Recipe for Mailing a Complete Manuscript
Getting Started:
Almost all big publishers and agents ask that completes not be sent in a box
or bound. That means for a newer writer, figuring out a good way to send a
complete, printed manuscript that's often three hundred plus pages, is enough to bring on
nightmares and a case of the cold sweats.

It's not that hard to do though, and still end up with a nice, crisp manuscript when it reaches
New York--or where ever it's heading.

Needed Ingredients:
Printed complete manuscript (include query, synopsis, ect.)
Two large Tyvek priority envelopes
Two large rubber bands
One page-size piece of cardboard
One medium point permanent marker and/or labels of your choice
One post office

Even a thick manuscript fits nicely in one of those large priority Tyvek envelopes that you can
get free from the post office. A great support for that thick stack of printed pages is a simple
piece of cardboard. When you order more than one book or move at a time from Amazon, they
come with the perfect size piece of loose cardboard enclosed in the box. I save mine every time I
get anything with that cardboard page-size piece precut in it. If you don't have any, you can cut
a page-size piece of cardboard off of any kind-of-thick
brown cardboard box you happened to have around. (You also don't have to even use the
cardboard, I just think it helps keep the manuscript from bending and even having the edge of
the pages messed up as the postal worker tosses it around. It even keeps the rubber band from
tearing the edges of the top and bottom pages.)

Before you put your finished baby inside that big priority envelope, stack the pages nice and
neat on your piece of cardboard--if using. Next, place one big rubber band length ways around
your stack, and one more width ways around it--make sure they fit well, but not tight. (Don't
forget to add your cover page, query, synopsis, and anything else you were asked to include, on
top of the manuscript pages before you put the rubber bands around them.) If using an SASP
(Self addressed stamped postcard), slip it under one of the rubber bands on the top page, so it
stays in place and won't be over looked. This stamped postcard can be used to let your know the
agent or publisher has received your manuscript.

** (I like to skip adding that SASP and just pay an extra fifty cents to the postal clerk to have a
Delivery Conformation slip attached to the outside of the package instead. No one has to sign
for it, so it's not a problem for the agent or editor. It's not really any extra money if you think
about what you'd pay for a postcard and the stamp for it. You can use the tracking number from
the Delivery Conformation slip to see that the package made it.)

Address one priority envelope to the agent or publisher, and the other one to yourself. (After
you pay for and attach the postage, this will become your
SASE.) Put your prepared manuscript into the correct envelope, but don't seal
it. (If this work is requested, make sure you write the word requested on the outside of the
envelope. It's a good idea to enclose a copy of the request letter on top of the manuscript. If the
request came over the phone, through e-mail, or after a meeting, make sure you mention how,
when, and where in the query. Don't forget that agents and editors deal with many writers every
day and our names probably all run together in her or his mind.) Fold your large SASE and
place it inside the first one.

It's off to the post office we go:
(If your nerves are getting the best of you, take a few deep breaths before you get into the car.)
Once you reach the post office, ask them what it will cost to mail your envelope. After they
weight it, take your SASE out and tell them you need the same postage on both envelopes so
the pages inside can be returned to you if needed. Place the SASE in with your complete
manuscript, seal up the envelope addressed to the agent or publisher, don't forget Delivery
Conformation slip if you are using it instead of a SASP, pay the postal worker and hand that
baby over. (It will be okay.)

**(Some publishers are willing to destroy the MS if you don't want it returned. If you are okay
with that, and the publisher or agent is too, just add a note giving them the okay and a business
size SASE for them to send you a letter about the MS. I have gotten a rejected complete back
with edits from the editor written on it to help me, but that isn't the norm. The choice is up to
you if you want the pages back or just the letter. Even if you get them back, you will probably
need to print up a fresh copy of your MS any way.)*

The hardest part comes at this point:
You have to trust that manuscript with these strangers and turn around and leave it. Worse of
all, you have to go home, go on with your life, and wait and wait and WAIT.

By the way, the best thing you can do while you wait--which could be for
months and months--is to get to work on that next story.

One last note: You should always check an agent or publishers guidelines before you mail
anything to them. If they ask that any thing be done differently than I have it listed here, follow
their directions.

                                      Charlotte Dillon ~
Copyrighted 2004 by Charlotte Dillon
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