“What Makes a Submissions Editor say Yes” / Allie Maldonado

Although WiDo will accept unsolicited, unagented manuscripts, your submission must first get beyond the query letter. Submissions editors are looking for just one thing: a manuscript that says “YES!”

Yes! I want to read this one.

Yes! our editing and marketing people will want to work with this writer.

Yes! our business manager will be glad we invested in this book.

The first thing I say yes to is the query letter.  A good one has three essential elements:

  1. Opening address– Dear Allie or Dear Editor or Dear WiDo. (I personally like Dear Allie, although I’ll answer to most anything.) Then should come a brief introductory paragraph about the book, including genre, word count, and summary.
  2. Why you submitted to WiDo; why you think your book is a good fit for us. I like to know you’ve done your research, explored our website, are familiar with what we publish.
  3. Something about yourself. If you are a kindergarten teacher from Gilbert, Arizona who wrote a novel about the resistance movement in Afghanistan, I’m going to wonder what the connection is. There should be a definite purpose and meaning and connection between who you are, what you do and the book you wrote.

Once past the query letter, I’ll need to say yes to the beginning of the manuscript. Please don’t give me fancy formatting. I want to see a simple double-spaced document, and an opening paragraph that grabs me. You’ll want to check and double-check for two huge red flags: grammatical mistakes and cliches. If I find either of these in the first paragraph, I won’t be reading further.

Then comes the sample chapters. If at any point in the first three chapters I get excited by the originality of the writing or the direction the story is going or the charming main character, I will say yes to a full manuscript.

When I request a full, I ask for the rtf. document because that translates well to the Kindle, where I’ll read it like a book, hopefully all the way through. And if I love it, if it entertains or charms or enlightens me or makes me laugh or cry or keep reading, then (after receiving your promotion plan and discussing everything with the WiDo powers that be) I am happy to say yes to publishing your book.

And I’ll be even happier when you say yes to signing a contract with us!

About Allie Maldonado

Allie has been the submissions editor for WiDo Publishing since 2009. She loves her job. She likes to tell people what she does and hear them say, “I want that job!” Allie has enjoyed reading books since childhood and is always thrilled when she finds a winner in her submissions inbox. Her favorite books which she has read countless times are the Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring series, Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, every Roald Dahl book ever written, Jane Eyre (the most perfect book out there) and The Chronicles of Narnia.  She lives in Southern California with her husband and three cats.