What to Do and What to Avoid of Querying Publishers


For aspiring authors, finding the right book publishers NYC can be a pivotal step in their writing journey. With its rich literary history and bustling publishing industry, New York City serves as a hub for writers seeking to bring their manuscripts to fruition. However, the process of querying publishers can be daunting, with numerous pitfalls to avoid and best practices to embrace. In this guide, we’ll explore what to do and what to avoid when seeking publication for your book manuscript.

Dos: Strategies for Success

Research Thoroughly Before Querying

Before sending out queries to publishers, it’s essential to conduct thorough research. Familiarize yourself with the types of books each publisher specializes in, their submission guidelines, and the specific editors or agents who handle your genre. Tailoring your query to each recipient demonstrates professionalism and increases your chances of success.

Polish Your Manuscript

Ensure your manuscript is polished to perfection before querying publishers. This means meticulously editing for grammar, punctuation, and clarity, as well as refining the plot, characters, and pacing. Consider seeking feedback from beta readers or hiring a professional editor to provide constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.

Personalize Your Query Letters

Avoid generic query letters and instead, personalize each one to the recipient. Address the editor or agent by name, reference any previous interactions or specific reasons why you’ve chosen to query them, and briefly compellingly summarize your book. Personalization demonstrates your genuine interest in working with that particular publisher and increases the likelihood of a positive response.

Follow Submission Guidelines

Adhere closely to each publisher’s submission guidelines to avoid immediate rejection. Whether they request a certain format for query letters, sample chapters, or synopses, failing to follow instructions can signal a lack of professionalism and attention to detail. Double-check your submission for any errors before sending it off.

Build a Platform

Developing an author platform can significantly enhance your chances of securing a publishing deal. Whether through social media, blogging, public speaking, or networking within literary circles, building a platform demonstrates your commitment to promoting your work and connecting with potential readers. Publishers are more likely to take a chance on authors with an existing audience and marketing potential.

Don’ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t Query Before Your Manuscript Is Ready

Avoid the temptation to query publishers before your manuscript is fully polished and ready for submission. Premature querying can result in missed opportunities, as publishers are unlikely to consider incomplete or subpar manuscripts. Take the time to revise and refine your work until it’s truly ready for publication.

Don’t Mass Query Without Personalization

Resist the urge to mass-query publishers without personalization. Sending out generic, impersonal queries to dozens of publishers simultaneously is a surefire way to get lost in the slush pile. Instead, prioritize quality over quantity by targeting a select number of publishers and crafting personalized queries for each one.

Don’t Take Rejection Personally

Rejection is an inevitable part of the publishing process, and it’s essential not to take it personally. Remember that rejection doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of your writing but may simply be due to factors such as market trends, editorial preferences, or timing. Use rejection as an opportunity to learn and improve your craft, and persevere in your pursuit of publication.

Don’t Burn Bridges

Maintain professionalism and courtesy in all your interactions with publishers, even in the face of rejection. Burning bridges by responding angrily or unprofessionally to rejection letters can harm your reputation in the publishing industry and limit future opportunities. Treat every interaction as an opportunity to build positive relationships, even if it doesn’t result in immediate success.


Querying publishers in New York can be a challenging yet rewarding process for aspiring authors. By following these dos and don’ts, you can increase your chances of success and navigate the publishing world with confidence. Remember to research thoroughly, polish your manuscript, personalize your queries, follow submission guidelines, and build your platform while avoiding common pitfalls such as querying prematurely, mass-querying without personalization, taking rejection personally, and burning bridges. With perseverance, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence, you can find the right publisher to bring your book to life.

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