Okay, this seems to have changed lately, but nevermind. I was wondering what a solicited manuscript is. I should know and I thought I knew but I don't.
March 9th, 2005, 09:45 AM
For us as authors, it's important to be aware of whether people will take our manuscripts on spec. If you're just sending in a manuscript/sample chapters etc to a publisher or agent on spec, that is considered unsolicited. They didn't ask you to send them anything.
Some publishers don't accept unsolicited MSS. And by that they mean 'don't send us anything unless you are an agent.' Fortunately, there are enough out there who know the potential value of the slush-pile to give you some sort of avenue.
I don't think 'solicited' is in common use as a term to describe the other state of affairs. Suffice to say, that if you've approached a publisher/agent and they've said 'yea, send it on in' that would be solicited. Of course, the big risk with that approach is the 'no' so your letter would need to be compelling.
It is always best to contact any publisher/agent to whom you want to send your work. You'll get first hand submission guidelines and, importantly, a name to put on your envelope.
March 9th, 2005, 09:47 AM
When a publisher or agent 'ASKS' to see it... If you send one in without being asked, it is unsolicited.
Usually, a publisher will request a manuscript from an agent, atfer the agent has queried the publisher on behalf of the author.
Just to confuse matters, sometimes a publisher or agent will state they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, then state they have 'discovered' the next big author from a slush pile!
EDIT: Oops, beaten to the punch by NOM!!!
March 10th, 2005, 12:35 PM
In the US there are very few major imprints that really and truly do accept unsolicited manuscripts. The slush piles are so extensive, that for the few reputable ones that do accept them, the wait time can be 12 - 18 months. And even then, you may never hear back from some. The independent publishers and small presses are now so deluged with unsolicited manuscripts that they close their doors to new submissions often. If you go to these links, you can get the information you need on many of the publishers: