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The Manuscript and More

The Manuscript and More

Wendy Lawton

Wendy Lawton, a Literary Agent and Vice President of Books and Such Literary Management, is our Faculty Guest Blogger. Click here to read the full bio for Wendy Lawton.

Wendy plans to join us at the conference, March 27-31, 2015, to review manuscripts, meet with writers, and teach one afternoon workshop. Click here to view the workshop summary for The Need for Agents and How to Acquire One.

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

The Manuscript and More . . .

Don’t you love those scenes in the movies where the writer wipes away a tear and types “The End,” ties a big stack of manuscript pages with a  piece of twine and sends it off to the editor? Yeah, that would be fiction. Would that it were that easy.

Manuscript plus, right? So what is the plus? What actually needs to go with the finished manuscript?


Marketing information (for both fiction and nonfiction authors): Many a publishing house requires the author to complete an in-depth marketing profile to be sent with the manuscript. This includes much of the same information that you included in your proposal but they may also ask for any contacts you have in media, your local news and radio stations, your alumni magazine contact info, etc. It’s important to start thinking about media contacts and influencers.

Nonfiction Books: 

  • All permissions. These would be signed permission letters* from any person mentioned in the book
  • Model release forms* for anyone appearing in a photograph
  • Release forms* for each interview
  • Endnotes, citations and references  (Each time you quote someone you must cite where that quote comes from in classic endnote style. In some cases permission must be obtained as in the case of any portion of copyrighted lyrics or poems; as well as any quotes that fall out of the Fair Use* parameters.)
  • Resources, if those are part of the book
  • Book club questions for the back of the book if requested
  • Possible endorsers
  • Disclaimer* (Your publisher may use his own disclaimer)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Dedication
  • And anything else the publisher may request. Check your contract.

Fiction Books:

  • Your editor may request a timeline to help with the editing process.
  • He may ask for a character list (and if it is a family saga your editor may need a family tree)
  • Maps, if it will help with editing
  • You may be asked for reference photos of possible character types to help with cover design. (And this request may come long before you turn in your manuscript.)
  • Possible endorsers
  • Disclaimer* (Your publisher may use his own disclaimer)
  • Acknowledgements
  • Dedication
  • And anything else the publisher may request. Check your contract.

It may sound overwhelming but it is part of being a careful writer. some of these elements may be part of your proposal but don’t count on the proposal and finished manuscript ever meeting again. Include those details again with the finished manuscript. Your editor will love you if you provide the manuscript plus these things without them having to run you to ground to get these.

So my question to you is this: Does this sound overwhelming? Or did you already plan on having the whole package ready?

* Samples of Permission letters, release forms, disclaimers, explanations of Fair Use, etc. can all be found in The Copyright, Permission and Libel Handbook by Lloyd J. Jassin and Steven C. Schechter. This is a book every writer needs to have and read carefully.

Photo Credit:  © Sueharper | – Manuscript From Author With Red Twine Photo

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