Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Dear Writer,

If our previous post deterred you from submitting your manuscripts, read on:

Writing is an act of self-exploration and submitting your work to a publisher can be the scariest act of your life. As publishers, we are aware of this and sympathetic. In the event that we select your work for publication, we would do our very best to make the process pleasant for the writer.

However, to increase the chances of your manuscript being picked up by a publisher, we advise that you adhere to the rules of grammar, punctuation and submission.

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Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

Some mornings, we log into the submissions account and there are hundreds of emails waiting to be read, most of them with manuscript excerpts. Unfortunately, our request for more hours in a day hasn’t been granted (yet), so we can’t afford to waste any of the 24 we get. If you are a writer submitting your work to a publishing house, here’s how you can make our lives (and the lives of other editors and editorial assistants) easier.

Do Not Show Off

Contrary to what your friends and family members might have told you, you’re not the best writer since Shakespeare or Soyinka. But even if you are extremely talented, we won’t read your manuscript unless your email contains a synopsis of your novel and an excerpt of reasonable length (we suggest three chapters). We do not want to read a list of every award you’ve won since Primary School. We know every book we’ve published; don’t list them in your email or tell us that your work is better than those of seasoned authors. Allow us to judge that.

The moment we see emails like the one below, we know we won’t download or read the submission.

“If kachifo would like peharps, a demonstration, i would e-mail them my worst poem and they will be bewildered by beauty and admiration my stock of quality can give. I do not beg because i know writers like me would catapault the industry. My goal: to exceed Ngozi Adichi, ECHEBE, WOLE SOYINKA and to messure above SHAKESPARE and MILTON. Please e-mail me! (Sic)”

Do Not Send Your First Draft

Do as much work as you can in cleaning up your manuscript before sending it in. Does your story flow? If we can’t make sense of it, we won’t read past the first paragraph or chapter. Spell check! It doesn’t say much about your commitment to the written word if your manuscript is riddled with grammatical errors.

Send a Synopsis

Besides doing all the work you can on your manuscript, do even more on your synopsis – it often determines if your manuscript will be read or not. We rarely spend more than a minute on each email. In that minute, we read the synopsis and decide if we should download the manuscript excerpt or not. Do not send your manuscript without a synopsis, and do not send your synopsis without a manuscript. Both are important! And please, do not send a link to your blog, telling us to read your works there. We can, but we will not.

Obey Instructions

Often, submission guidelines request that you send in a synopsis, and attach an excerpt from your work to the email. Your synopsis can be sent in the body of the email (we prefer this), but do not send your sample chapters in the body of the email. We don’t have the time or inclination to copy text from the body of an email into a Word document for offline reading. If we can’t download the excerpt for offline reading, we’ll forget about it. Save your excerpt as a Microsoft Word document and send it as an attachment to the mail. However, do not assume this is all a publisher will ask for. Every publisher is different. Find out the guidelines of the publisher you want to send your manuscript to and follow the guide to the letter! If you will not dedicate time to reading and following the guidelines, the editor will not dedicate time to reading your work.

Copy Editor vs. Fairy God Editor

We are copy editors, not fairy god editors. There are no fairy god editors waiting in the wings, dedicated to turning ALL writers’ rags into fine cloth. We won’t edit your story and send it back to you “even if it won’t be published.” Also, it’s very unlikely that we’ll to send you an email when we are done reading your excerpt just to tell you what we didn’t like about it… jeez. There are simply too many submissions and like we said, there aren’t enough hours in the day.

So if you don’t get a response within 8 weeks, it means Kachifo will not be publishing your work under our Farafina imprint but we wish you all the best.

All the best!  

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64 thoughts on “Before You Send Out Your Manuscript

  1. Hello, Farafina Books, I sent in my manuscript few weeks ago. I realised my initial submission didn’t conform to your rules so I sent an updated entry. But I received no automated response or acknowledgment for my updated entry. I would like to know if you got my updated entry. I sent it with the name: Olatunji Ololade.

  2. I just discovered this platform and honestly, am just glad that there is such in existence irrespective of the response you get for your manuscript.

  3. HELLO KACHIFO BOOKS;
    I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY OF SUBMITTING MANUSCRIPTS FOR CONSIDERATION GIVEN BY YOU. PLEASE, I SUBMITTED A FICTIONAL WORK OF MINE(LUCENT SOUL) UPON YOUR PLATFORM WEEKS BACK, AND AM YET TO RECIEVE A RESPONSE. DO I HONE AND RESEND THE MANUSCRIPT AT ONCE OR WAIT A WHILE MORE? ARE SUBMISSIONS BEING CONSIDERED PRESENTLY? I’D APPRECIATE YOUR REPLY

  4. Dear Kachifo,
    I have submitted a manuscript(The colors of water) two times this year and haven’t gotten any kind of response after more then three months. Should I take that as your own type of rejection? Please reply, I feel ignored. thanks

  5. Hello , please i have a poetry book which is self published and also recommended by the Edo state ministry of education for junior secondary schools.my question is it possible for you guys to publish me as i find it very hard to meet up with the pressure and demands of self publishing.thanks.

  6. Hello , please i have a poetry book which is self published and also recommended by the Edo state ministry of education for junior secondary schools.my question is it possible for you guys to publish me as i find it very hard to meet up with the pressure and demands of self publishing.thanks.

  7. Hi Farafina,
    I would like to know if there is a slight allowance for a well outlined and concise synopsis that quite exceeds into two pages and not more?

  8. This is a worthy read. please, i will like to know if farafina considers young adult fiction and if i can submit a manuscript at any time of the year. thanks.

    • dear kachifo, my name is Akinsoto Rotimi. I Submitted My Manuscript With the title “a story for the sleeping gods” for consideration on the 10th of january 2016 based on the stipulated guidelines, but i haven’t got a feedback to my proposal. it was clearly stated that all submissions would be replied. Thanks.

  9. I have sent in the required materials on my nonfiction guidebook for university students but I have not received any yes or no response. Do you publish nonfiction?

  10. Hello, Farafina.

    Please, I’d want to know if you guys publish short story collections. If you do, would we still send three of the stories and a synopsis, or the full collection itself? I’d love to know as soon as possible.
    Thank you.

  11. Hi.

    I submitted by manuscript about 2hours ago. Shortly after, I received an automated reply with your submission guidelines. I’m afraid some of the details in that mail were neither on this post nor on your website (for e.g your preference for the font: courier new) so I have missed some of your requirements. See details below
    1. I used Times New Roman 12 and not Courier New 12
    2. I entered my book title and name after the word Submission, not before
    3. I pasted a one-page synopsis containing a brief author bio in the body of the mail (and not as an attachment)

    I’m considering updating my synopsis and manuscript and resubmitting them.

    Kindly advise me.

    Thank you.

  12. Hi. I received a rejection letter which goes thus: “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your manuscript. 

    We read Clandestine with interest, but we regret, we will not be making an offer of publication.

     

    We do not feel that Farafina is the right imprint to successfully publish this book at this time.

     

    Thank you for thinking of us, and we wish you every success in finding a publisher for your work. 

    We hope you will consider sending us other manuscripts in future.”
    I would really like to know why Farafina isn’t the right imprint to successfully publish my debut and what exactly is wrong with my work so that I may improve on it.
    Thank you.

    • Hi nonso
      I just want you to know that it is typical of all publishing houses not to disclose to writers why their work failed to make their publishing list. keep it alive, don’t let this weigh you down. your work has a voice of it own, and it will surely announce itself when the time is right. I like to know how many weeks it took them to reply you. thanks.

    • Hi Nonso,

      Manuscripts are rejected for any number of reasons, the major ones being that we sometimes feel a book is not ready to be published because the writer has not done enough, or we simply are not seeking a certain kind of manuscript at a given time.

      Unfortunately, since we receive so many submissions, our editors do not have the time to respond to each one with specific comments or critiques. However, we encourage you to keep writing and improving on your craft.

      Thanks for submitting to us.

      • Dear Uti,

        Thanks for your interest in Farafina. Unfortunately, we do not accept unsolicited poetry manuscripts. However, you can search online for publishing houses that do. Each publisher will have their own unique guidelines and requirements.

  13. I’m almost through with my work; an african/western love story, but all these your guidelines mean that i may never be published by you. I would have loved to be your writer but i guess you won’t be publishing my debut.

  14. Hi, my manuscript was once rejected by your publishing house, but I have done a great deal of re-working on it, can I submit it for the second time?

  15. I submitted and it was rejected. I think it had to do with my not following the guidelines strictly(I received the guideline in an email after I had already submitted). Can I submit again. I really have a great work.

  16. Thanks a lot for this useful information. I have a book I’ve been working on for some time now and it’s almost ready. However, I want to know what should be the minimum length of a publishable adult fiction in
    terms of words.

  17. Good day, Kachifo. I am an unpublished writer who is dying to be published. Please when is the right time to submit my literary work(a novel) this year(2014)? Thanks.

  18. Thanks for taking your time to spell out these guidelines. I have a question though. Do you accept short stories for publication? Not necessarily a collection but probably, sent one or two at a time.

  19. With the low level of consumption of educational materials in this country, Kachifo printing house is not happening matters. Every good writer started somewhere. Farafina expects you to come into the world fully made.

  20. hi i am hosen 23 arabic from iran and this is frist time i write children novel .and i want you to reading my book and comment are my book is bad or good .thanks

  21. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I
    to find It truly useful & it helped me out much.
    I am hoping to present one thing again and help others like you aided
    me.

  22. “So if you don’t get a response within 8 weeks, it means Kachifo will not be publishing your work under our Farafina imprint but we wish you all the best”

    I think it’s a little immature not to reply submissions. Granted, an annoying email (I’m sure you get a lot of them) should be ignored, but if a writer has taken his/her time, followed your guidelines and sent material to you, then you should reply. It’s only common courtesy. It’s so easy to get a software programmer put up a button on your email client where only a click would send a form rejection to the rejected writer. Jeez. A form rejection is still better than a no response. Get off your (not so high) horse, Kachifo.

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