BLOGGER: JOHN VONHOF
John coordinates the Manuscript Retrieval Process during the Main Conference.
MAKE THE MOST OF THE PRE-CONFERENCE MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITY
One of the benefits of attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference is the opportunity to submit manuscripts for review by faculty. You may submit two manuscripts, pre-conference, by following the guidelines on the conference website. In this blog post, I’ll summarize the process.
Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Guidelines
You have several options. You can request an editorial review (not a critique) by an editor or agent as a possible match for their needs or you can request a critique by a professional writer. You may submit one or two manuscripts – one for a review and one for a critique, or both for one or the other. Not sure which to do? Here’s help.
- Critique – A manuscript for pre-submission consists of:
- One article or short story (1800 word maximum)
- One article query, with outline (3 pages maximum)
- One book proposal. Please do not send complete books.
- Up to three devotionals or fillers (250–400 words each, maximum)
- No more than three poems (24-line maximum each)
- Editorial Review – If you want to discover if a publishing house or magazine would be interested in publishing your manuscript or if an agent might like to represent you, request an editorial review. The same rules as above apply.
Complete details are on the conference website. Click here to see the submission guidelines. It’s important to read the instructions for submitting manuscripts.
- Manuscripts should be typed, with your name on each page.
- Your manuscript should be double-spaced. Other parts of your of your submission package may be single-spaced.
- Manuscripts must be original (your work) and unpublished.
- The manuscript is limited to 10 pages plus the other components (a cover or query letter, a book proposal, a 1 or 2-page outline for nonfiction or synopses for fiction, etc.).
Choosing Whom to Review or Critique Your Manuscripts
The Resources page has tabs for Editorial Needs by Genre and Editorial Needs Alphabetical. Use these lists to learn what the editors and agents are looking for. For critiques, use the Critique Team Listing. Once the conference has started, the Manuscript Retrieval Team can help you think about faculty to approach about your manuscript.
What to Submit
The Query Letter & Book Proposal Guidelines webpage has information to help you prepare your submission. If you are unsure how to write a query letter or book proposal, you are encouraged to check out any of the books available about proposals. My favorite book is Ryan G. Van Cleave’s The Weekend Book Proposal: How to Write a Winning Proposal in 48 Hours and Sell Your Book. It includes fiction and nonfiction proposal examples, a chapter on query letters, and lots of tips on the different components of a successful proposal. You can also Google query letters and book proposals to see examples.
Make sure whatever you submit is your best work. Double-check everything for spelling and grammatical errors. If you are part of a critique group, have them review your manuscript.
Packaging and Sending Your Manuscripts
The Resource section on the conference website has a Letters, Forms & Guidelines webpage that has the Pre-Conference Manuscript Submission Form that you need to print and fill out. It needs to be sent with your manuscripts. For each manuscript submitted, you need to fill in your: name, title of manuscript, email, cell number, circle the type of manuscript, check either critique or editorial review and by whom, and add any comments. Make sure you read and follow the instructions on how to package and send your manuscripts. Be sure to check the appropriate box on the manuscript submission form—Critique by a Published Author or an Editorial Review.
Each manuscript must be in a 9×12 manila envelope with the submission form taped to the top front side. Do not seal the envelope. If the envelope has a metal clasp, please tape over it and do not use it. Manuscript pages should not be stapled, clipped, or bound.
Make sure you do not send your only copies of your manuscript. Either print an extra copy and bring it in a folder or save your files to a USB thumb drive. The Hospitality Center can make copies from either source as needed for a nominal fee.
If you hope to submit manuscripts to additional faculty at the conference, please bring a few extra 9×12 manila envelopes.
All the above information and more can be found on the Free Manuscript Review webpage.
Deadline for Pre-Conference Submissions
All pre-conference submissions must be received at the conference center by Monday, March 14. Make sure your manuscripts are mailed early enough to make the deadline.
When You’ll Get Your Manuscripts Back
Saturday after lunch is the first opportunity to get any manuscripts the faculty has returned. Some are returned after that, depending on faculty’s timing.
Submissions After the Conference has Started
Once the conference has started, you may talk to a faculty member who asks to see your manuscript. Request a signed form from the faculty member and process your manuscript through the manuscript retrieval system in the Hospitality Center. The Manuscript Retrieval Team will get the manuscript to the faculty member. The faculty’s first obligation is to those who submitted pre-conference submissions.
All manuscripts must go through the Manuscript Retrieval System for tracking. Please do not hand your manuscript to an editor for review. Likewise, do not allow an editor to hand you your manuscript if it has not been checked back in through the system.
The Manuscript Retrieval Team
The Manuscript Retrieval Team, located in the Hospitality Center, is eager to help you with your manuscript questions. The team can look over your manuscript, query letter and book proposal; and help with ideas on faculty that you might talk to about your manuscript. We’d also be happy to answer any questions you may have about the manuscript process. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Vonhof and Dan Kline
Manuscript Retrieval Team
Come meet John Vonhof at the 47th Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 18-22!
Click here to Register now!