceptance for their next submission.

More About Madeline

Besides being our Regional Advisor, Madeline Smoot is the former publisher of CBAY Books, and former Editorial Director for Children’s Books at Blooming Tree Press. She shares her wealth of knowledge in publishing and the process of bringing a book to market as a professional mentor. As author of S.T.A.R. KIDS: THE NEW RECRUIT, Madeline published under the name Elliot Addison, and is published under the name Lori Bond for PENDRAGON’S HEIR.

Meeting Highlights: How to Submit Queries with Confidence

—Main Parts of a Submission: 

-For novels

-For picture books

—Query Letter Questions, such as:

-“Why am I the person to write this book?” 

-“Why is this the agent/editor for my book?”

—Query Letter Caveats, such as:

-Use a professional business format

-Convey your writing style (without being “cute”)

-Proofread; and always enlist another person to critique and proofread

—Query Letter Checklist, such as:

-Briefly introduce your book and provide context

-Pitch your book

-Include a short, personal biography

-Include a thank you

-Ensure correct contact information

—The One-Page Summary, for example:

-Distill your novel’s essence into 500 words

-Include all major plot points and all characters, by name

-Use your outline to assist in creating summary page

-Use proper formatting: 

● Standard 12 point font

● 1 inch margins

● Single spaced

● Double spaced between paragraphs

● No tabs

● Black type

—When and How to Send Full Manuscripts or Manuscript Excerpts, for example:

-It depends on the agent or editor

-Be ready with 15 pages polished

-A full (novel) manuscript does not go out with the initial query, but does need to be ready if asked to see the whole book

—Manuscript Formatting:

-If attached as document:

● Double spaced

● 12 point standard font (Arial, Times New Roman)

● 1 inch margins

● Paginated

● Last name and manuscript title on every page (use header/footer function)

● White paper/black type

-If included in body of email:

● Single spaced

● Double spaced between paragraph

● No tabs

● Standard font and sizes (Arial, Times New Roman)

● Black type

—Optional Picture Book Dummy:

-“Do I really need to send one?”

-Manuscript broken into 32-page picture book with sketches of illustrations

—Revise and Resubmit:

-This is a good thing, not a rejection!

-Consider the feedback

-Revise based on feedback

-Resubmit using whatever process is provided

-Double-check the Manuscript Checklist again

—For a Free, Full Copy of “The Complete Submissions Checklist,” contact: Madeline at